The few nights in Big Sur was just the vacation from reality I needed.
I’ve been more stressed than I’ve been showing everyone. I haven’t had a solid night sleep since… I can’t remember when. At least a few weeks.
Davide and I have always travelled well together. So when we hit the road, we easily fell into our normal rhythm. All I need is music and snacks… I’m pretty easy to please.
Driving in the car with me… if you’ve ever seen Carpool karaoke with James Corden (who I just worship) that’s pretty much how it is. I’m singing and dancing. Totally rocking out at all times. It’s my happy place. Davide sings along with me, but mostly just laughs and smiles at me. Especially when I rap. Apparently my gangsta side is especially amusing.
The drive was beautiful. I love road trips.
Questions on The Ex
We were somewhere just north of Carmel, when Davide brought up the subject of my ex… Josh.
I get why he is so curious about him. I was with him for so long. It’s just I’m at a point where I hate talking about him and remembering him. I feel like I wasted so much time on him, and I don’t even have a friendship to show for it. It’s all just complete bullshit in my opinion.
“How did he get you to stay with him so long?” he asked.
The way he asked the question bugged me. It wasn’t about why I stayed. It was ‘how my ex GOT me to stay’, like there was some trick to capturing me.
“I was a different person back then.” I said simply.
“After 10 years you never thought of leaving him?” he continued to press.
“I thought about it all the time. I remember I used to tell him that we felt like two puzzle pieces that no matter what, weren’t ever going to fit, but I was okay with that. I was willing to work hard and make us fit anyways. I didn’t want to give up on him. Didn’t want to stop believing in him and all of the promises we made to each other. Then every time I was about to give up… he promised he’d change or he’d try harder. So I’d give it another chance. I fell for that so many times. Then at some point he made me believe that my standards were too high and I was too impossible. So I lowered them and I kept lowering them. Again… I was a different person. I don’t fall for vague promises of ‘I’ll change’ with no action plan or timeframe. I learned my lesson.”
He was quiet for awhile after that… I even snuck a peek over at him. Finally he said, “Two puzzle pieces that don’t fit. It’s like you were with the wrong puzzle piece for too long that now you’re doing the exact opposite, looking for the perfect fit puzzle piece. Is that why if a tiny piece of us doesn’t fit perfectly, you give up rather than trying to fix it with me? You gave him so many chances, so I get none?”
“I don’t know. I haven’t thought about it like that… but I guess I think after all I’ve been through… I deserve someone who is the perfect fit. I deserve to be happy. I know I do.” I said.
He was quiet again for awhile then asked, “Do you believe in me?”
I thought about it for a second and said, “I do believe in you, in who you are. I guess I just don’t know how to support you in your own dreams. Right now all of our goals as a couple is based around a Visa, kids, and traveling. Which all feels centered around me. I don’t know what your goals are, like the Davide apart from our relationship.”
He quickly replied with, “YOU. You’re my only goal,Monica. Making you happy and giving us the best life is the only goal in life I have. I’ve dreamt my whole life of someone like you. Someone beautiful, smart, caring, sexy, and funny. When I’m around you, I’m constantly in awe of you. You make me happier than I’ve ever dreamt I could be. Even this drive right now… watching you sing and dance, I can’t stop smiling. This is all I want. Forever. Keeping you as happy as you make me, is all I can think about right now.”
We kissed and he intertwined our fingers and kept kissing my hand and arm as I drove.
As his words kept playing over in my head… I thought about this conversation Tots and I had before I left. How I told Tots that I didn’t feel like he challenged me enough. She brought out that on the bright side it kinda works in that I’m so ambitious, he balances me out. If we had a family… he wants to be the one to be the primary caregiver for the kids. Freeing me up to be the Boss Babe I am. Is the lack of a challenge really such a bad thing? Maybe it’s what I need.
On the other hand… it’s taken me piecing together a bunch of little things to realize that he doesn’t really push me outside my comfort zone, ever. We go on a hike and he wants me to take the extra safe route. Or not jump off of a rock. When I get tired he suggests turning around, rather than going just a bit further… we’re so close. My ex was the same way, someone who just encouraged me to take it easy rather than challenge me to go further. I push myself so hard… do I really need to be challenged? Or is that just some fantasy I have? If I really think about it… it’s not something really essential for me to have… but I like being challenged in my relationship. I want a partner to make me stronger. I want someone who can hold their own. Maybe that’s just wishful thinking though. Can I have it all?
I quietly thought about all of this. Biting my lip and trying hard to envision what my life would look like. Would I be happy? Before I was so sure I would be. Now thinking about these details, it was confusing.
Then Davide asked another Josh question. He wanted to know what my favorite thing was about him.
It took me awhile to think of anything. When I remember him now, I only think about the bad. Even though I know he’s not a bad person. I really really don’t like thinking of my ex. Then trying to remember him and all the promises we once said. It had me feeling on edge. Off balance.
“I liked how smart he was. He was super logical and I’d tell him everything going on and he’d help me out.” I was trying to keep it simple and to the point.
“Do I do that?” He asked.
I took a deep breath, “Honestly? Not really. Like with the Cliff stuff… when I told you about it you said you knew I’d make the right decision. He on the other hand would’ve asked me a lot of questions. Helped me analyze it. Would’ve helped me see a different side of it. Then give me his opinion on what he thought I should do. But he’d tell me whatever I decided he’d support me in. Whenever I faced a decision like that we’d talk about it for at least an hour. We’d help each other make all decisions. Cars we were getting. Trips I needed to take. Everything. He was just my safe space to vent about anything and everything. Then he’d help me figure it out. The only time I ever miss him, is when it’s stupid stuff like that.”
“So you miss him.” He stated.
Shit. “That came out wrong… I don’t miss him like I want to go back. I just feel like I got used to one person for so long… that sometimes I reach for something out of habit and realize it’s not there anymore. I don’t think of him, but when I rarely do- it’s because I miss getting his opinion.”
Davide was quiet for awhile and finally said, “I don’t think he’s as smart as you think.”
I raised my eyebrow and looked over at him.
“I think he’s an idiot for ever letting you go. He had to be. If you and I were ever not together Monica… first- I’d fight for you and never give up, but I’d also think about you every single day. No matter who I was with… I’d be wishing they were you. Pretending they were you. Personality-wise you are just the best. So funny, sassy, and sweet. Then your body is just mind blowing. Unforgettably sexy. I could never willingly walk away from you. Never willingly stop speaking to you. I don’t see how any man could. I’m happy he did, because now I have you, but he’s not smart.. he’s an idiot.”
I smiled at him, warmly. Processing his words. I know Josh was an idiot for cheating and leaving the way he did. I still don’t know how he moved on from me the way he did. Especially with the kind of girl he did it with. How he just cut me out of his life and never thought of me again… like I didn’t exist. None of that makes sense to me, but that doesn’t matter… I just trust that she makes him happier.
“I was a different person back then. Josh, he saw the worst parts of me. He saw the anxiety, depression, and insecurity that had built up after years of just… being who everyone else wanted me to be. So yeah, he’s an idiot. But it’s for the best… so it doesn’t matter. Do you mind if we change the subject now… I don’t think thinking of him or remembering who I used to be. It was a different life.”
He nodded and we turned the music up.
Glamping in Big Sur
Our little tent was the cutest thing in the world. The bed was large and comfy. We had a cute little porch and a fire pit. Completely surrounded by trees. It was pretty romantic.
At night Davide made a fire and we sipped tequila. We ended up making love on the porch and bed for hours. Then he tied me down and we went at it until we both collapsed from exhaustion.
Weeks of holding back had built up to this. We laid in bed, tangled up in each other. The quiet woods surrounding us. And for a moment it felt like it was just us in the world.
He pulled me close and whispered “Say you’re mine forever” and then kissed me deeply.
The illusion that it was just me and him in the world, shattered and something deep in my stomach turned. I knew I couldn’t say that to him. I can’t lie to him. God, I feel like such a shitty person for not being able to.
He saw the panic in my eyes as I tried to find something to say. So he grabbed the back of my neck and pulled me in for a deeper kiss. So deep I finally stopped thinking and got lost in it. When he pulled away he had me gasping for air. “Say it” he growled in my ear and then kissed me until I was breathless again.
Finally, while we were catching our breath, I said “I can’t say that. I can’t make you promises when you know I have doubts.”
“How could you possibly have doubts about us after a night like this Monica?” He challenged. “What is really missing here?” He grabbed my body, kissed me hard and pinned me to the bed again. We made love once more and then both fell asleep. As I drifted off, his words kept ringing in my ears. What IS missing here? Is it like the puzzle pieces that he mentioned earlier… I was with the wrong puzzle piece for too long that now it’s like I’m making a problem where this isn’t one, because it has to be just perfect? I don’t have an answer to that.
We woke up extra early and took a shower together. The we grabbed some breakfast and I hung out in a reading nook for a bit with my book. We went for a hike which was beautiful, but we were both fairly sore from the night before. Then I got to hold an OWL! Which was like the coolest thing ever. We drank too much champagne and then ended up back at our tent getting tangled in bed.
I had made plans to meet a coworker and his wife for dinner. Davide was too tired, so I went by myself. Dinner was fun. I completely monopolized his wife, who I’ve been dying to meet. She’s this badass lawyer and has a black belt. She’s completely fascinating and we totally hit it off, even exchanging numbers. Later my coworker called and thanked me for making the extra effort to drive out. Whenever we travel for work, it’s hard on our loved ones, especially because they don’t know the team. In the past his wife wasn’t exactly thrilled that I was living in the same house as her husband for the week. But after meeting me in person, she had no concerns anymore, which was going to make life easier for my coworker. Remote work is weird and the odd challenges that come up with it is so hard to explain to everyone else.
Davide and I had another late night. As we laid in bed he asked me “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”
I smiled. “I see myself with a family. Traveling to somewhere beautiful, like Greece. Proving that you can have it all- family, work, an amazing husband. What about you?”
He kissed the tip of my nose and then said, “Somewhere on a beach with a beautiful view, beside you.” he did a deep sigh and then said, “I cannot wait to see you pregnant. God you’re going to be so sexy.”
His answer made me… nervous. Not in the happy butterflies kind of way… but in a, “Do I see the same thing?” and not knowing the answer, kinda way.
After he dozed off, I stayed up late and emailed his mom some pictures from us hiking. I know she misses him and thought it’d help to see how happy he looked.
The next morning we woke up early to rain. We stayed in bed for awhile and then went out to breakfast. His sister called me and wanted to know if she could come visit for a few weeks. I told her I’d always love to see her and she’s welcome over whenever. Apparently she had been asking Davide and he said he’d run it by me- but then never would give her an answer. So she thought I was mad at her or something.
After we hung up, I asked Davide about it. He didn’t want to ask because my family has been staying with us more often because of my dad and with everything else going on. I told him I thought we should buy her a plane ticket as a birthday present. He was pretty surprised by that but excited to have his sister around. I love his family, especially his siblings.
So we called her together and figured out dates for her to fly out, we were able to make something work for April. So she’s going to be here before we know it. He’s pretty excited and is already starting to plan all the places we should take her to.
We’re driving back home and hitting wineries on the way. It rained for a bit this morning and we just sat on our little porch with the fire. Me starting to write this… and him reading.
I have a lot of questions still swimming around in my head. About him. About what I really want. If I’m always going to be searching for the perfect puzzle piece. About the lessons I learned from my ex around vague promises and how I told myself I’d never do that again. Never risk everything for that again. How I’d never allow myself to be treated like anything other than a priority. I spent so long, being scared to walk away. It’s my nature to just put someone else first… to work around their needs. But that tendency really fucked me over. I learned that I should never put someone else first who isn’t making me a priority. Problem is now I don’t know what to do, and all the questions swirling around in my head. All I know is… getting away from Newport for a minute… it was nice.