Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Annette/Benjamin: Good news?

I wish that the title of this entry referred to finding a publisher for my first novel - I've been quiet here for the past few months because I wanted to focus all my writing energy on that, but it's just getting started going through slush piles and the like.  I'm expecting a lot of rejections, but hopefully some will come with advice.

No, the good news is that after half a year of temping, contact work, and going on interview after interview, Marybeth has found a job!  It is, I think, the sort of job I'd have hoped to land if I had gone to Harvard and graduated with a degree in English, an assistant editor at a small but growing publishing house, which is getting a little extra attention thanks to some celebrity or other mentioning one of their books in an interview.  

It's great!

It's also in Chicago.

I was kind of prepared for Marybeth's job hunt leading her, and us, out of Boston; there are publishers and academic jobs here, but also a lot of grads looking for them.  In fact, I was kind of looking forward to moving back to New York if that's where it took us.  Nobody there remembers me aside from Benny/Jordan, which would have been a very weird thing on its own, sure, but there are a lot of places and things I'd like to make my places again. 

I've heard a lot of nice things about Chicago, too, although admittedly not so much from Cary.  He's kind of got his own reasons for not really loving the experience, but every once in a while he mentions a nice restaurant that Elaine introduced him to, or that going to Wrigley and the Cubs' victory parade was cool.  

Again, if I got into Marybeth's position, which was my goal before that second visit to the Inn, I'd probably be super excited to get an exciting new job in a big new city, especially if I got to hang around with someone I liked as much as I like Marybeth.

But that's the thing I can't avoid thinking about right now - it's not my life, and it's never going to be.  It's hers, and while I haven't just been with her in order to live vicariously, I do feel pangs of envy.  I could be on my way to doing this, but because some bitch decided that stealing one person's life wasn't enough (and another decided to follow suit), I'm a guy bussing tables in a burger bar, crossing my fingers that when the new location opens, I might get a promotion to full manager.  I was going to be a smart, respected woman, and now...

Well, that's what made the conversation when Marybeth got the job kind of weird for her as much as me.  I'm the one with the penis, but there are a lot of times when it doesn't seem like I'm the guy in the relationship with Marybeth.  I am well aware of how stupid and nineteenth-century it sounds, but there are a lot of ways in which the world is set up so that a good-looking guy who nevertheless hasn't personally achieved as much as his girlfriend is considered kind of pathetic in a way that isn't the case for a woman when you flip the situation around.  I generally don't feel that way, but I get some comments, and Marybeth gets a lot (Christmas at her place, with her parents, was a bonanza for both of us).  It's a weird thing, like guys who are already physically bigger and advantaged in society will somehow be looked down upon if they choose to be with a woman a couple years older or who outshines them in any way other than attractiveness, which is just stupidly weak.  It makes no sense!

But it's part of how the world works, and it meant that when she was telling me that she got this offer, I could see in her head that while she wasn't just going to let her boyfriend veto it as a matter of course, she seemed at least a little unsure of whether asking me to move with her was too much to ask.  I'm not saying every guy would just say yes immediately and then basically inform his girlfriend that they were moving, but a lot more would, and I think that Marybeth was bracing herself for a breakup in case I felt she was overstepping her bounds by even considering it.

I admit, I wasn't quite as immediate and enthusiastic with the "that's fantastic, and of course I'll come to Chicago with you!" as the perfect boyfriend would have been.  It wasn't really about male ego (I'm not entirely sure I've got one of those yet), as much as a brief flash of resentment that, once again, someone else's actions were going to make me drop whatever life I'd built and had to a new city and start all over again.  It wouldn't be a complete reset to zero like another trip to the Inn would be, but it's exhausting, and I feel like I've just gotten settled in.

She saw that, and started back-pedaling, and I immediately felt like shit, promising her that I'd follow her anywhere, and meaning it.  I love this woman and would really hate the idea of her selling herself short for me,  and I've spent the past few days trying to make sure she understands it.

And this morning, I happily went to the airport with her, sincerely telling her that I would trust her implicitly as she does the apartment hunting there while I work my last few shifts after giving my two weeks' notice, spending the rest of the time packing up the apartment so that I can rent a van and drive or stuff halfway across the country. 

I'm just hoping, that while I get all this done, that Marybeth's absence doesn't make me question the decision.  It's easy to uproot oneself when you're looking the person you love in the eyes, a bit less so when you've just called to break the news to someone like Missy who had been your friend and partner in weirdness for two years and two lives.


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