What: Pabst Blue Ribbon
Where: West-end Toronto shared house
Who: My room mate, her new man, whole bunch of stangers
Last weekend, I was invited to an annual Turkey Party. What is a turkey party you ask? Basically it is a debaucherous event where the host provides a turkey, the guests bring the sides and then much, much drinking occurs. Sounds a bit like thanksgiving but it happens in February and involves a keg, and a ton of random people. Kind of amazing actually! Apparently it started a couple of years ago when the host won a turkey at a curling contest before the holidays but didn’t receive it until February. At that point he had a huge amount of meat and no family event to serve it at, so he invited over a bunch of friends, bought a keg and a tradition was born.
This year, I was lucky enough to be invited. Even though I don’t eat turkey, or love keg beer, I was super pumped to be invited. I do love big gatherings of strangers and I’ve always thought theme parties were hysterical. The group was a fun mix of people including a couple of close friends, a few acquaintances and a whole bunch of new people. It was easy to talk to everyone and make new friends – if only for the night. As I was sitting there with a drink in hand, surrounded by the laughter and chatter of new friends, I had a happy feeling that perhaps this was a foreshadowing of my life in Ireland.
Later on in the night, I was suddenly filled with an intense wave of sadness and longing. Even though two months have gone by I still missed him so much. I still wish he could have been there with me. Rationally, I know he would never have enjoyed a keg party but I couldn’t helping wishing that he would have. Slowly, I am starting to realize that perhaps what I miss isn’t our life together, but a fantasy where he was the man I wanted him to be. Perhaps I desire a reality that never really existed. Perhaps I long for the man that I was trying to change him into. When I take a step back and try to evaluate without emotion, I know that I would never want to be with someone who wasn’t themselves with me. I would never want someone to change just to be with me. I would never want someone to sacrifice a part of themselves. That isn’t love and it isn’t a way to live.
When I work up the next day, I had a different preservative. I was so very lucky to have spent a year loving an incredible person. I miss him constantly and wish that our situation was different. But I can’t force him to be someone he isn’t. I can’t fake a future that can’t exist. I can only accept my reality and look to the future. To a life fulled with love and respect. To a life with someone who loves me as I am. To a man who can be himself. To a cosy bar in Ireland filled with laughter, music, friends and beer.
When all is lost, all is left to gain. – Mat Kearney