Shortly after Andrew’s declaration of love, I started to notice that the time stamp on his messages were an hour off of my own. They used to be the same. Now, his were one hour later than mine.
This didn’t make sense.
About six month into our discussions, he mentioned that he might be moving from Boston. He was originally from Indianapolis as was I. Based on what I knew about him, Indianapolis was a logical destination. This was exciting. There would be, I thought, no more reasons for us to not be together. I asked him where he was moving to and, in typical ‘Andrew fashion’, he ignored me. I hadn’t thought deeply into this until my trip to Denver.
Up to that point, I figured the time stamp disagreement had something to do with either my computer or his — a technical issue. However, while in Denver, I the time stamp changed by two hours, which is consistent with the time difference between Denver and Indianapolis. My mind, it seemed, had collected pieces of information and put them together even when I wasn’t purposefully doing any critical thinking at all.
At the Denver airport, just before my plane boarded for home, I checked the ‘properties’ of Andrew’s email’s, copying and pasting the ‘sent’ IP address into Google to see from where his last email was sent. The response was as suspected: Indianapolis. He knows I visit the area regularly. He clearly didn’t avoid my latest invitations to Chicago due to a distance issue. When strategically planned around traffic patterns, it is only a three and a half hour drive from Indianapolis to Chicago.
Andrew, it dawned on me, had moved from Boston to my parent’s backyard and never mentioned it. On that plane ride home, hope stopped. Its screeching halt felt like I had plunged into an icy pool of water on an uncomfortably hot summer day.
That first step out the virtual door was tough, but ‘walking away’ resulted in life-altering empowerment. I had known something wasn’t right, but kept hoping everything would somehow turn out the way I wanted. My head was still able to function separately from my heart. This is good to know.