On moving day, I awoke after only three hours of sleep. The first thought that went through my head was, ''David and I are moving in together today.'' David, my boyfriend of eleven months, lay asleep beside me, his breath heavy and trusting. I quickly pulled on shorts and a T-shirt, stumbled over piles of books, dishes, clothes and shoes (all of which should have been packed already) and let myself out the front door. I walked through the familiar streets for over an hour, already nostalgic for a neighborhood that in a few short hours would no longer be my turf. I felt a confused mixture of fear and excitement, dread and hope. As the child of a troubled marriage and finally a rancorous divorce when I was eighteen, relationships are not easy for me. Love, although it brings me great joy, is always coupled with a fear of inevitable failure. This morning, as I scuffed along the streets, I tried but just couldn't shake my feeling of doom.
From a pay phone I called my father. Often, when I'm having a meltdown, I'll call my dad -- usually, he offers some good advice, and he always succeeds in talking me down from my emotional cliff's edge. As soon as he answered, I blurted out, ''Daddy, I'm making a huge mistake.''
''But you've been planning this for months,'' he said.
''Well, what changed?'' he asked.
''I don't know.'' Silence. ''I want to celebrate this move, but I don't know how to.''
''Yes, you do, Caitlin. Buy flowers, make dinner, make love. Honey, you can do this.''
''Okay,'' I said, embarrassed by his suggestion of making love, but also comforted by his delicate acceptance of my adulthood. ''I'll try.''
I let myself back into the apartment and found David taping boxes together and beginning to dismantle my bookshelves. ''What's going on, Caitlin?'' he asked
''I'm just feeling a little bit stressed out,'' I offered. ''Moving is stressful, you know?''
He looked at me seriously. ''Do you want to do this?'' he asked.
''Yes. I do,'' I said. But I wasn't sure.