Getting Happy... when you wish you were dead

My 46th birthday. I’m alone. No one knows it’s my birthday, and I miss Maria. I still wonder why she chose to do this now. Did my success trigger something in her that doesn’t want to prosper? Is she cheating, and this is a convenient out? Is there something wrong with me that makes it impossible for me to love someone, or be loved?

I feel like a failure. The one thing I want to achieve in life is to love a woman well, and I have failed. I try to be balanced – that relationships take two people and all that – but all I see is my own failure. I want to love and be loved.

The memory that comes to me is of Martina. A woman who loved me, and a woman I loved. I got it right for at least a little while.

Martina and I met while studying at the National Institute for Broadcasting. I had been doing improvisation at The Second City for a while, was doing some acting, and wanted to develop my voice talents. I was living in St. Catharines and working for the City as a seasonal parks employee.

When the summer season wrapped in the Parks Department, Martina and I decided I should move in with her in Toronto, and work at finding acting gigs. By the following spring, I had done a lot of training and gained experience but hadn't landed steady work. So Martina and I talked about my going back to St. Catharines and working for the city.

"The return notice came from the city this week." We had gone to St. Catharines to check my mail, and get out of the city for a while.

"What does that mean?" Martina asked.

"Well, if I go back, it means I need to be back in St. Catharines in a couple of weeks. So we need to decide whether I'm going to stay here or go back to work for the city."

"You're welcome to stay. I understand why you would want to go back and have a regular paycheck, but you don't have to."

"Thank you, Martina. That means a lot. But I'm afraid of becoming a burden to you. I already feel like I've gotten lazy, and I'm not pushing myself to find the work."

In the end, I chose to go back to St. Catharines. It was the safest path. One of the results was Martina and I drifting apart.

Our relationship wasn't perfect, but we were good together. I loved her, and still do. She loved me. So I know that I can do it, even if I only succeeded for a little while. That's something to build upon.

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