Nook must do what Nook must do.
The conversations that Nook had to have were not mine to be part of. She had a story, a life, to bring to closure (or, at least attempt to) that was not part of the story that she and I had been building.
The nature of those conversations is likely obvious to anyone who has had experience with life and relationships, and it’s not necessary for me to delve into them here and now. You get the idea.
And so it was with resolve and resignation that Nook knew that by the end of the week, she had to do the hardest thing she ever would likely have to do. There is no class at school which prepares one for this sort of thing. There is no mother-daughter nor father-daughter conversation which can prepare one for an event of this type.
It takes a strength unique to each person and each situation.
Due to Nook’s very busy schedule, and the fact that she knew this was going to be a big and important moment needing her full attention, she wanted to have this conversation at a moment that afforded it the most amount of time it deserved - which meant not on a day where she was working two jobs, back to back.
Unfortunately, things did not work out quite that way. For a variety of reasons, she knew that she couldn’t wait the extra two or so days she wanted, and as soon as she finished her second job that evening, a talk was going to be had.
Those moment’s are Nook’s, and won’t be shared as part of our story.
However, what I will share is the simple fact: I have never felt more helpless in my life than I did during the evening that Nook fulfilled this obligation.
The boyfriend in me wanted to be next to her, supporting her, holding her hand...but that was, for many obvious reasons, not possible. The most that I could do was make sure that if Nook needed to reach out to me, that I was available for her.
That night I did not sleep. I watched a few films on TV, my iPhone at the ready. I’d check my email every few moments, verify my Internet connection was working, and so on.
The thoughts that were running through my mind were many and varied. From the supportive “I hope it’s going as well as it can” to the extreme “I hope she’s not been attacked by him”...all normal thoughts for the moment, I suspect.
And yes, I had the thoughts that I’m perhaps least proud of. The thoughts that showed just how much Nook had come to mean to me, but also my own insecurity during this trialling time:
“I hope she doesn’t change her mind.”
Perhaps I should have been more confident in Nook’s decision. But I was thousands of kilometres away from her, and he was right there, next to her, able to reach out and touch her. He could tug not just at her emotional heart-strings, but physical ones.
Two of my friends mentioned in Chapter 20 (Get By) reiterated during their visit with me that this was not a competition. That I shouldn’t see things in that light. And for the most part, I agreed with them. This whole situation was about Nook choosing what was best for her, and the rest of us accepting, and if possible, supporting her.
But that night, that night as I waited by my phone for some indication that she was okay (alive), that she was managing to do what she must, I could not help but return, over and over, to the Scenarios, to the What Ifs, and fear that if ever there was a moment that I might lose Nook from my life (again) - this was it.
And so I waited.
And said her name aloud in my dark and empty flat.
This was her time, and only after it could it truly, possibly, if I’m just that lucky, be our time.