I don’ t know if I can accurately describe what happened in the thirty days between Anthony quitting his job and leaving for baseball in March 2014. At first, I was sure that we had finally hit a point that we couldn’t come back from. I sought council from my best friends who also assured me that there isn’t a soul in the world who would do this to me, if they in fact loved me. At least not without the common decency of a conversation or game plan first. I had to agree with them. I knew they were right. Anthony had managed to make me feel isolated and alone in the relationship, especially while I was thousands of miles away from my family and friends. And it was never news to me when someone told me Anthony was being selfish or inconsiderate. I was always pathetically aware of how one-sided things had been. One friend in particular even told me that she was always waiting to pick up the pieces of the next downfall that inevitably would come from my investment in Anthony. I didn’t have the strength or ground to stand on to argue with her anymore, and just agreed that everything up until this point was so unfair. For the first time I felt truly embarrassed about my constant rallying and support behind Anthony’s life, and spent the majority of his last days at home being angry and defensive towards him. As much as I told myself to let things go, his very existence in our apartment (that I was now paying for entirely) made my skin crawl.
But time flew by, and the days leading up to his departure crept up on me. The reality of a breakup filled my heart and stomach with nausea, and I started to reflect on what was really happening between us. It isn’t a secret that Anthony and I were raised very differently. His family had rallied behind his dream of playing baseball sometime during his college success, and that was his main focus in life. Baseball. They believed in his ability to succeed as a professional athlete, and that is where they encouraged him to always focus. As a result of not being drafted, Anthony spent much of his early twenties attending baseball tryouts and training in a gym, which as we all know, does not earn a paycheck. By nature, Anthony grew up working side jobs and relying on others. I knew this about him, for the most part, when we met and started dating, and yet it did not deter me from being interested. In extreme contrast, I grew up working as many hours as high school kids were allowed by the State of Maine and was expected to contribute to car and cell phone bills. Once in college, there was really no choice but to grow up and support myself. And though I struggled to do that financially sometimes, I still learned to be ashamed or embarrassed by not staying on track with my life. It became second nature to work hard and build a career, and that was the choice my parents made in raising me – which for the record I wouldn’t change for anything (so the both of you can stop wishing you could have done more, because in reality you’ve done everything). But I started to really open my mind up a bit more, and remember that Anthony was working toward a career as well when I met him. Our worlds collided and we both made changes to the paths we were on in order to compensate for the love we had for each other.
Up until this point in the blog, you’ve heard from my point of view and my perspective. Undoubtedly this story, whether factual or not, would sound much different coming from Anthony’s perspective. In all fairness, Anthony began the process of growing up and living on his own after he met me. I have to imagine that I had some influence over the pressure he felt to do that. Even if your opinion is that he should have done that long before meeting me, as was my opinion, it is only just that. An opinion. For more than three years, I did not see a value in baseball as a career. It was a waste of time because it did not prepare him for the real world, if it in fact did not work out. I have since learned from Anthony that you don’t always look at the glass half empty. People were calling him to play baseball. They called every year that I’ve known him and offered him cash to play America’s favorite pastime. It isn’t a realistic dream. It isn’t likely that he’ll play in the majors. But it is a dream, and it’s possible, and I’ve learned to live a little since watching him pursue it. Sometimes life looks better when you focus on the possibilities and the dreams, instead of the impossibilities and unlikeliness of things. And I tried my hardest, even though I was hurt and resentful, to remember that he did give it up to work on things with us, if even for a short time, and broke up the path he was on when we first met.
I know that my perspective is the norm. The majority of people agree with me when I complain, and the majority of people agree that working a nine-to-five is the only option in life. I’m very proud of where I have been in my career in corporate America and I don’t know that I’d ever be comfortable leaving it. In fact, I did leave it for a boy, and an RV called Grandma and my whole world shattered around me. I was miserable, depressed and never felt more lost in my life. I have to imagine that is what Anthony felt when he left his baseball career behind him to sit at a desk at Citi Bank and harass people for their money on a daily basis. So it wasn’t difficult to come to Anthony with this revelation, just days before he left for San Luis, Mexico. And it certainly was not eloquently put, as it has been laid out here, simply because I’ve had so much more time to reflect on what we’ve been through. Frankly, I was still quite angry and disappointed about the way he had gone about things, but we decided on the night before he left that we’d try this damn thing out again and see where it would take us. And for the first time, I felt as though I was genuinely behind him and his endeavor in baseball. As it turns out, that made all the difference in the world.