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This is the end of my story.

I've been engaged to be married for the past two years, in a relationship for the past five years and single for the past two weeks.

Novie was five days away from leaving Jakarta for Chicago. Five days away from starting graduate school. Five days away from moving a stone throw away from my apartment. Five days away from falling asleep next to me, waking up next to me--spending the rest of her life with me.

Five fucking days.

I feel like all those teams beaten in the playoffs by Michael Jordan's last second heroics...except this isn't the NBA playoffs--it is my life.

Her parents never approved of me. Never. I went to Indonesia this past winter to try and appeal to them, show them I was serious, show them I was willing to do anything, everything for their daughter.

I'm not rich enough. I'm an American. I live too far away. I don't have a promising future. I don't come from a good family. I'm a foolish artist. I'm not the right race. I'm not the right kind of Asian. I was raised in a western country. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

I kind of thought these things would go away if I stuck around long enough. I kind of thought there wouldn't be a time when they'd rear their ugly head and directly impact our relationship. I thought it would just be a constant annoyance, but living a bazillion miles away from the in-laws seemed to be a good remedy.

Then something happened.

Novie's dad fell ill 10 days before she was scheduled to leave for Chicago. He flew to Singapore for tests...and found out he has stage 4 colon cancer that has spread to his lungs, liver and kidneys.

Plans change.

Novie flew to Singapore. Novie's family sat down and decided that she would have to accompany her father to China so I could begin chemotherapy. She was told she could start school in Chicago "once her father has recovered."

"Once your father has recovered" is like Bush saying we'll withdraw troops once Baghdad is secure. Not. Gonna. Happen.

I did surprisingly well with the news. I said I would wait longer. Two years long distance is nothing to sneeze at. This is the woman I want to marry. This is worth waiting for. I sat bedside while my mother recovered from cancer. I can support you. I can wait. I'll be here.

So we said what we always used to say:

I love you.

I love you baby.

Thanks for waiting.

I love you so much.

I miss you.

I fucking miss you so much right now.

This is sad for me--no doubt about that, but it is tragic for her. She doesn't want to live in Indonesia. She hates China. Now she's living in China and heading back to Indonesia. We're not getting married and she may not be able to pursue her education in the US.

International Students do not qualify for financial aid. They cannot get student loans. They have to pay upfront for everything.

I don't even know how to write about what happened leading up to her leaving me. It still doesn't make sense to me. I'll try to take a stab at it:

1) Her father hates me.
2) My presence in her life greatly upsets her father.
3) Her father is dying of cancer.
4) She wants to make sure she is not adding any additional stress to her father's recovery/end of his life.
5) She breaks up with me so her father doesn't have to be upset about a poor American artist from a bad family marrying into his.

I tried to get her to change her mind.

I offered to move to Jakarta.

I offered to move to China.

I offered to take out student loans to pay for her education.

I offered to wait as long as it would take.

I offered to invent time machines.

A cure for cancer.

I fought for two weeks. I tried to hold on to something I've worked hard to maintain. She was unrelenting.

There's a place in our mind where we hold our thoughts for the future. Wishes, predictions and plans that exist as a kind of future memory...finishing graduate school a year after she does, getting married so she can stay in the country, buying property together, never worrying about immigration issues or parents again. Being together. BEING TOGETHER. Being there for one another. Being there for her.

God knows I've screwed up in our relationship. I didn't think I had time to help her look for apartments. I was working 9 hours every day of the week at two different jobs. I could've found the time.

I should've found the time.

I took my current job for her. I wanted something respectable that could lead to better possibilities.

I hate my job. I need to work somewhere my personality is an asset and not a liability. I don't want to be told to cut my mohawk. I don't want to feel like I can't offer my opinion, where I have to be quiet, where people roll their eyes at me. I want to be valued for more than my ability to make a lunch reservation and book a plane ticket.

Now I have this job and I'm dreading tomorrow. I used to get through the day by thinking, "it is for her, it is for her, it is for her, she'll be here soon, this will only get better, you can go home to her, you can wake up with her."

Now I think, "this is your life, this is your life, this is your life, this is your life."

I've been trying to stay away from going home. Sometimes I'll walk home. I can't think about what's never going to be waiting for me at home.

I don't even know how to tell people. I just told my parents today.

I don't know what I have to look forward to. I don't know how anyone could possibly replace her.

I used to have anxiety attacks when I didn't hear from her for a day or two. I'd think there was a flood not covered on C-Span that had wiped our her part of town. An explosion. An earthquake. A car accident. Not like this.

I didn't see this coming at all.

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