I settle into a routine of early mornings and early nights. Of rigor and joy in the classroom, work and play after hours, and happiness filling my days. This could be alright sooner than I expected, for longer than I ever imagined. I see potential in unexpected people and opportunities in unexpected places and I dive in head first.
But I also keep him tucked away, in a mock casual way that gives away just how serious I wish it would be. He tells me he misses me too and I lie that it is enough. Later, he walks away from the “us” that never was, and I lie that I knew it all along.
I told myself I would stop with the ultimatums. My life is not a movie, and things are never black and white. But the ultimatums are my desires, laid out in simple terms. They are what I would want if the stars aligned, if what I pictured for my life actually became reality.
So maybe they are good—because don’t I deserve that? Maybe the ultimatums are just a way to remind myself not to settle.