I've been wondering whether leaving somewhere you've worked for a lengthy period of time is like leaving a long relationship?
That first interview, the nerves, the waiting, it's not so much like a first date. The wait for a call back, that period of uncertainty, are you going to be right for each other?
Then the first month or so of learning each others foibles. The excitement of new discoveries, the moments of illicit transgression. Your first unauthorised after work drink, the first time you arrive half an hour late and hungover despite living upstairs.
Then after not too long the realisation that you're a bit too ambitious to stay with the younger less pretty sister, you move uptown and sidle up to the big (younger and flashier doesn't really work within the metaphor but I'll run with it) sister. She's got goals, ambitions, hell she's much better dressed and has a whole lot more of what you're interested in. Of course, it's not as easy, you have to stay on your feet a lot more, and some of her little peculiarities are really quite hard to get over at first. But you persevere, you can see the good that could come of the relationship.
That first year, you're committed to it, you fight, you fuck, you think about walking out, you make up. You go out drinking together, you bust each others balls when it gets really busy, but then afterwards you still curl up together in bed, smile and fall happily asleep.
Imperceptibly you drift apart, it no longer seems like the end of the world if you don't see each other, the good times become just that bit less exciting and the little things you overlooked as being cute little curiosities become soul destroying. Songs you used to listen to together merely make you uncomfortable. You spend days on end not really doing anything, watching the staff running around you oblivious to how little you really care any more. You find yourself taking long hard looks at your partner, contrasting everything to how she was when you met, each wrinkle, every broken banquette and tap that's slightly different from the others. You get into arguments over the household finances, times have got tougher, so belts need to be tightened, there are disagreements over where best to make savings.
Then you finally make the jump, you send that email saying you can't do it any more, you're moving to Australia, it wasn't her, it was much more about you, how you just weren't ready to settle down, you both lie to each other a bit about how good it's been, and doubtless you'll both meet for a drink in a few years and reminisce about the good times, and laugh about how few names either of you can remember, but that's it.
Suddenly the wind that was flagging is gone, the water is placid, still and the sail is flapping listlessly. There's still another five or six weeks to go until you're off and free to flirt in bars anew, but you're still in each day, pretending that there's still a semblance of your heart in it.
Thank god you don't have to give notice when you break up..