I know that we’ve been together forever. This may seem sudden, but I have to go. And I know it sounds cliché but really: it’s not you, it’s me.
We met a lifetime ago. And we have been great friends since that first day. We grew up together, side by side from grade school through high school and even college. So many summers spent down the shore, trips to A.C., late nights at the diners, games at The Stadium, hitting the malls, concerts at Brendan Byrne Arena (it will always be Brendan Byrne Arena to us).
I honestly can’t think of all the great times we’ve shared because there are just so many.
You knew about my occasional dalliances across the river. They were inevitable with all the long days at work there. Yet you never held it against me. You were always there, no matter how late or how drunk I was, to welcome me back with open arms. You gave me water and let me rest at your place.
And then it happened. I went and fell in love. You’ve never said it but I know it broke your heart when we up and married in Hawaii. You let us live with you, but I knew you were hurt. I knew it when we had our reception for friends and family months later and you weren’t there. Part of me knew you wouldn’t cross the bridge to come celebrate, but another part of me really wished you would show up.
The kid came and we seemed to grow further apart though I know you love her as much as you loved me. Maybe more. But you know she’s not your kid. She was born in The Big City. And I’m sure that stung too.
So here we are. I have never been away from you for longer than a month. And I have loved you always — even when everyone made you the butt of jokes. They still do, but I don’t care. I cherish every moment around you. And I will definitely be back to visit, if you’ll have me. You are home to me.
But I think it best if we spent some time apart. I have to give you some space so you can flourish on your own. I won’t be far, just far enough.
You will always have my heart. This new place will be better for all of us, my kiddo and the wife. And me too, I’m hoping.
I won’t say goodbye because this is not that. I will say what I will feel though. Even now. You may not want to hear this yet, but I need you to know it will always be the truth.
Simply stated: I love you, New Jersey.