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Dear McGill: A Break Up Note

Dear McGill,

You may not know it, but we have been in a rollercoaster relationship for about four years now. If we were Facebook official, there’s not a doubt in my mind that we would be “Complicated”. We’ve had our ups and downs: we’ve gone from A’s to C‘s; from classes in Leacock to McMed; and of course there was the time that we took a break during the second semester of third year, and yes, I’ll admit I did cheat on you during that time. A part of me still believes I left my heart at the University of Amsterdam, but you were my first true love, and we all know that that’s something you never forget.

As you may already know, we certainly have not always agreed, McGill. When it comes to politics, we don’t always see eye to eye, and sometimes I have a problem with the way you treat certain people. You have a lot to work on, and a lot to learn, there’s no doubt about it. But as much as I have loathed you, I know that no matter how hard I try, and who holds my affection next, I’ll always have you on the tip of my tongue, and in the back of my mind. We belonged together, if only for a fleeting moment, and I’ll never regret you. You were wildly ephemeral, but you were purposive. 20 years down the road you may not know my face in a crowd, but I hope you know that I’ll never forget the times we’ve shared, and that I appreciate everything you have done to make me the person that I am. I’m writing to let you know that I’m moving on and adding you to my list of ex’s, but I’ll always cherish our four years together.

Our relationship began like many others. I fell for you before you even knew I existed. I lusted after you from afar for so long that I was overwhelmed when I found out you wanted anything to do with me. You were my high school crush, after all. You just seemed so damn perfect. Even my parents loved you from the start.

You fell for me February 20th, 2013 and we became “official” on September 3rd, 2013 (I know, we took it slow). We moved in together soon after that. Remember our first place at 3625 Parc Avenue? The shower never drained and the neighbors had horrible taste in music, but it was my first home away from home, and because of that it was magic. You were my first taste of freedom, and, at that time, nothing had ever tasted sweeter than you.

You showed me the playground that is the city of Montreal, and introduced me to the vibrant megalopolis using all of my senses. If it weren’t for you, I never would have felt my skates hit the slick ice in Old Port; I never would have seen the street art splashed over the Plateau in early September; I never would have heard the persistent pounding of steel drums at Tam Tams on sunny Sunday mornings; I never would have smelt what a fresh Fairmount bagel smells like coming out of a wood oven; and I never would have tasted how good Two Chow tastes on those blurry kind of St. Laurent nights that I hope everyone gets to experience at least once. So, thank you. Thank you for bringing me to a city that stole my heart.

Now, I don’t want to give you a big ego or anything, but what they say is true: you are absolutely stunning. And I don’t want to appear shallow, but your beauty definitely drew me in the first time I laid eyes on you. And after all these years there are still moments where the sight of you takes my breath away. You get to me. Whether on those brisk late night walks when the streetlights and stars shine on you simultaneously, or the mornings when the first snow of the season sparkles atop your sturdy structure. You are traditional yet modern, vintage yet cosmopolitan, and you pull off the contrast with ease. Your beauty is dazzling, and I don’t think there will ever be a time when I stop believing that is true, because you age more gracefully than most could even dream of.

McGill, you taught me love and loss and lore, and introduced me to the sort of lifelong friends people spend their whole existence trying to find (they’re taking my side in this breakup, sorry not sorry). You taught me how to speak my mind, even when my voice shook, and how to know what’s worth screaming for. You made me a better person, McGill. I am more gracious, more open, and more empathetic, and I will think of you when I share these values with my own children, down the road. I cannot thank you enough for the person I have become, but I know there is more out there for me, and I’m going after it now.

I hope you know that it’s not you, it’s me. I’m just ready to move on. Four years is a long time, and it’s going to be hard to go our separate ways, it really is. But you’re just not right for me anymore. I know you’ll be so great to whoever comes after me, and they’ll be so lucky to become a part of your world. I hope there are no hard feelings, but I’m putting myself first and following my own path, and it just doesn’t include you anymore. But I hope we can still remain friends, and I’m sure I’ll hear from you soon, even if it’s just because you need a little financial support.

If you need me, I’ll be in New York City. Hopefully their lights shine as bright as yours.

With love,