Fulfilling Dreams (West Coast Girl, Pt 20)

Vancouver 2020-2021

While I’ve had some amazing times alone, there’s nothing like being loved and treated well. I believe almost everyone is like this. You can thrive alone and do amazing things solo. I’ve lived that life – I can be very content alone. It is better to be alone than to be with the wrong person. However, when you are loved, you truly bloom. After a very productive year writing, I could feel that things might be coming to a close in the near future. I figured I’d have two, maybe three stories left in me.

I’d finished Voice Of A Storyteller and was about to be publishing it. Since being with Alexei, I was inspired to write something fresh and new – a story about a young boy who was abused by his dad and finds comfort in a fantasy world. It is there that he finds the strength to be a good person and learns that no matter what happens outside of this special place, he is still strong and good. I was so excited about this new project that I told Alexei. While he hadn’t read any of my stories, he was supportive of my writing.

I remember how quickly the seasons changed. The temperature dropped and the skies grew dark. One day it was summer then the next it was fall. I’ve always loved dark beauty, but summer is amazing when you have someone to spend it with. With news of another lockdown coming, Alexei’s parents didn’t want him having anyone over.

“I’m sure my parents would love to meet you, but they don’t want to risk catching the virus,” he said.

It was understandable.

On a cool weekend in September, we walked down a Lynn Valley trail. It was beautiful, but I could sense the mood changing. I didn’t want to assume the worst, so I kept the mood up as best I could. I don’t know why we can sense something’s about to end before it does – perhaps it’s micro expressions or something else. After our nice nature walk, we went for dinner. When he dropped me off, we kissed in the car for a long time. Taylor Swift’s song, Cardigan, played on the radio. The tune and the lyrics made my heart lurch.

But I knew you

Playing hide and seek and

Giving me your weekends

My love for him collided with my fear of losing him. You’re so vulnerable during the early phase of a relationship. Anything could happen. I tried to hold back my tears, but I couldn’t. Tears streamed down my face as we kissed. Then it was over.

“See you tomorrow?” he asked.

“Yes,” I said, hesitating to say it for a moment because I was so happy he would be there to see me after work.

The next day, I heard nothing from him. I asked how his day was going and I received no response. I kept calm. I knew what would happen if I spammed him with upset messages – he’d probably block me again and it would ruin the connection we’ve built over the last couple of months. I woke up the next morning feeling sick. I was losing him. After work, I walked to the beach. It was evening and cloudy outside, but still warm enough to wear summery clothes. I took the opportunity to take an updated photo of myself on a log (As seen in the photo above) – I wasn’t going to let Alexei ghosting me get in the way of me living my life. I knew he’d get back to me.

I watched the waves lap at the shore. It was the first time I’d been alone at that beach since our amazing summer romance. It wasn’t the same without him. That is the painful part about sharing places with people – if they hurt you or leave, it sours the area for awhile until you can make a new memory there with someone else. Or maybe that’s just me.

As I left the beach, movement appeared in my peripheral vision walking toward me. I turned and gasped. It was him. He reminded me of a lost boy. It had to be a coincidence. I spread my arms and he came to me. Hugging one another, I was surrounded by his warmth again. I kissed his cheek. As always, he tilted his face to make the kiss easier for me. That always made me smile.

“I hadn’t heard from you for a couple of days …” I said.

He looked toward the sea. “I had a really shitty day … my boss was pissed at me so I ran off and came here.”

“I’m so sorry … do you want to sit by the water for awhile?”

We sat by the sea. I wrapped myself tightly around him as he calmly watched the waves come in. He was there, but I already felt it in my heart – I was losing him. At least he’d come just in time so we could remember the beach as being our special place. It would have been so sad if it ended with me sitting alone on the beach after everything we’d experienced. I’m glad we found one another there.

He walked me home and I waited with him in the rain until his dad picked him up. It was hard for me to get over losing him. Every so often he’d message me saying he missed me or loved me, but life was busy for both of us.

I published my thriller novella at the library since I still didn’t have a laptop. I had another story out into the world.

Alexei’s friend messaged me to see if I was okay – it’s nice that he cared. You don’t always hear from an ex’s friend after a break up. I think everyone who saw us together could see how much I loved him. Alexei’s friend always said “Keep busy and move on.” But I was always busy. You can’t work your way through or past grief – it needs to be felt and dealt with directly. It was very difficult to move on from Alexei, because I really believed he would come to his senses and return to me. Every time the reality hit that he wasn’t going to come back, it was like breaking up with him all over again. That new story idea of the little boy overcoming childhood abuse died along with our relationship. I couldn’t bring myself to write it after the breakup. There are some projects you can only create when you are truly loved. I had to write something else.

It was around this time that I started to feel that my writing journey was slowly coming to a close. I’d written so much by this point and loved every minute of it, but the truth is I was growing tired of doing it totally on my own. Writing takes a lot of time and emotional energy – so does dating. All the short term roller coaster relationships I was experiencing were starting to destroy my drive to write. By that point I really wanted someone to share my life with – someone to fly, grow, and adventure with. I was starting to think writing itself was causing guys to be intimidated by me or misunderstand me. I thought I could do both – write and love. Maybe some creative projects naturally come to an end so a new energy can take over your life. There were definitely a few more stories left in me, I knew. And I would write them to the best of my ability.

While I loved living in North Vancouver, I needed a change of scenery with how the relationship ended with Alexei. The breakup and season change was a signal for me to move back to the main city. Autumn had arrived and while I normally loved it, there was a chill in the air I couldn’t appreciate in the same way this time. I did try though.

It was time to leave my little north shore haven and blend back into the cityscape. I moved to downtown Vancouver, happy to have my own apartment again, but the building wasn’t as nice as that first place I got on Main Street. It was still a sore spot for me that I’d given my dream apartment up. It was more than just a great deal – it really felt like home.

What’s cool about this phase of my life is that I’d lived out two more of my dreams.

#1 To live in North Vancouver

#2 To have a relationship with Alexei

Two checks off my dreams list! Oh, and I guess publishing another book counts too!

The photo above is of my favourite trail in Lynn Valley.

I got a new job located in downtown Vancouver where I could work from home. As I worked through my sadness at a love lost, I began a gentle slow morning routine. I would allow myself to slowly wake up, blog, then do a low impact workout before my shift started at 11 AM. It was a lovely routine, especially for that time of my life. With the pandemic coming back with a vengeance, I couldn’t fly home that year. It was a quiet holiday season and I was able to Skype my family – we still sent one another gifts.

Around this time, I would get a lot of messages through Instagram since I was posting more selfies/fit pics. I’d tell every guy about my ex and how I still loved him, hoping that one of those accounts might have been him or one of his friends testing me. I really believed that if I held on long enough, he’d be touched by my devotion and see how much he lost. A common theme I’d hear from the guys online were “Leave the place that hurt you” or even ‘Be careful when you’re in the forest alone.” It was ominous. Instead of giving in, I deliberately took a walk in a forest soon after, determined to reaffirm how much I loved Vancouver and to show that it’s my home as much as anyone’s.

“This is my home,” I said out loud.

I belonged there and I was not going to leave my dream city because one recent relationship failed. I loved North Vancouver long before I ever met Alexei. While he gave me a wonderful summer, I’d already felt the magic of the area on my own.

I was listening to a lot of Rezz at this time. The vibe of her tracks went along so well with all the moods and feelings I had this year. Her sound goes well with night walks/night commutes.

In 2021, I made the plunge to finally live out my dream in Gastown. I found an affordable apartment room there and I was on a new high having a much nicer apartment than the previous place and living right in the heart of the historical area. There was a lamp just outside my window. I almost couldn’t believe I was there! There were cafés and pubs for days. I was right there. Another dream achieved. ❤️

Following your dreams isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. You may fall for people who lead you on, people leave, a job can end, life throws you curve balls, but at the core you’ll always have this sense of peace and freedom if you go for your dreams. Even when you play it safe, bad things can happen, so you might as well do what you want to do.


“And I feel brand new.



  1. What a beautiful blog, Sara. My heart broke for you when you and Alexei broke up. It was interesting that you felt it before it happened. It shows how much of an empath you are and how observant you are, too. It is strange how visiting a place with a special person ties that person to that place and there is a period of grieving them – and the place – that has to come before you can ever go there without them again. I so get that. It’s evident in your writing how deeply you care for Alexei. I hope your heart is able to heal. Your story about the boy choosing goodness over damaging behaviours really touched my heart. I hope to read it one day. Sending you lots of love xx

    • Thank you. I have healed. It’s a part of my story out west so it was worth writing about.
      As I mentioned, that story died and my writing journey has been completed with this memoir. 🙂
      I appreciate your kind words and reading. ❤️

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