Saturday, February 3, 2007

File Under: Well, That Was Weird

On NYE morning I broke up with someone. It was painful, but necessary. I hated doing it, but my superstitious self couldn't get on board with the idea of giving him my NY's kiss. I had avoided him all throughout the holidays because I couldn't bear doing it so close to Christmas. I had planned to, about two weeks before, but that Friday night while I was out having a good time and he was sitting at a nearby bar waiting for me (I never called, just to add insult to injury) he got his new (to him) car sideswiped. And then he got sick - really sick. And well, I just couldn't turn his life into a country song.

The following week we'd had a mutual friend in town. I couldn't do it then either. I knew that we'd end up seeing each other under the recently-parted circumstances and I didn't want to make my friend's first visit home in a year awkward. Nor did I want him to have to explain to our friend the awkwardness. Then it was Christmas and it seemed heartless. So, I waited it out.

I know there's never any good time to break up with someone. That no matter when you do it, it sucks. For both parties. It hurt me to hurt him, immensely. I don't know if he believes that, but I guess it doesn't really matter. When the dam finally broke I was relieved by his reaction. I've had all manner of undignified breakups. My first long-term boyfriend (status achieved by on-again, off-again-ness not continuity) threatened suicide the night that I ended our relationship. He had been staying at my house because his apartment had had a fire a few weeks ago. He told me was going to sleep in an alley. Then he came back, over and over - this time for a pillow, this time for his bass, this time for his sleeping bag. When I woke up the next morning I found the ruins of a night spent on my side porch. There was a soggy sleeping bag, a six pack of Mickey's (I should know better than to date people who drink Mickey's, but I was young), and an endless amount of cigarette butts. My neighbor told me that he spent all night out there, playing his bass. It took me months to throw away that stuff.

This guy faded more quietly. He told me he loved me, that we ought to stay together even though we knew in the long run we'd never succeed as a couple. We had different goals and, in my mind, we were simply marking time together. We fought like cats and dogs over what to have for dinner - can you imagine buying a house? Ultimately though I cared for him. I respected him. Enjoyed his company. But those things are never enough when you know that your weaknesses are his weaknesses - those relationships are simply doomed.

Anyway, we'd talked a bit over email. Nothing big and nothing recent when, upon waking up from a brief nap I got a phone call from him. He had a few books of mine and knew that I had a few books of his. He suggested an exchange. He was on my side of town and if I wasn't otherwise occupied he'd stop by. I said sure.

As I walked into the lobby of my building I saw him there, leaning against the mailboxes. When we were together he never came to the front door. When he came to my building he came with all manner of acoutrements. A case of Negro Modelo, an army bag filled with clothes and toiletries, another messenger bag with books and movies and travel Scrabble. He'd park his car in the non-spot near the back door and unload. Because when he came to my house, he came to stay for the weekend. Damned close to a year together and I generally only saw him on the weekends. It was like a long-distance relationship, except he only lived across town. So I thought of that when I saw him, leaning there. We walked up the stairs to my apartment silently. When we got to my floor, unable not to speak (imagine that), I asked him how he was - we exchanged simple pleasantries... like neighbors. We walked into my apartment and I offered to take his coat. He said he wasn't planning on staying. I said, "Oh, uhm, okay." I walked over to my dining room table and grabbed his (uncracked) vegetarian cookbooks - he handed me A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and Evolution Man. He turned to leave directly. Surprised, I protested, "Hey, no how are you doing what are you up to?" He looked uncomfortable but fed my question back to me. "How are you doing, what are you up to?" I told him about the job and school. He seemed impressed. "Wow, usually when people totally turn their life around they don't do it so quickly." I could tell he didn't want to be here. So I asked him, "What about you? What have you been doing?" He smiled weakly, "Oh you know, same old same old."

With that he practically turned on his heel and bruskly walked out. "Gimme a call sometime." he called out over his shoulder. It was strange. The whole thing took maybe 10 minutes - maybe even less. But I was left standing there in my living room, looking around, wondering what had just happened. It was good to see him. But I guess he's still not ready to see me. I told him when we broke up that he was one of those people I didn't want to lose. You always want to keep intelligent, kind, good-hearted people in your life. Maybe next month, huh?


winter said...

Sounds like he's either very immature or just wasn't ready to deal.

Jenn Addenda said...

Probably the latter... I was only the second relationship the guy ever had (which makes me sound like a cradle-robber but he was only two years younger than me) so I guess the whole thing isn't as much "old hat" to him as it is to me. He's not a bad guy he's just... well, kinda perpetually uncomfortable, I think.

Moyna said...

Keep up the good work.