I guess it was civil as these things go.
In fact, looking back on it, I just feel like kind of a pussy.
I got her tissues, I even felt bad when in the first few minutes of it while she was crying I didn’t get her tissues, I felt guilty for that.
I hugged her eventually, comforted her.
I told her I loved her for who she was, not the hole in my life she filled.
Saying all these things, you’d think I had been the one dumping and not the dump-ee.
But then, there you go.
“You can resent me.” She suggested, trying to give me some license to feel, well, whatever it was she had expected that I was supposed to feel. “It’s ok.”
“No, it’s fine.” I told her. “They’ll be plenty of time for that when you’re not here.”
In retrospect, I guess, I should have seen the signs. Isn’t that what people say? “I should have seen the signs.”
I guess I saw this coming, or at least I thought about it.
For weeks, she had been elusive and I had been texting her, calling her, feeling rejected/dejected when she didn’t answer back.
I would make excuses for it, for her, to my friends tell them:
“She’s busy with schoolwork, it takes her a while.”
“Oh well, I work nights and she goes to school in the day.”
“She’s bad with her phone, I know.”
It didn’t help that I am a needy person, insecure of my own value, needing reassurance that she still loved me.
On our second or third week of being together, I asked her, lying in bed:
“Are you sure you’re not going to just wake up tomorrow and think ‘ohshit whatamidoing here with this loser?”
She would laugh and ask me the same thing.
Then when she was giving me her post-mortem, her break-up speech, she told me I’d be a “big part” of her life.
I told her she was the first person who made me feel like I could love them and then they wouldn’t just get tired of me after a little while.
She told me she felt the same.
Should I have seen it coming?
It’s true she had tried to break-up with me a few months ago, before she started school.
She’d told me she was still in love with me, she told me she needed space, she told me that she didn’t know if she would have time anymore in her life for me. That school was important to her and she couldn’t afford to “fuck it up”.
I talked her down then and she even told me later that I “did a very good job of assuaging [her] fears”.
I told her that she hadn’t started school yet and she didn’t know how it would be. I told her if we still loved each other we could make it work. I told her that her schooling, the first time she had classes to look forward to after years of bad school-times, was important to me too and I didn’t want to stop her.
What I told her we should do is talk about it. Is wait and see. Is try to adjust.
There was another part too.
She was my first girlfriend, but I was her first boyfriend. She felt young, in college and though she made token assurances to my manhood, she wanted to see what else was out there, she wanted experience.
I told her that these things end sometimes, that they tend to end on their own. That this was not something that had to be “made to happen”.
I guess the line worked.
She told me: “I don’t want to give this up” and we fell to each other and we stayed.
When she came in this time, she sat down and said it almost giddily, like something she’d been trying to get out for a while, like a burden off.
When I talked to her, she admitted it had been something she had been trying to say for days.
When she hadn’t come to Thanksgiving, was I in denial when she told me she was going to a friend’s house? When I explained that to everyone, family/friends, didn’t it sound to myself like something of only a half-truth?
She told me “I don’t feel good when I’m with you”, she told me she couldn’t communicate.
Talking. We had talked about “talking” from the beginning of the relationship where I told her we should talk, that I would talk to her, even if it was sad, because I loved her, I loved this and I didn’t want to fuck this up.
But I guess we wouldn’t talk as much, at least near the end there. There wasn’t room.
As she went back to school and I would see her less and less frequently, our meetings were mostly romance and talking about small (read: my) problems. Even when I went out to visit her at school, she consoled about my feelings about the movie theater.
And then there was my attitude, my “need” for her. When I would see her, I was so ecstatic, I would want to constantly be kissing, like a pigeon pecking at her cheek. I needed that affection, anywhere. Partly, because I didn’t see her so much, but partly because I wanted to know she wasn’t ashamed of me, that she could feel like she could kiss me, I wanted to feel anointed, loved.
She didn’t like staying over in my house, in my small twin-bed I refused to get rid of, so our time was abridged by that as well.
To describe my feeling toward her and the happiness she brought in to my life, I would give an analogy to my friends and my therapist:
“On a film set, the illusion of sunlight can be created by lighting. Shadows can be cast and sculpted, Powerful lights called HMIs can replicate sun color temperature and get you the look. But behind the camera, if you pan right or left from the shot you’ve set up, it’s not hard to notice, there’s no sun. That’s how I feel when she’s not around me.”
Trite to call your love the sun (and overused) but then there you are, I speak the language I know.
But going with that analogy, maybe I was blind when I was with her, to how she felt, what she was feeling. Blinded by that feeling of love and acceptance and attraction. Blind, or unwilling to see.
For as much as I’m making it, it wasn’t long.
She came to my house, I was lying in bed, we cried and then both walked out.
I even asked her, my second or third question after her pronouncement, “I guess the reasons are the same?”
“Yes.” She replied.
There wasn’t as much back and forth.
There was a moment when I took umbrage at her saying “I enjoyed the relationship”, because it felt like she was so divorced from it, so over it, when then, here I was.
“I just want to let you know,” I told her. “You’re not just doing this to the relationship, you’re doing this to me. You’re hurting me. And here I am, with all this and I don’t know what to do.”
“What about me?” She asked, but I was done right then with commiseration.
We shared a cold brief kiss when she walked me to my lunch spot and then walked away without looking back.
I guess the “resenting” started then.
To say all of this isn’t fair to her. It isn’t giving her due.
She told me she loved me, that I had been very good to her, that she thought I had a lot going on in my life, that I should be with friends.
She told me that it was her and not me (I’ve heard that, I thought) and that because of her depression is what hard for her to be with people.
“Don’t talk like you’re damaged.” I shot back. “I loved you for who you were, the whole person. I loved you including everything. I love you despite nothing.”
Love/loved, those words seemed so weirdly fraught in how I was using them interchangeably just then. Was I trying to protect myself? What was I feeling?
She told me she needed space and so I let her go, I guess, though I didn’t have any choice in the matter.
I guess we just were who we were and that’s it.
In the aftermath, I thought about who I’d become.
I thought about friends who pick up a new relationship every few months, about friends who are still spinning or stung from relationships, stunted, burnt-out, or unable to act.
I thought about, crassly, who I could fuck, who I could find, who had hit on me, who seemed to “like me”, who I could throw myself at on to whom I might stick.
I watched “Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs” and that helped, till I woke up the next day and realized the love interest in that movie reminded me of her.
I consulted my friends.
Andy told me to smoke, but all that would do would make me feel better for an hour-or-two and then just crash back to reality. Rob called, eventually, to just tell me I’d feel like shit. Najia talked to me for a while on G-Chat and at least could commiserate. My mom brought me two cookies and I ate about half of one, before I went to work.
At work I got chewed out for some b.s. that hadn’t happened earlier and though I felt a short fuse the whole night, nothing ever happened. My co-workers could see it on my face though and they all came and talked to me and I told them or didn’t.
I went out for lunch this morning at my parent’s request to Indian place, their attempt to cheer me up, though the topic at hand was left undiscussed.
They got me a winter coat from a place called Tent+Trails and we all walked to the E train.
My parents tried to get on closer to Park Place, but I just kept assuring them I knew where to go. I’d been here before.
Why, I didn’t say.
How I feel now, I guess is some kind of numb, though numbness doesn’t describe it and neither does diassociation.
I guess I just feel like the world around me is sadder, like I just had something removed from me and I could still feel it, phantom there.
And what I think about, what I think about the most?
I think about how I used to send her pictures of bunnies that I found on websites or around the street, because she liked bunnies and called me one too.
I’d send her funny pictures of David Wain holding bananas, or signs for banana pancakes stuck on the street, or a pile of them sitting at Starbucks, because I was once “the banana-est”.
The other day I sent her a cartoon from the New Yorker of a giraffe with a treehouse over it’s head and titled the email: “Birthday Ideas”.
I guess what I think about, in this ephemeral age is how I want to be at work and feel a buzz or see her face on my phone as she’s calling.
I want her to call me her bunny again.
With that excited tone in her voice.
Like I was her bunny, discovered anew.