Monday, May 2, 2011
THE BREAKUP: PART TWO
Inquiring minds want to know - what happened? why did he dump you?
It's been too painful to share with you. But seeing how today I saw him on the street and while still totally sucked, I didn't die right there of a broken heart. So I guess I'll live. And I guess I'm moving on. So sharing with you - this ONE AND ONLY time (I hope) - this very painful thing - may help. And is worth a shot.
It was Friday night at 7 o'clock. Finally time for me to get off of work after 5 consecutive 13 hour days in a row. I had started a new project with a new client. I was feeling great about my responsibilities and talent and efforts and results. And I hadn't seen David all week. I couldn't wait to see him. He said he would swing by my office and pick me up. And then we were supposed to go to dinner just the two of us. A romantic dinner at a little Italian place I'd never been to.
Another fact you might not know, is that 3 days later I was supposed to meet his parents for passover dinner. Something you will now know, but David never will, was that I was so nervous yet so excited for this dinner. I thought it meant something. I thought it meant something big. I thought it meant he loved me. I wanted it to mean he loved me. I'd taken off of WORK!!! (unheard of) to go dress shopping at Macy's. I'd tried every dress on they had in the store and bought three. I would decide which one was most appropriate later I had decided and return the other two (or save them for other occasions we might go to together). I had listened to NPR podcast and news stories ALL day long at work for days. His mother is a psychotherapist, his father a teacher. I didn't want to come off like an ignoramus. I wanted to impress them.
Just moments before he was to arrive, I went to the restroom. I brushed and primped my hair. I touched up my makeup. My eyeshadow. My lipstick. My lip gloss. I always wanted to look good for him. I was so happy.
I went down the elevator and out into the lobby. There he was. In one of his many suits. When he looked up he smiled, but in a forced way. I could feel my walk pick up a little quicker, almost in a half skip as I moved towards him and planted a firm kiss on his lips. I guess in hindsight, it wasn't really returned and had been all my doing but I hadn't noticed. "How are you?" he'd asked. "I'm great," I said. "The new job is going great! It's so good to see you. How are you?" "I'm okay" he replied. "Just okay?" I asked concerned thinking it was a work thing or a family thing that was bothering him. "We'll talk about it," he said as we turned up the street towards Dupont Circle.
"Why are you just okay?" I asked again. "We'll talk about it" he said again. "You're worrying me..." I said in response. But he gave no further answer. We walked several blocks and I felt sick in my stomach. I knew. I just knew.
"Do you wanna break up?" I asked him. "Yes," he nodded. "Shit," I said. We kept walking a little ways. "Okay," I said. "That's it?" He said back. "Well, what can I say?" I said panicked, the tears starting to well up choking in my throat. "I can't make you be with me if you don't want to be with me." He nodded again.
I suddenly felt overwhelmed and lightheaded. We sat down on a rock wall surrounding a park filled with a happy family of father and children playing baseball.
"Why did you ask me to meet your parents," I almost shrieked. "That was before..." he answered. "That was cruel," I said back. "There is nothing about this, that isn't cruel," he replied. "This is hard on me too you know." "This isn't hard on you," I said meanly. "It isn't hard on you at all."
"It just isn't right," he explained poorly. "I don't know what's wrong. But I haven't been able to sleep lately. I've been thinking about it for some time. It's just not right."
"I don't understand," I started to cry. "I feel liked I learned nothing from this relationship. I don't know how we went from those great dates at Firefly and Oya and Dplan to where we ended up. I don't know why we don't 'fit.' This isn't what I want. I like you. I like being with you. I want to be with you. We seem to have so much in common. Why is it so hard to just spend time together and be happy? Why didn't you get off a long day of work, want to see my smiling face, call me up saying 'coming over?' - go home with me, cook dinner, watch tv or read and go to bed. Any day, every week, all the time? Of course our relationship wasn't working. Bc it wasn't a relationship at all. We never DID anything together. Why didn't you want to do things with me or spend time with me and just relax with me if you liked me as much as you said you did? I just don't understand. I don't. I tried so hard. I tried to be nice and flexible and give you space. I feel like you never let me in or tried at all. And I don't know why. And that's so hard."
He paused for a long time. Then he tried to rub my back with his hand and I pulled away from him.
"I don't have any answers, just shared hurt. And confidence that this is the right decision. I feel good about the time we had together. I think you are truly excellent; smart and beautiful, kind and generous. I wish you the best in all things. I did and do care for you. The answer you are looking for is an intangible. i don't know why it didn't work and I really wish that it had but it didn't feel right to me and when I realized that it wasn't just stress or scheduling or anything either of us could change I thought that the best thing would be to recognize that and end it. I'm sorry. I wasn't trying to use you, I was hoping to fall in love with you. I didn't and it sucks and I don't know what else to say."
OUCH. A punch to the gut. Are there any words ever said ever before by anyone, anywhere that ever hurt as much? "I was hoping to fall in love with you. I didn't."
What else was there to say? I made him give me $20 for cab fare. I was in no shape to take public transit home. I was sure to cry in public adding insult to injury. I made him wait for me to find a cab. "You were lucky to have me as long as you did," I spurted out sharp and angry. "You were lucky to have me at all." "I feel that way," he said.
"Don't call me. Don't email me. Don't invite me to stuff. Tell your friends not to invite me to stuff. If you see me on the street, pretend you don't know me."
"It doesn't have to be that way," he said. He genuinely looked hurt. Hah. As if. "Yes, it does," I replied without hesitation defensive and in pain. "Promise me." "Promise me this is it. I know myself and I want nothing to do with you. I wish you a good life I guess. Have a nice life." "I'll wish you the same then," he said back to me.
He hailed a cab and it pulled beside us. He opened the door. "Goodbye David," I said. "Goodbye," he said. I got in the cab and the door shut behind me. As it pulled away I looked over at him walking along the sidewalk away from me. He looked at me too. For a moment. He did look sad and defeated.
I held it together in the cab. I walked into my dark and empty house at 8pm on a Friday night like a zombie. I went upstairs and calmly put my pajamas on. I went back downstairs, opened a bottle of wine. I put something on the tv. I ordered a pizza. But when it came I took one look at it and felt nauseous. I couldn't take even one bite. So I just sat there, in the dark, drinking wine, crying and sobbing, and dying a little inside, until I fell asleep. I didn't leave the couch for almost 48 hours. Except to use the restroom. I sat in the darkness. I drank wine and liquor and beer. I didn't eat. I was empty. And I was alone. Yet, again. And all I could hear, over and over again, ringing in my ears like a curse -
"I hoped to fall in love with you. But I didn't. I don't know what else to say."
And I was left to ponder, what it was, that made me so willing to love others, yet so impossible to be loved in return.
I have never doubted why they call it heart ache. Because if you've known it, then you also know - your heart - actually aches. So much so, that you think you should die instantly from its infliction, but you don't. And minutes keep ticking. And suns keep rising. And people keep laughing. While you must watch and see and feel. When all you feel is despair.