I would like to tell you a story of love, friendship, and roommates. Of course, the part of the story I actually care about right now is the end. Or the beginning. Break-ups are funny in that they are truly both. Start and finish all wrapped up together. But enough of the philosophical nonsense. Here I present to the two people who will ever see this the story of how I came to live with my ex, and hopefully, I’ll be able to write up how it all works out. Maybe the two people who read this can learn something from the mistakes I have made and certainly will make later. Here then is the only marginally dramatized version of events that I took down while sobbing onto my keyboard almost exactly one year to the day of moving in with my (now ex) boyfriend:
Buckets of ice water drown an imaginary future in front of my eyes. Words full of pin-pricking shards rain on my happy memories and hopeful plans. So why are my eyes dry while he is wracked with sobs? Wasn’t I the one wronged in this situation?
“I didn’t want to hurt you,” he gasps between tears, “I didn’t want you to be upset.”
“Well that was unavoidable,” I say as I rub small circles on his back. A reassuring habit I picked up over the past two years living together in seemingly perfect harmony. Mon âme soeur. My soul mate. What a load of crap.
“I know, and I’m so sorry,” he continues.
“It’s fine, really,” I mutter. I am starting to get annoyed. He is the one who sat on our bed looking like a lost puppy when I came home from work. The one who said he had been thinking for some time and, well, it just wasn’t there for him anymore. The love was gone.
I feel trapped in the sad beginning of what I can only hope will be a happily-ever-after rom-com. Unfortunately, I am only at the beginning of the story, and right now, my heart is confetti, which he keeps snipping into tinier pieces as he cries. He just wants a change. He needs something new.
“Is there someone else?” I mumbled the requisite cliché questions while trying not to choke on the ball of stress in my throat.
“No, nothing like that,” he says. And then, I kid you not, “It’s not you; it’s me.”
Can we please just end this scene now? I think I need to go back to my trailer and down a few martinis before we continue this script. But no, the drama continues.
“I need some air,” I announce. I grab my pack of e-cigs off the dresser and head for the door. My tattered heart hopes he follows me, but my aching brain begs a reprieve. Instead of staying outside, I cross the apartment walkway to our neighbor’s place. Sean is more my (now ex) boyfriend’s friend than mine, but we used to do lots of fun couple things together before his fiancée left him last week. Something in me screams that they are the cause of all this, but I know it’s really just because Brad is a selfish prick.
Thus far, Brad’s hysterics have helped me remain collected, but as soon as Sean opens the door, I feel the tears start to escape my lashes. He doesn’t even have to ask because, as Brad revealed somewhere in the cliché nonsense, he’s been talking to literally everyone we know about this issue for the past month rather than working things out with me. And not one of these bastards bothered to mention it.
“I figured you of all people would know what I’m going through right now,” I sputter as he settles me on the couch with a box of tissues and a pillow to cling to. His arm slides around me for a quick awkward side hug before rising to rest on the couch behind me. The engagement photos are still in the wall frame by the front door and his ex’s collection of Doctor Who memorabilia is scattered around the living and dining room areas. It’s been a week since she went to stay with a friend, but all her crap is still here.
“Oh, I do,” he replies, pulling out several tissues. “I should take out stock in these things the way relationships seem to be going downhill left and right these days.”
“Is it alright if I crash here tonight? Brad offered to let me have the bed to myself, but I’ve spent the last two nights alone there while he was in North Dakota, so I’d rather not do another night there after all this bullshit.”
“Of course, just let me check with Noel, since it’s technically her bed in the spare room. I don’t think she’ll care, but just to be respectful.”
“Thanks, I feel like he should have to go to our bed alone tonight. Maybe it’ll make him realize he’s being an idiot.” More tears follow this. I already know that nothing of the sort is going to happen.
“So what are you guys going to do about the living situation?”
“I have no idea. I tried to ask him that, but he just kept saying how he never wanted to hurt me.” I am beginning to collect a mountain of used tissues. “I think I’m mostly angry because he’s once again making it all about him. Selfish bastard.”
“Yeah, I mean, Brad’s a good guy, but he has some major faults. I told him this was a bad idea; you guys had such a good thing going.”
“I know!” I have a sob spasm as happy memories hit me. “I just don’t understand. It was so sudden. I mean, I’m sure as I look back on it, I’ll see the signs and feel really dumb, but right now…How did this happen? He couldn’t even give me a good answer for why he’s doing this.”
I prattle on in this vein with frequent interruptions from Sean comparing his situation to mine. They are embarrassingly similar. I become more and more convinced that his break up somehow caused mine. Eventually, I calm down enough that we can mindlessly watch Netflix while only sporadically discussing our relationship woes. Sean goes to bed, but I know I won’t be sleeping for a while. More Netflix it is then.
My eyes become so heavy that I think I might get some sleep after all, but instead the darkened ceiling becomes intriguing as I mull over the situation. If this is really happening. If he really has decided to give up on us. If I have to move on. So many ifs are swirling through my mushed mind, but one thought emerges before I succumb to fitful oblivion: I don’t have to sacrifice my dreams anymore. I can leave the state after graduation next May.
This is a peaceful thought; it is a tiny ray of light in this bullshit parade. But to do it, I need to save money as I have been for the past year with really low bills. And the only way to do that, is to live with my ex.