The Ex-Chronicles: Part One, the Plan

The continuing (mildly) dramatic representation of my living situation. In real time, it has been a week since the split, but I want to present things as close to the way they happened as possible. Once the dust has settled, a day-by-day recount shouldn’t be necessary, but while things are still in upheaval, it seems somehow right to take it all down. Of course, some things have been omitted for the sake of others, but ultimately, this is what has happened and is happening.

I doze off for maybe two hours before I give up and head back to my own apartment. I expect Brad to be asleep, but instead he is getting ready for work. I crawl into bed and bury my head under the covers willing the throbbing pain in my chest to go away. I can hear him moving around the apartment, and then, he comes into the bedroom and asks if I am ok.

“What do you think?” I ask.

“I’m sorry,” he says. “I just want to check on you.”

“I’ll be fine, Brad. I just need some time.”

He walks to the door, and I say, “Can we talk tonight?”

“Of course.” And he is gone. I wait until I hear the front door close behind him before I break down into sobs. Last night, I cried pretty. There were gentle, intermittent tears wetting my cheeks and turning my eyes slightly red. The only ugliness was the amount of tissues I used. I have heard that everyone is ugly when they cry; I actually get prettier if I do it right. But today, alone in our bedroom, as I will be night after night forever it seems, I cry ugly. My body heaves for air as I shudder and gasp, trying not to scream my anguish. Very few actual tears fall, but my nose becomes instantly congested and I do not have the strength of will to reach for the tissues.

By the time I have calmed down, I have missed my French class. I contemplate forgetting English Lit, too. However, I actually have one friend in that class, and I would like to have someone to talk to. I try my best to look presentable, and I remind myself constantly that crying in public is embarrassing, so I shouldn’t do it.

Of course, following the pattern of my luck lately, she isn’t there. I sit through a lecture on Shakespeare desperately trying to concentrate on that or anything other than my failed relationship. I somehow survive and make it back to the apartment, where Brad is waiting for me on the balcony. My heart races, and I want to punch it for being so sentimental. It wants me to throw myself into his arms and beg him to rethink this awful decision. There’s no way it can be right for either of us, can it?
I move past him silently to put my things in the apartment before joining him in the tall deck chairs. We have sat like this through so many days and nights, sometimes talking, more frequently in our own little worlds, buried in our cell phones. I thought it was comfortable, companionable silence. Now, I’m not so sure.

“What did you want to talk about?” He asks after a few moments.

“What are we going to do about the living situation?”

“Well, I mean, obviously you can stay as long as you need to.”

“You’re kidding right? Of course I can. My name is on the lease. You can’t kick me out anyway.”

“That’s not what I meant,” he says. His sulky look has returned. “I meant I’m not going to force you to leave, and I want you to feel comfortable staying. You didn’t have to leave last night, you know. I could’ve stayed over there.”

“I wanted you to sleep in our bed alone the way I have the last couple of nights.”

He does not reply to this. I hate my pettiness in this moment. I have the higher moral ground, so I should probably try to keep it.

“What are we going to do long-term? The lease is until June.”

“I don’t know.”

“Well, luckily, I came up with a plan last night. I think it’s the only really viable solution that doesn’t screw all three of us over.” It isn’t really until this moment that I remember we actually have an additional roommate. I am pulling my words out of thin air, but it is true that he would also suffer from a change in living order.

“I told him this could be an issue, so he could prepare for it.”

“Right, when you were telling everyone you knew about our problems instead of letting me know there even were problems.” I take a deep breath, trying to bite down on the anger. I don’t want him to know how angry and hurt I am. I want to appear calm, collected, a mature adult providing a mature game plan.

“Look,” I continue, “right now, we have super low bills, and we are all conveniently located for work or school. I cannot find this good of a deal anywhere else. I graduate in eight months. Our lease is up in nine. Can you deal with living with me for that long so I can do what I always wanted to do before you got in the way?”

“I think so,” he says slowly. “So you do still want to be friends? I thought you would hate me.”

“Of course, I don’t hate you. I love you.” Oh damnit. That wasn’t supposed to come out.

“And I still love you,” he says without skipping a beat. “I don’t know what about my feelings for you changed exactly. But I do still care for you as a friend. It’ll just take us a little time to find out how to be just friends again.”

“Yeah, time,” I mutter. I am not a patient person. However, I reached my immediate goal, establishing that we can most likely live together. I already lost my boyfriend, I shouldn’t have to lose my roommate and best friend, as well.

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