This is the story of what actually happened when my ex and I talked. He is really leaving this time. I’m sorry cohabiting couldn’t work out, and I will miss him. But I have been missing him for two weeks, and it will be easier to forget how in love with him I used to be if he is not constantly around. He needs to work on himself, and so do I. It was a pretty dream; kind of like our relationship.
My heart throbs in my chest all day, and a ball of anxiety forms in my stomach. It is like having a continual flashback to the day Brad broke up with me two weeks ago. I can feel that something monumental is going to happen after I get home from work. He spent the previous night with his family in our hometown so he could think away from our apartment complex. The erratic beat of my heart tells me his decision, but my ever fanciful mind plays through hopeless scenarios of him telling me he loves me after all. I try to squish all thoughts, but it’s like playing whack-a-mole with a tinker toy mallet.
He texts me as I leave work: Will you be home tonight? I need to talk to you.
My heart shudders.
No one is at home when I arrive. I spend the next several hours doing homework, taking the dog for a walk, and reading Shakespeare. I decide to watch the second season of American Horror Story. I’m not sure where the idea comes from, but it turns out to be a terrible idea.
I have lived with PTSD for years now due to childhood abuse. I have mostly learned how to successfully handle it, but my emotions are compromised after two weeks of hopscotching wildly. I have the worst attack in over a year. And now, there is no one nearby to help me handle it. I end up on the balcony, rocking back and forth. That’s how my roommate and Sean find me. They both hug me, and then we all go out for sushi.
Brad comes home from work half an hour after we return. I have been sitting on the balcony again. It was something we always did together, and I am beginning to find a strange solace in doing it alone. He joins me after taking the dog out.
“Work sucked,” he says.
“I figured since it took you so long to get home,” I reply. The word ‘home’ just slips off my tongue though it really isn’t his home anymore. “So what did you want to talk about?”
“I think I’m going to get my own place soon,” he says.
“Yeah, we thought that was going to happen.”
“Really? I thought maybe you guys wouldn’t want to stay here, either. I’m willing to pay any fees for breaking the lease.”
“We both like it here. You’re the one who wants to leave. And I think it’s better for you if you do. You aren’t happy here.”
“You’re right. I’m going to give you guys plenty of notice before I actually leave.”
“Okay, I’ll have to find a new bed, so that’d be good.”
We sit in silence for a while, and then he asks, “Can I have a hug?”
“Of course.” It’s the best hug I’ve had this entire time. So many people have offered their arms or shoulder for me to hang on to, but there is still nothing to compare to the feeling of his body wrapped around mine. And yet, there’s something different. It isn’t the need-filling thing I expected after so long (okay, two weeks) without his warmth. Still, it is somehow more perfect because it is a hug from my best friend. It is a body I know very well, and it is the one hug I have needed for this whole ordeal.
He is still sleeping on couches for now. I don’t know how long it will take him to find a place. But this time, I actually believe we can be just friends. And I hope that he will find what he needs living alone. I still love him, but I don’t need him anymore.