No alarms and no surprises, please.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

So, that's how it ended

I was looking for a bottle opener. She came into the kitchen and hopped up on the counter, looking at me quite intently. This, by itself, was different. We had recently spent an inordinate amount of time purposefully not looking at each other.

"What's up?", I said, opening my beer.

She shook her head.

"You look like you have something to say.", I said. "You're chewing on your lips like you're trying to keep them closed."

She shook her head again. I thought for a moment.

"So what, you finally outta here or something?", I said.

She looked down. Finally, she said, "Would you mind terribly?"

Would I mind? In all the times that I imagined this conversation as we flailed about for the last few years, never had I come up with that particular phrasing. I laughed hysterically.

"Would I mind if we break up?", I asked? She nodded. "No, I guess not.", I replied.

She always made me say things first. Quite rightly, I had to be the one to say I wanted to be more than friends. Later, she worked hard to get me to say "I love you" first. And even now, she was unable to say "It's over" when it clearly was for her. We had oscillated wildly between "trying to make it work" and "fuck this" for the better part of a year. She just couldn't do it. And even after ginning up courage for a few days, "Would you mind terribly" was the best she could muster. I'll always love that. It's so her. As usual, I was able to help her out.

With that, it really was over. There were many more things said after that, but none as ultimately meaningful as "No, I guess not". It placed an end-point on a journey that began for us in October of 1996. It's not exactly where we intended to go when we set out together, but we're finally here.

Today, I am very sad and very relieved.