You broke up with me tonight.
I still can’t believe it. Out of the blue. No communication. No previous “I’m not happy.” Absolutely nothing. We hung out for THREE hours before you did it. A nice Italian dinner in the Flat Iron District, a trip to Eataly for dessert. You even paid for the pastries. Mine was chocolate three ways. Yours had coffee in it. Both were delicious. And then we sat and ate them in Madison Square Park in the middle of the night, the line for Shake Shack snaking back almost up to where we sat. We were going to get shakes at first, but the line was too long. We finished up and talked for ten more minutes. And then you broke up with me.
You didn’t even have a reason. You “weren’t as happy now as you were in the beginning.” You “wished it was something specific, but it wasn’t.”
What was I supposed to say?
What was I supposed to do?
I was blindsided. I felt like an idiot, a fool. At dinner I’d yammered on about the Fantasy Football draft party we were supposed to have tomorrow. Everyone was going to Aaron and Ben’s. I outlined a complicated plan to drop my stuff at your place before heading down to theirs and then to have you take my computer back up to your place with you after because I was supposed to meet up with my friends later that night downtown. And then I was going to circle back to your place, drunk, at the end of the night and we were going to have sex. There are so many bus and train rides in that plan that it’s almost a relief I don’t have to execute it.
I even called you out when you said that you and your best friend Tyler would probably live together in a year because I (incorrectly, it would seem) thought that we were going to live together in a year. That’s what couples do after a year and a half together. They plan to get a place the next time their leases are up. We had talked about it. You had even picked out a bed frame for us – a nice wooden one with bookshelves built in on the ground, perfect for me.
I guess we weren’t meant for that bed after all.
I couldn’t say anything at the time. I had no words. I hadn’t even thought about what I would say, which with most other guys I would have. I have a runaway imagination when it comes to fabricated conversations. I keep a constant dialogue going in my head where I talk through every possible scenario my life could possibly take. It helps pass the time. Don’t get me started on all the variations my coming-out speech to my parents took. Tears. Laughter. Hugs. Fists. Screams. Happiness. Acceptance.
But with you, I had never thought about an end. I hadn’t had those pretend conversations in my head. I was speechless (which you know is a condition that never afflicts me).
Then you said “I know we have things to untangle, but we can start with this.” You handed me the copy of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay I had loaned you.
(That’s one of the reasons I loved you so much, just so you know. You read. And took all of my recommendations to heart and actually finished them. Remember The Art of Fielding? Cloud Atlas? The Mysteries of Pittsburgh? Wonder Boys? A Thousand Acres? You read all of them. And liked most of them. Almost as much as I did. You were the first boy that ever read for me. And it meant the world to me.)
“Things to untangle” meant the stuff that I still had at your apartment. The stuff I had left there when my apartment flooded during Hurricane Sandy and you so kindly put me up for five weeks while they repaired it. I felt terrible, mooching off of you and your roommates for five months. It was only supposed to be a couple of weeks. But you know how management companies lie. I even offered to crash on other friends’ couches if you were getting tired of me. But you weren’t. And so I brought over some stuff. Mixing bowls, a hand-mixer, cake pans, running shoes. (Domestic stuff, mostly, because you know how much I love to bake.) I also had left behind some gifts you brought me from your vacations. An empty chocolates tin from Germany that I kept old recipes in, a shot glass you brought me back from Germany, another empty chocolate box you picked up for me in Amsterdam. So many great gifts. Luckily, I’d already taken the Irish whiskey home with me. I plan on drinking it all tomorrow night.
And then that was it. Our break-up was over. It took just ten minutes for you to get it out. And me, speechless, took up even less of your time. You headed home and I headed – I didn’t quite know where. In the opposite direction. You said to me “don’t do anything reckless.” And I replied “You know me. I won’t.”