You came. We talked. And you left.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Simplifying things. Let me start with what happened before you got here.
When I woke up this morning, I was a nervous mess. I hadn’t gotten much sleep last night, what with worrying over how today was going to go, trying to put together everything I wanted to say to you, every question that I wanted an answer to. Trying to figure out what exactly I wanted from you in the first place. It’s not easy — going a month without speaking to you and now having one last chance to say everything that I need to.
I woke up early. I needed plenty of time to prepare for your arrival. I’d pulled your stuff together the night before. I didn’t have anything consequential. A t-shirt and a pair of athletic shorts. Stuff I’d borrowed when I’d been at your place. Things I’m sure you wouldn’t miss. But then I didn’t want them at my place either. Reminders of you and what had been. What no longer was. If you didn’t take them I’d just as soon throw them out. I now had them sitting over on my chaise lounge, folded neatly and ready for you.
Part of the reason I’d woken up early was because I wanted to go for a run before you came. I put on a pair of shorts and a shirt, laced up my shoes and hit the streets. I’ve been running a lot lately. Heading the mile it takes to get to Central Park and then running around the big 6-mile loop there, or the reservoir if I want a shorter run. It’s been super cathartic for me. A place where I can be on my own. Where I can think and sort through things.
I had plenty of last minute things to sort through before your visit. And I also wanted to look as thin as possible. If this was going to be the last time you saw me, I wanted to leave a very lasting impression.
When I finished up my run I came back home and hopped in the shower. Marjorie was awake, and I stopped in her room to have a quick chat. I needed some advice on what to wear.
You see, it’s tricky, deciding what I’d look best in. What was going to make you regret breaking up with me the most? And what was temperature appropriate? Yes, I’d look great in a tank top and short-shorts…but that wasn’t exactly practical. However, I did really want to show off my legs. They’re probably my best asset, especially now that I’ve been running again. I’ve got thick thighs, which used to really bother me, until I realized that that just meant they were nice and strong. Sexy.
Marjorie was super helpful, though. We discussed and decided to go for a late-summer/fall boating look. Shorts and a sweater. I was pleased with the decision, and bolstered by her affirmation. We talked some more and she asked me how I was feeling. If I knew what I wanted to say to you. She was almost more excited for your visit than I was. She’d never met you, moving in right after you had broken up with me. But she’d heard all about you and wanted to see just exactly what this ex-boyfriend of mine was all about. She asked me when you were scheduled to come over, and then promised to be sitting up in the living room watching TV when you got here. That way she could get her glimpse without being too awkward about it. I told her not to worry. I’d make sure she didn’t miss you. I wanted to get her opinion of you, even if it was only going to be based on a ten second encounter.
After all this, I went into my room and finished getting ready. I had my phone at my side the whole time, waiting for your text to let me know you were on the way.
We’d scheduled to meet around one, but you were running a little late. I hung out with Marjorie upstairs and waited, my attention partially paid to the TV but really focused on the window. My apartment is on the first floor, the one right on the street, so I knew that I’d see you walk by before you rang the buzzer — this three seconds of extra time important to me in preparing to let you in.
Then I saw you. I hadn’t seen you in a month, but I still recognized your gait, knew your back as you walked by. A few beats later, our buzzer rang. I jumped up from the couch, trying to calm myself as I halted at the door. Marjorie gave an excited little wiggle and then motioned for me to calm down. Pausing to pull myself together, I went to let you in.
Seeing you again…it took my breath away. There you were at my door, looking like your normal, attractive self. Not like the straight-from-the-gym, t-shirt and athletic shorts, backwards baseball cap person you had been on the night you’d broken up with me. You stood tall there in my doorway, your hair pulled up and back in your signature coif, removing your designer sunglasses as you readjusted the bulky bag you’d brought with you. I knew all my stuff was in there, so much that it took a gym bag to carry it all. I was reminded of just how much time we had spent at your place.
I let you in, still breathless, hoping that I looked just as good to you as you did to me. My stomach roiled with nerves, my fingers shaking as I opened the door to my apartment and let you in. I quickly introduced you to Marjorie. You all said your polite hellos.
The original plan had been to drop my stuff and then go get a quick coffee somewhere nearby where we could talk for a little bit. You quickly nixed this, though, saying that our conversation shouldn’t take very long.
My heart fell at this. I was imagining a longer talk. We’d been together for a year and a half. Surely it’d take more that ten or fifteen minutes to divorce our relationship. Apparently not.
It was probably for the best anyways. The coffee shop pickings were slim in my neighborhood. The Upper Upper East Side/East Harlem doesn’t really support the caffeine addiction like the rest of Manhattan. It was at least a ten-minute walk to the nearest Starbucks. It was also probably better to have this conversation in the private of my room, just for embarrassment’s sake. This way if I broke down in tears, it’d be only you seeing it and not a shop full of over-caffeinated strangers.
I led you downstairs and we settled on my new chaise lounge, each of us taking up one end as we prepared to finally have our talk.