“You and I are like oil and water and we’ve been trying, trying, trying, oh, to mix it up.”
He’s singing to me on the phone again. We talk everyday and I call him a friend, but I know it feels like more. We get so close and I’m terrified. I look for an escape, any escape, and I find one. A new boy at my first job. We start to date and I assume that will make my feelings go away…
“I’m drinking the ink from my pen and I’m balancing history books up on my head, but it all boils down to one quotable phrase: “If you love something, give it away.”
I check my voicemail and it’s just the sound of someone chewing cereal. I laugh because I know who it is, and my boyfriend demands to know why I’m laughing. I tell him, “Oh, it’s just a friend.” And it hurts my heart to say it. But I did say it. I told him we were better off as friends, I didn’t want to ruin our friendship. So now we never talk. I wonder if I had given it more time, if I had sucked up my fears and gave love a try with a friend how my life would be. Instead I created a void I tried to fill for six years. A curious pit that erupted in my gut when I least expected it.
“There’s one thing I want to say so I’ll be brave. You were what I wanted, I gave what I gave. I’m not sorry I met you, I’m not sorry it’s over, I’m not sorry there’s nothing to say. I’m not sorry, there’s nothing to say.”
It was a year after we broke up, but my boyfriend finally admitted he cheated on me. I knew all along, that was the reason we broke up. He ditched me on Valentine’s Day for another girl and then brought her to the restaurant my sister worked at…smooth. I looked at him and felt nothing. And it was beautiful. I stopped caring about the time I wasted on him, I learned so much from my first real relationship. Yes, I lost a lot to him, but I gained so much too. Sometimes he tries to reach out to me and it makes me smile, because I know I’ll never fall for him again.
“And there’s things I would like to do that you don’t believe in. I would like to build something, but you’ll never see it happen. And there’s this burning, like there’s always been. I’ve never been so alone and I’ve, I’ve never been so alive.”
It’s the first time I’m breaking up with my new boyfriend. It was an accident, really. I was just telling him how unhappy I was and how I didn’t see us going anywhere…I was just speaking and he interrupted, “So…you’re breaking up with me.” And that’s when I realized I was. I dropped him back at home to drive by myself. Emotions were churning and I couldn’t figure out if I was happy or not. Maybe I should have given our relationship more time. I was away at college and long-distance is always hard. I screamed the lyrics, gripping the steering wheel, “I’ve never been so alone, ALONE, and I’ve, and I’ve, never been so ALIVE!” But I didn’t really feel alive, just wrought with pain. It dripped through my pores with cold fingers, pointing out the void I had yet to fill.
“Is that what you call a getaway? Tell me what you got away with. Cause I’ve seen more spine in jellyfish, I’ve seen more guts in eleven-year-old kids.”
My whole body is literally shaking and I can’t tell if it’s anger or fear or just pure heartbreak. I’m staring at my computer and rereading the message over and over again. My brain doesn’t seem to be functioning, there’s no way my boyfriend, who begged to have me back, could invite another girl to hang out naked in his hot tub…. There’s no way the guy who told me his dating profiles were old and he didn’t use them anymore was looking to hook-up with other girls. We have a long conversation and I feel his words like venomous snakes fill my ears with placating pleas. He worms his way into my need for everyone to be truly good. I tell him I’ll give him one more chance, just one more…
“Let’s play this game called “when you catch fire”. I wouldn’t piss to put you out. Stop burning bridges and drive off of them so I can forget about you.”
I’m not ready to have this conversation again. I leave his computer open with a note attached. I feel sicker than usual as a new site has been added to his resume. Forget OKcupid and Match…since he got a new job as a car salesman he’s upgraded to a site where rich men look for hot women…because he’s so wealthy now he still can’t pay my family back for the antique china cabinet he broke. Because he’s so wealthy now he’d rather buy a pair of sunglasses than pay the bills. Because he’s so wealthy now he’d rather have his girlfriend work three jobs to put herself through college while he blames her for not devoting enough time to the relationship. I’m suffocating because we live together and I can’t afford to move out. I have a trip to Ghana soon with my college and I know I can’t leave him until then. I tell him, this is the last time you break my heart. He spouts the same speech, but this time I’m not listening. I’m going to suck it up for two more months. I’m going to sleep in the same bed with my back turned, not touching. I’m going to cry myself to sleep and choke on the tears so he doesn’t wake up. Because I can’t afford to leave. He never hears me cry.
“And after all my alibis desert me, I just wanna get by, don’t want nothing to hurt me, and I had no idea where my head was at, but if my heart says I’m sorry can we leave it at that? Because I just want for all of this to end.”
My sister was supposed to pick me up from the airport back from Ghana. I get a hold of her and she breaks the news that my boyfriend wanted to “surprise” me and pick me up. My heart sinks to my stomach and I bite my lip to stop from crying. I kissed my best friend in Ghana…and it wasn’t my boyfriend. All those times he broke my heart from cheating on me, and I kissed someone else. I kept justifying it, saying I was planning on breaking up with him all along, I just couldn’t do it from across the world. Guilt still reeked from my features and I couldn’t look him in the eye. I told him I just wanted to sleep and we rode in silence. We had to stop at his parent’s house and my heart continued to sink, settling down into a cold pit of despair and regret, only to be poked by his mom’s searing iron, “I love you.” The first time she said it to me. The only time. We got back to my house and he finally asked what was wrong. I paused and then said, “I’ve had a lot of time to think while I was away, and I just don’t want to be with someone who cheats on me.” He refused to listen, saying he never cheated and demanding to know who else was in the picture. I felt awful because I was breaking up with him for cheating, but there was also someone else. I just needed to escape. I just needed to fill this void that was eating my insides for six years, I just needed to find something to stuff in it, to stop my heart from aching and my mind from screaming that something was wrong with me, something I could never fix.
“I’m gonna pick up the pieces and build a Lego house. If things go wrong we can knock it down. My three words have two meanings, but there’s one thing on my mind: it’s all for you.”
After two relationships where I had been cheated on my guard was more than up. I told Kevin we would have to take things slow, I didn’t want to make the same mistakes I kept repeating. He said he understood, he had his own painful past he didn’t want to repeat either. But from day one we were inseparable and it was only a few months before I was spending every night at his house. We moved a street apart, but spent all our time together. After a year and a half we moved in together. And everyday we spent together, every hour he talked to me, every minute he held my hand, every second he took to kiss my lips…I felt that void get filled. I saw the boy who started it all, the one who used to give me butterflies and make my body tingle, and I realized he didn’t do that anymore. And it wasn’t about him, it never was, it was about giving love a chance with my best friend. The hole in my heart was a missed opportunity that I finally seized, and I don’t regret having to wait so long for something this precious.
“I was always late, you never afraid, that we could be falling.
All our friends would say, maybe we should wait, but they can’t see what’s coming.
And to this day, when everything breaks, you are the anchor that holds me.
And that is why we’ll always make it
How I know your face, all the ways you move, you come in, I can read you
You’re my favourite book.
All the things you say, the way you shift your eyes,
I never knew there was someone to make me come alive.
When the days are long, and the thunder with the storm can always get me crying,
You can make my bed, I’ll fall into it, shattered but not lonely.
Because I never knew a home, until I found your hands, and when I’m weathered
You come to me, you’re my best friend.
And that is why we’ll always make it.“