Foreword: While I typically blog about true accounts of my life, this piece is more fiction than reality. Some situations are drawn from personal experience, but are very loosely based on actual events. Don’t mind me, I’m just easing my way into short story and fiction writing.
“Sometimes love just isn’t enough.”
I can’t say I didn’t see it coming. The late nights wondering what time she’d come home, that same BMW X5 always dropping her off a few doors down, the increasing frequency of plans with her ‘secondary school friends’, and her sudden keeping me at arm’s length. I felt like I ordered a breakup package and that the delivery was due.
I wasn’t entirely sure, but I attributed our downfall to my career change. When I realised I didn’t want to work weekends and public holidays anymore, I went back to school and got an education. That meant starting from scratch once I graduated. That also meant having a junior’s wage at a manager’s age. That’s when she started slipping away. It couldn’t have been a coincidence. At least that’s what I told myself when I sought comfort.
“I really don’t see a future together,” she said. “I’m not saying I’m breaking up with you. I’m just scared, you know. All my friends are getting married, and you’re just getting started.”
“You gotta give me time, babe. I’ve gotta work my way up. Wait. Don’t tell me it’s about money.”
“It’s not. I’m sorry. I’m just confused. I feel that… you know… sometimes love just isn’t enough.”
I couldn’t find a place to sit down, so I brushed against the wall as my legs gave way into a squat.
“That’s not fair,” I said. “Not fair.”
“I’m sorry. Just give me time to think.”
“Could we at least talk face-to-face?”
“There’s nothing to talk about. I just need some space.”
“But I want to see you…”
The coldness in her voice dug a hollow pit in my chest. In what seemed like a flip of a switch, I’ve turned from somebody who shared an intimate space with her, to a nobody.
I hung up. I just couldn’t stand to hear another apology. It served an adverse purpose in that situation.
I let a week pass between us. During that time, I resorted to exercise and meditation to help ease the symptoms of heartbreak, but found it uncomfortable sitting on marble for twenty minutes at a time. I finally decided that I needed my yoga mat (and a bunch of clothes) back. I picked up the phone and called her.
I tried again half an hour later. Still nothing.
I sent a message: “Hey, you home?”
Before I even put down my phone, her message came in: “No.”
I felt a slight resentment build up inside. Maybe slight was an understatement. My body felt hot and I was gritting my teeth. My fists were clenched and I felt like puking. I never knew I had relinquished so much emotional power over to her.
So she was on her phone but wouldn’t pick up or return my calls. Fine. I was tired of staying in the grey confines of our relationship. I decided that I had to instil some finality into our plight. I would pack all my stuff and leave her house keys on the table. The fact that she wasn’t home made it easier. I didn’t have the strength to see her and not break down anyway. Then, I’d move on. If I was lucky.
It was dark when I arrived at her place. I opened the door and started upstairs to our room. I stumbled on a rag cloth and nearly fell down the stairs. Strange. It was unlike her to be this messy.
As I reached the second floor, I noticed a sliver of light from under the door. It was really weird that she’d leave things around and forget to turn off the lights. I opened the door and walked in.
Now, up to that point in life, there was only one look that I’ve ever felt gutted about. It was the look on my parents face when I said something bad during a row with them. That night, I added another one to the list. The mixture of anger, distance, and guilt when she realised it was me.
“What are you doing here?!”
“I wanted to pack—”
Then I realised the amount of skin showing.
And the other guy in the room.
“—the fuck. You kn—you know what? Fuck you!”
I stormed out of the room in between her yells and mine.
I hammered the light switch on the way down and fluorescent illuminated what I tripped on earlier. It was his clothes. I kicked the pair of pants out of the way and it flung down across the hall.
“I just knew it! I knew it! Fuck you! Fuck that guy, fuck you!” It’s funny how you lose all lingual faculties when you’re angry, but the obscenities stay perfectly intact. Somehow, I managed to snag my yoga mat on the way out.
I slammed the front door and barely made it to the car before my face was drenched in tears. This was the person I envisioned spending the rest of my life with. This was who I gave my heart to. How naive. As I burned rubber on asphalt, I noticed what I missed before. The BMW was parked across the street in front of an unoccupied house.
I imagined her screaming “We were on a break!” like Ross, and was simultaneously laughing and crying on the way home. I had officially lost my marbles. The night was spent riding waves of discomfort, how someone who’d drank too much and had no choice but to rough it out would.
The next day, I walked into my boss’ office.
“Morning! You okay? What’s wrong with your eyes?”
We spent the next hour talking about my decision, and instead of the usual month’s notice, he agreed to let me go within a week.
When the week ended, I scrounged all my savings, packed my bags, and bought a one way ticket to Phuket, not knowing what the future held. Being alone with my thoughts, I began to accept myself, started to enjoy my own company, and I learned how to smile again. Cue Arcade Fire’sWake Up here.
The universe worked in my favour and I secured a job I loved that paid better upon returning one month later, and I lived happily ever after.
Well… not quite.
A couple of months after that incident, I received a call. I’ve deleted her number, but I remember all my ex’s digits by heart. I’ve tried to blank her out as much as I could, but as I made out the number on my phone, my heart still skipped a couple beats. I took and deep breath and answered.
“Hey… it’s me.”
“Nothing actually… just wondering if you’re free tonight.”
“Nah, I’ve got things to do.”
“Okay… maybe I could pass you back your clothes?”
“You can have them.”
“Maybe we could meet up sometime?”
“Kinda busy with the new job.”
“At least talk to me for a while?”
We exchanged small talk, which meant her asking the questions and me giving two-worded answers. I didn’t want to know anything about her life for fear of reopening an old wound. Well, technically I was still bleeding, but I digress.
“I’ve been thinking… I’ve been a terrible girlfriend. I shouldn’t have said the things I said, did the things I did. Lately, I’ve come to realise that I’ve taken you for granted… that the person I really want to be with is you.”
A wave engulfed my body. Another jolt of the heart.
“Yeah, I’m here.”
“Well yeah… it’s all I wanted to say. I realise that I love you, and I’m sorry. Maybe…” she trailed off. “Maybe we could work things out?”
Hearing that was like having the first cup of water after being lost and found in the Sahara. It took me a second to believe what I just heard. I’ve fantasised about our reconciliation so much that I didn’t know what to do when the opportunity came. As much as I knew that my feelings for her would never go away, I also knew that I needed someone who’d stick with me through thick and thin.
Every fibre of my being tried to stop me, but it was time to rip the band-aid and start living life again. My heart tried to cut off my verbal circuitry, but I managed to overcome the agony of my decision and said:
“I guess sometimes love just isn’t enough.”