17 Feb 2012

The waiting game

The toughest thing about a breakup is almost always the logistics. That summer vacation you foolishly booked months in advance, the house you moved into together, the city you adopted as home, the friends you kindly shared, the phone bill, the internet connection, the Ikea shoe-rack. These things somehow take precedence over the gaping emotional abyss you're plunging headfirst into because you think the details will dull the drama. And they do, to a certain extent.

When you're still in love with the person you're pushing away, when he's still your best friend and she's still your's, the equation is a little different. When neither of you can think of any rational reason to not be together anymore except "this just isn't working", when there's no definitive rhythm or reason to the pain you're inviting in, you tend to act in fits and starts. You think you can phase it out, instead of cutting loose. You use terms like 'space' and 'break' and 'time', all of which really only mean that neither of you has the courage to leave. 

We played this game for almost half a year, without ever really realizing it. We decided to separate one stormy January night, and somehow put off moving out till summer naughtily reminded us of the life outside our walls. I spent most nights on the couch, half-asleep and half-afraid of the darkness, the cold. Sometimes, we'd drink a little, get along a little and make the disillusioned trip back to what used to be our bedroom. Sometimes, we'd fight and argue and shout, and collapse all tangled up in each other on the couch, on the floor, on the kitchen counter. Doomed couplings, all. 

I'd stare hollowly into her eyes, or cling pleadingly to the past. 
She'd berate me for what was lost, or tell me she was never there. 
I'd push her off midway, or stand up and walk away.
She'd tell me sorry but can we stop? I'd ask her if she was ever there. 
Lies, all.

It was never going to be me who would leave. I can still see us there, in that very same house, years and years later, our tattered robes and disheveled selves, more acquisitions to numb the numbness - a bigger TV, a colder refrigerator, a couple of children conceived in hope, raised in despair. She saw it too. It terrified her, but she had to make sure I'd be alright. So one summer morning, on our way to the station, on our way to board trains that would take us to work and blessed, temporary escape from it all, she said she might visit her parents over the weekend. I said that'd be fine. And it was.            



Workingdan said...

My wife and I recently questioned our marriage. The things that pushed their way to the front of my mind...the financial attachment to each other. The insanely huge car payment, the bills that have both our names on it, the kids. Our incomes and how it would be impossible to go our separate ways.

We stayed together of course but the hard part was setting these things aside and not letting them influence our decision.

In the end...love prevailed, not financial obligations!

icyhighs said...

I'm glad you acknowledge that very real concern though - we seem to get so tied up in a relationship: financially, legally, contractually which are all practical realities of course.

I think there should be a minimum period before couples can sign up for even a joint bank a/c. Why cause any more discomfort than necessary when/if its time to part ways.

The Angry Lurker said...

Time and amount of time is the killer of relationships some times....

icyhighs said...

Time's always the killer, Angry Lurker. They should just teach you to leave instead of talking about the immortality of it all.

red dirt girl said...

Well there's the leaving part ... and there's the letting go part ...

If you're lucky, you will have done the letting go part first, which makes the leaving part fairly easy ... for the leaver. The leavee, on the otherhand, gets sideswiped by the leaving AND endlessly stuck in the letting go part ...

I would love to be your fairy godmother, twirl my magic wand and make all the broken parts whole again for you, Icy ... but I'm no fairy and I have no magic. And whilst I appreciate and applaud Workingdan's prevailing love, I must acknowledge that there are times when love fails us miserably.

You're not alone.

icy_highs said...

I have a feeling you'd be an ace fairy godmother person. And I'd demand strippers and alcohol non-stop.