This was originally posted on March 8, 2006. I wanted this buried. And this was an appropriate place, I thought.
RIP, old relationship
I guess, now, I don't have to look out for you when I stop at the Turkey Hill. I don't have to worry about running into you when I visit one of the three restaurants in this town. I don't have to check the faces in passing cars to be sure that none of them belong to you. I don't have to wonder if your house has sold, if you're still in town, if you're just around any given corner.
That chapter of my life is now effectively closed.
It's sort of strange because, now, I know that I will never see you again. Never. They say, never say never, but I'm saying it now. I don't fancy myself running into you in Texas or Florida or any of the Southern states that you love so much, and you've no reason to come back here. And now that I can't run into you during an innocent purchase of gas or cigarettes, I think it's safe to say never.
Your presence here was like a little time bomb that I wasn't sure was wired for explosion. Running into you could be casual or devastating. It could be cold and strained, like the one time I saw you, in line with a gallon of milk in your shaky hand, where we talked for a few moments like acquaintances, not lovers of four years. We discussed Christmas and the sale of your house and I seized the first opportunity to put our conversation out of its misery. You were stuck in line; You couldn't leave. The ending was up to me. And that may have been my last conversation with you. Ever.
But I was never quite sure of what would happen if, for some reason, we found ourselves in the same bar, both of out socially, but separately. Would we talk? Would we catch up? Or would we ignore one another, trading dirty looks across a littered bar? Would we tiptoe on the friendship we used to have, or would we smash it all to shreds? I never knew. So I avoided it. I imagine you'd have a few choice words for me, though I was always told that you never spoke badly of me.
When my friends said last night "Guess who we saw Friday night?" I knew to whom they were referring before they even said your name. And when they said "He left town today," I couldn't describe how I felt. It was the end. A long road I'd been crawling down for years just ended. And I was surprised, despite the signs I'd been passing. "Dead End Ahead." It still shocked me. This is it? No more?
You told my friends "I wanted to be friends with her..." or you "tried," or you "hoped." I don't know the exact words. Maybe you had wanted to remain friendly. I don't know. I remember you saying to me once, "I'll never not know you. You'll be in my life forever," after we'd broken up, but before I'd accept it. And I used that as comfort, that you'd never be gone completely. But things changed: I met the most amazing man, and you disappeared from even my peripheral vision. And not only are you out of my life, but I have no idea who you are now. I suppose it's better this way. A definite break, a clean one, nothing to fiddle with and have to keep resetting. Over. Gone. Done.
The strange thing for me is how happy I am now, and yet it still throws me off balance to find that you're gone. I feel like I did a few years ago when I went and saw my best friend from high school, how things hand changed so much. I realized that we weren't the same people we were in our teens. And that our friendship was finished. It had lived out its life, and no matter how hard I tried to breathe air into it, with phone calls, emails, and letter, it was dead. It hurt, but only because its ending was ambiguous and undefined, and, because of that, I have a problem letting it go. No matter how much has changed, I want to keep things tidy and similar. Whatever I end in my life should be packed neatly, taped closed and tied with a tight bow. For easy storage, for easy disposal. And there's nothing tidy or similar about you and me. Everything about the sudden silence between us was murky. So, somehow, I suppose, I liked the idea of running into you again, of our last conversation - ever, in our lives - to be about more than "So, have you finished shopping for Christmas yet?"
I guess it would've been nice to have a chance to say goodbye.