“We need to talk.”
That’s how it begins. That’s how it always begins, isn’t it? The gold standard of break up cliché openers.
These four little words send me into an unprecedented daze. I prepare myself for a shit storm: battening down my tear duct hatches, barricading my emotional threshold, taking deep breaths while my head spins.
Is this really happening? NOW?
We sit side by side together, as we have so many times. Not holding hands, not touching, this felt so comfortable and ordinary yesterday. Sitting on this bench alone, silent, I can already feel something come between us. No one passes by, no one sees us. If they did, they’d see a couple having a private moment. But I feel anything but alone. Between us, smooshed like turtles on a log in Central Park, I feel and can almost see anthropomorphic embodiments of Fear, Pain, and Sadness. Simultaneously nebulous and monstrous, with silly looking arms and legs that jut out of their blob-like bodies. There they sit, smashed between Harry and I. Eyes bulging, they stare at us with vapid expression.
They say that love makes you crazy? Yes, yes it does.
Harry opens his mouth and the words begin to fall. Not the shit storm I anticipated, no. Instead, my ears get soaked by a shower of clichés.
“You deserve better.”
“You’re a wonderful woman.”
“I can’t give you what you need.”
“I need to be alone, figure some things out for myself.”
Anger and hurt course through my drenched mind. Pain and Sadness no longer sit between us. The little bastards are scaling the front of my shirt, eagerly looking at my throat, “Can we choke her with our bony fingers?” Everything Harry says reeks of the five little goddamn words. A statement so painfully cliché, no man would dare speak them by wrote: “It’s not you, it’s me.”
It’s Not You, It’s Me: The Mother of All Break Up Clichés
Can a break up ever feel bereft of bullshit? Maybe that’s impossible when love is involved. I can’t help but wonder, why isn’t “You’re just not the girl for me” a break up cliché? WHY? That’s all it ever is, right? Ok, of course it’s more complicated than that. Of course. Still, at the end of the day, when all is said and done, doesn’t it boil down to, “You’re not the right person for me”? Why can’t you just say so?
Are you worried I’ll cry because it’s too harsh? You know that’s bullshit. You know I’m tough. Besides, this wouldn’t make me roll my eyes and gag the way, “You’re a wonderful woman” did.
So what is it?
Is it too final? Are you too cowardly to end things with such conviction? Do you want me to sit here and wonder, “Maybe we’ll get back together someday, after you figure your shit out?”
“If you love something, set it free; if it comes backs it’s yours, if it doesn’t, it never was.” – Richard Bach
I can’t know the answers to these questions. The one thing I can know with absolutely certainty is this: When the man I love- the first man I ever gave my heart to, the first one I ever truly trusted- when this man tells me, “You deserve better than me,” I’d be a fool not to believe him.
Note: None of the photos in this post are mine. Click image for credit.