We met each other on a blind date. It was disastrous. I flirted at all the wrong moments. I was nervous and my slender body didn’t do any wonders hiding it.
Our second date was on this very date, 10 years ago. I was in a different state of mind. Calmer. Somehow, our opposites lit a spark. A spark that ignited a relationship that would last for 6 years.
She was, and still is, a wonderful woman. No doubt. A heart of gold. And my greed flourished in the 6 or something years we were together. Her smile lid up a room. She was strong and agile. She made me wiser, she made me stronger. She challenged me in a way that was unheard of; sometimes cruel, sometimes revelational. But all in all, a character so strong and so gentle, very few men would be men enough to handle. Alas, she was neurotic as a Freudian nightmare; she was a woman, after all.
After I turned 30, something happened. It wasn’t profound, there was no greater wisdom attached to it, but still… pieces of a complex puzzle, gathered over time, started to shape. It wasn’t entirely finished but there was enough for me to realize a thing or two – about me, about us.
We became so goddam’ stubborn that we couldn’t acknowledge each other.
She was 26-27, at the time. She wanted to get married. Have kids. Maybe even a house with a white-picketed fence somewhere. But I didn’t. Fatherhood? I couldn’t even build the courage to open my mail.
Stubbornness is poison. And two stubborn people can never sing the same chorus in a relationship. Either we would fight about who should be the treble or the bass. In a healthy relationship, one is the bass, one is the treble. And the magic is in the lyrics.
And so, when the parts of the puzzle started to shape when I was 30, I got a sense of who I was—and who she was. Not to mention, the painful fact that the twain could never meet. I looked myself in the eye and found a bundle of flaws, more than I ever dared to admit. I had the choice: should I fix them or live with them? I chose the latter. Why? People don’t get cured—so better deal with what you got.
Then, there was the talk. When both of you know where the final words are heading but you prepare a soft landing. We prepared one. But the landing was on a foundation of wounds and broken dreams.
We sat down by the white table. Opposite one another. Just think, weeks before, we would always sit next to each other, celebrating our company. But as time and change would dictate, we’ve become negotiators – lonesome soldiers who would defend our possessions, in one final attempt to salvage the physical remainders of a union that once was.
You know that odd feeling? When you step outside of yourself, look at yourself, and your moth is uttering words that seem scripted. My conscious mind couldn’t accept the situation – so the autopilot took over. The practicalities took over. Our hearts were hidden behind walls of calculation and pride.
I was seemingly unaffected by all of this. Weeks passed. I waited with dating. My body still remembered her.
I received a text. It was about the furniture. What time she could pick up the couch, television, chairs, etc. We settled a date. I made sure, I wasn’t there. Afterwards, she sent a text, notifying me that she was done.
I came home. The empty apartment, the remains, shuffled all over the place, struck me like a fist. I broke down on my knees. It was over. My mind understood it before, my gut had just faced facts.
Our—now my—apartment turned into a ghost of our union… Our dream. Our happiness. Our fights. Our pride. Our love.
Even though there was no paper to seal “our love,” it was a divorce. We had to negotiate our separation, how to divide the furniture, who should keep the apartment – practicalities intertwined with disappointment and an ache deep in one’s most secret place of all.
To think, I met her on a blind date and years after our eyes would grow weary…
With hindsight, you should focus on one thing, and one thing only: You have not wasted your years, you have not become a woman poorer; you have become a woman richer.