A little after 11 pm Reindeer slides his car next to the fire hydrant in front of my building. He continues chatting and doesn’t appear to be in a hurry, but he’s not looking for parking either. Thank God I have some restraint and don’t invite him inside.
When he yawns and I glance at the clock, it’s now almost midnight and I wonder when he’ll address the break-up. What if he wants to get back together? And yes, if my delusion had a color, it would be purple --- part red for love, part blue for sorrow, completely purple for the deep abyss that I keep letting hope drown me in. Of course his intimate and interested behavior tonight didn’t help.
“You’re yawning, I should let you go,” I say, not realizing how final those words are. He nods but doesn’t make move. My eyes dart to the J. Jill bag sitting on the leather seat. If I ever want to know what happened, I have to ask now. “Are you ever going to answer my question?” I ask. “What question is that?” he asks. REALLY? Is he that dense or that much of a pansy?
I know I sound like a glutton for pain, but I need to hear the door to slam shut on closure. Rip the band-off. Make it hurt so I can smell and feel the pain. It’s okay, I’m a big girl you can tell me I’m ugly, fat, stupid, slutty, hideous, stinky. I can take the ache, it’s supposed to hurt. In time the truth will heal me. So I beg you, don’t leave the door ajar, for I am weak and love you. And I will wait for the off chance you come back. Please just the slam the door in my face. It is better this way.
In the time I have been adamantly waiting for my Reindeer closure he seems to have stopped breathing. In fact he looks paralyzed, like his legs are frozen in ice, but his hair is on fire. He sighs and finally says, “Yes, there was attraction but,” he looks away and stares at the building across the street, perhaps willing the Lissmore Music Studio sign to speak for him, and finishes with, “but I didn’t think it would work and didn’t see the point in continuing to date.”
In the five seconds in which I could have asked, “Why, why wouldn’t this work,” I don’t. Because this is when I realize I had full invested in the relationship while he had disassociated. Yes, this hurts right now. But a life as Reindeer’s wife would have been worse than this --- because I would have been settling. Already his golf, friends, yoga and job are more important than me. If we had kids, I’d be raising them alone five days a week, attending soccer games alone, never going into the City for theatre dates, and ultimately having an affair with the pool boy.
Deep inside, in places where I did not want to admit the truth, I knew this wasn’t working. I should have played the field and kept Reindeer in the barn nibbling hay. I should have followed the advice I gave my friends. I should have looked out for number one, Desi Girl herself. And as much as I want to hate him for wasting my time, I can’t. I allowed this to happen.
Finally I nod and reach into the back for the J. Jill bag of Tupperware. The next time I invite a man over for dinner, I am ordering pizza and serving ice cream straight out of the container. Maybe I'll serve wine in my $9 Crate and Barrel wine glasses, but for sure paper napkins.
“Okay then, thanks for dinner,” I say and get out of the car.
He’s saying something when I slam the door shut. With poise and dignity I head towards the building. I slide the key into the front door and walk across the lobby. I unlock my apartment and turn around to see the black of his car disappear. This time I know. He’s gone forever. And it’s okay, because today, tomorrow or the next, someone new, better and perfect will be given the chance to arrive.
I just have to make until then.