In the beginning, we passed along love notes, little post-its, drawings, jots only we could understand, we developed a language all our own. We had secrets shared and secrets kept, doubts, desires, silent longings. By the time it was over, we were closer than best friends, we were closer than enemies, we were neither. We had developed together into two different people with two entirely different ideas of the way things were and the way things should go. In the end, I drew the sword. I said the parting words, I left, with promises to remain friends. We aren't, nor could we ever be. When you are as close as we were, you can't be anything but gone. And I was gone long ago.
Sometimes I wonder if I hadn't been sabotaging the whole thing, staying out late, coming in late. Not handling the affairs right. Then I think about all the things he did wrong. All the times he didn't listen, said the wrong thing, and hurt me, and everyone. Of course, it wasn't my fault, but it wasn't his either, we are just two stupid fools, brought together by wind and wave, then drifted apart.
When I finally did leave, we didn't need lawyers. We didn't need mediators. We settled it like adults. I gave him everything. Hell, it's what my father did, and he says I'm just like him. I kept a little notebook, that notebook is all that I have now to remember us by. I love it; it holds everything that we were and weren't and I love that the most. Of course, now people are circling around, they want to see how I am, what I'm going to do now, and I'm proud to say that I have my share of suitors. I always did. But something about him, his blind enthusiasm, his belief in himself, his belief in me, had kept them at bay. I'm sure I'll have a rebound. I'm sure I'll have another long term relationship. But he was different. He was the first.
Anyone who says that business isn't a love affair, has never been in love. Business is love. There is absolutely no reason to put yourself or hundreds of thousands of dollars in harm's way unless you love your business, love yourself, and love your fellow partners. I did. Maybe not enough. That's why the divorce rate is so high in this country. But in the end, I think we were just a statistic. We were fated to fail. And I will survive. I will love again.
My first business has failed. It still exists, it still writes checks and recieves them, but I am no longer a part of it. And without me, 50% of the company on a good day, 90% on others, I know it will fall. My employees, they almost cried. I hugged one. I will miss him, he reminded me of myself. I'll keep his card, and keep in touch. But my partner, though he often feigns tears, did not cry. Neither did I. You have to keep a straight face in front of the kids. I shook hands with him. Then I smoked with him, one final time.
He mentioned my father. He failed at business. Then at love. He encased his heart. I will not. I am ready to love again. I am ready to put my faith in my partner again. I want to, the hole in my heart cannot be filled otherwise. I was in and out of relationships while I was in business with him. I screened all their calls so heavily that one remarked that I had never given her the silo codes when she left. But I always answered his calls, until the very end. I always answered the customers calls, even now. We are a rare breed.
I took one last hit as we passed a block party. He couldn't help but cat call the mass, which hardly noticed him. He didn't feel any better. He pulled back into the garage, in tunnel vision. I could sense the same feelings inside me. He drove me to my car. He said, "It was nice working with you. We did our damnedest," which meant, "I'll always love you." I got out, went to the car and went home.