I was honest, I swear, the last thing I wanna do
Honest, I swear, the last thing I wanna do
Is ever cause you pain...

Stop. Breathe.

My girlfriend Amanda and I broke up on Thursday. That was the 19th, 2 days after her 24th birthday. We'd been together for 5 years, 3 months, and 6 days, since we were both 18 and I was in summer school so I could graduate from high school and she had just finished her freshman year of college.

I can write this like it's an obituary now. I can report on the facts as they happened. I'm mostly numb, not like novocaine but like the day after a filling.

It went like this: Amanda came over around 7:30pm. She was going to go out for chinese food (which really means "scorpion bowls and gossip") with her friend Brittany (who, as it happens, is also my hairdresser) later that night but had asked if I she could come over and see me beforehand. I figured she just wanted to hang out and see me - after living together for 2 years, living separately was a little tough on us. But she couldn't afford my rent; programmers make more than psych research assistants, even when they are running the research themselves.

When she walked into the apartment (she had her own set of keys) I was playing a video game. I turned and said, "Hey doll!" in greeting, and turned back to the game. And then she said, in a wavering voice: "Can you pause the game for a minute?"

(Why the fuck am I writing this? This is either the biggest mistake of my life or it will turn out to be a defining moment but I can't fucking write it like it's a fucking BOOK REPORT, like something I saw on TV, like...)

Stop. Breathe.

I looked at her and she did not meet my gaze. She sat on the couch next to me and stared at her hands for a moment and said "I have bad news." She looked up and I could see pain in her eyes, tears welling up. I expected death, dismemberment, cancer, war, Armageddon. What came out was: "We have to break up."

This was bad, true, but not ovarian cancer or Global Thermonuclear War or AIDS or "I've been fucking your best friend, sorry". I was almost relieved.

The next hour is mostly a blur. She said she had been feeling like our goals and plans were different; this was true. She said that she had felt like we had never stood on our own; this was also true. She said she wanted to stand on her own two feet, to spread her wings and fly, to see what she was made of. I had felt the same way, albeit in fewer clichés. It was undeniable though. She was right. We both knew it long before that night.

But she was so soft, so pretty, so sexy, so smart, so funny. So comfortable, so convenient. So easy to stay with, hard to let go of.

Have you ever seen two people who stay together soley out of convenience? It's not pretty. They eventually blame each other for their own inability to let go of what they have for something better. Even if there is nothing better, they resent never having had the chance.

So. She wiped her eyes and she left her keys on the coffee table. I walked her to the door. We agreed to stay friends, professed our deep, abiding love for one another, and then, paradoxically, she walked away. I have not seen her since.