Monday, April 26, 2010

Secret relationship, secret breakup

I'm babysitting and watching 'Dreamgirls', falling in love with Beyonce again. Eddie Murphy's character is about to go on stage. His girlfriend, played by Anika Noni Rose, gives him a kiss for each year that's gone by with her as a mistress and him still married and promising to leave his wife. 8 kisses. I would have given 4.

An interrupted 4. A 4 with several periods, including one a year long, where I saw a lot of other women. But in those years, even when we weren't talking, we both knew that we loved each other. We both knew that we were friends.

So this time, when I tell her I've fallen for someone else, and she goes in for hostility and defamation, it's a surprise. It's painful. A surprise for her, since every time I left over the past four years, it was not real. And this time it is.

"I can't wrap my head around it," I tell Roommate. "We're supposed to be enemies now? After everything?"

He shrugs.

I'm the kind of guy that would want to be able to get a coffee with her, or a dinner, and hear about her latest relationship adventures. I don't put borders around relationships. I've suffered for my inability to do so, certainly with her, probably in general. But I can't do it any other way. So the realization that my dream of friendship isn't going to happen is slow, and painful.

And I miss her. I watch videos of her songs. I check her twitter site, which she's been using to send coded messages of hostility my way. She tells our friends to tell me she's over it and doesn't care, now she sees I'm really pathetic.

The scandal protects me. She can't defame too much without revealing her dirty secret - me. So we both have to suffer in silence while we pretend indifference.

She tells me to never email or call or contact her again. She recently bought me an elaborate gift from five different stores in the mall. She tells me she wasted money she didn't have on it in our last conversation.

I go to each store, return each gift (the DVDs, the electronics, the clothes...), get a receipt, create an itemized ledger for the full amount, get cash out of the bank machine, bundle the receipts and ledger into an envelope, and leave it for her with the last of her stuff that I had. Money you didn't have, I write. You have it now. Thanks for the tweets, I don't write. That would be to tell her that it affected me.

Four years of friendship, four more of love, and it really comes to this? Could I not have hoped for better? Or should I, as everyone warned me, have known all along that this was all it was ever going to come to, because this was all it was? My body can't believe it. But my body came to fear her rejection and her contempt and her lies more than it longed for her. I really did hope for better.

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