At 1:14am it was already a late night. He was already tired, but on the late call Mya insisted that they needed to talk tonight. Victor slowly rolled out of bed to turn on his laptop and lamp to get some work done while he waited for her to arrive. He had already planned extra time to do work into his sleep schedule. He didn’t know it’d be tonight, but he knew it would be coming. Already. He shook sleep from his mind while waving a lit incense around his apartment. Their talks had become accustomed to needing an incense or 2 to create an open environment for the things they needed to say. And of course to help manage stress.
A relationship is hard work. They already knew this when they started going steady 2 years ago. A lot of things fell along the way since then, but they knew this would happen. It was expected. Already. The pain was a part of the game. You may as well prick your finger once you grab the controller. But things just started going downhill somewhere. At this point it was clear that some calling of time had shifted things. Some almighty halfway point between falling together and falling apart would live on as their reasoning for where it went wrong. Some great dividing line would equally slice the pie for who hurt who. Who’s fault was where. Who should’ve called who. Who gave in first. Who broke character. Who was the immature one. Who grinned and bared the dagger in the corner with a smirk the longest. And then left the knife on the table and held their hand out. Limp at the wrist. Waiting to be cut again. “Okay, you can do it this time.”
And the cut would always come again. They already knew it would. They’d fallen into a cycle of hurting each other. A cycle of breaking promises. A cycle of hiding in familiar hiding places. “I knew you were there,” was passed between slight head nods as commonplace as leaving the bathroom light on. “I got the seat warm for you. Say ‘Thank you’.”
He stuck his head out the window and took in the sounds of the cold city air. Heard a whistle off in some insignificant direction. But there enough to say, “Hey, I’m still here.”
Watching on high, he saw her car lights pull into the parking lot. She drove up to his apartment building, walked over to the heavy steel door, and punched in his code on the pad. The cold buzz reminded him of everything the complete polar opposite of yellow bumblebees as he pressed the button to open the door to let her up into his building. They were going down. Going down swinging. But not against each other. Just swinging. Wide. Holding on to each other at a pivot point in the middle and swinging like a newly liberated lawnmower blade with a vengeance as if to say, “I was here. You’re gonna know it and so will everyone else.” “I’m sorry baby. We held on didn’t we?”
“Hey,” they both said in unison greeting each other at the door. They actually met eyes this time. That was nice. Hadn’t had that in a while. Her eyes were still just as beautiful as that night they met at the pier. She still wore that ring in her eyebrow. She’d stopped wearing the necklace he’d bought her a few months back. She knew he would notice. A heavy pivot step and turn in the dance of their love affair. It started an improvisational free jazz dance, but now the moves had become a carefully coordinated and cadenced tango. “We held on didn’t we?” She blinked and then hid her eyes beneath the swoop of her hair and entered into his apartment. Ball step change.
“Hey. How are you,” Mya asked.
“I’m good. You know, just working,” Victor replied.
“Oh yeah that research paper,” Mya said.
“Yeah the revolutionary philosophy of the…”
“We need to talk,” Mya interrupted.
“Oh? What about?” Victor asked.
Victor’s question hung in silence for a beat.
Can you guess?
I’m not going to make this easy for you.
“About us,” Mya replied.
“Oh, that doesn’t sound good at all,” he bemoaned. “What about us?”
“Well….” she said looking down rubbing her hands into each other.
“Yes..?” he inquired while digging into his refrigerator for a bottle of green tea. He cracked the bottle cap with a light fizz.
“Well, Victor I need some space,” she said looking up to him with her beautiful brown eyes. She looked at him expecting a reaction. He took a sip from his drink and looked at her waiting for her to go on.
I’m not going to make this easy for you.
“I need some space,” she said looking into his eyes. I owe you that much. “There’s someone else, Victor.”
“Oh,” Victor said only half-surprised, but feigning anger. “Wait, what?” His anger grew into slight disgust. He didn’t expect that she would actually mention that there was someone else. That wasn’t a part of the game. She was breaking character. He had eaten his portion of the pie, but he had grown tired of the shadows. He actually didn’t have anyone on the side at the moment. But her. She wasn’t playing fair. He kept his distance from her standing in his kitchen while she stood in the living room area.
“I’m so sorry, Victor. I never meant to hurt you, but..” she pleaded with him while the bar counter separated them from each other.
“But what?” He interrupted. He took a long drink from his bottle and then placed his hands on the bar top flexing in his disbelief. I can’t believe you broke character already. It can’t just be perfect now. It can’t be perfect.
“It just happened,” she said. Tears were rolling down her face now.
“It just happened?” he repeated building in his anger. “Honestly I don’t even want to know how it happened. Do I know him?”
“No. You don’t know him. I’m not like that.” she said giving him a salted look. “I’m sorry, Victor. I really am. I really didn’t mean to hurt you. I should have loved you better. It’s my fault. I didn’t cherish you like I should have and by the time I realized it, it was too late. I’m too late. I’ve let this go on for far too long. I could ask you to forgive me and take me back, but I don’t deserve you. Not like this. I’m so sorry, Victor. I need some time to figure out who I am. I don’t want to keep hurting you. I don’t want to keep hurting myself.”
“I-I don’t know what to say, Mya. I really can’t believe my ears,” Victor said.
“You don’t have to say anything, Victor. I know I was wrong. I was so wrong. I need to go. I need to. I can’t bare to looking at you know how I hurt you,” Mya began putter her wetted tissues into her purse.
“I just need to go. I can’t be here, Victor.”
“Yeah you should go, but,” he said calmly.
“I gotta go, Victor,” she insisted as she walked to the door. “I’m sorry. I’m so so sorry.”
In an instant she was out the door just as fast as she entered. He heard her heels clicking down the hall. Heels. He turned off the lamp light in his living room and walked back over his window that over looked the parking lot. He watched her car lights turn and pull out of the lot.
I knew already
He took another drink from his green tea.
*Pic Break up blues by Haikeha