Note: The "Trooper" in question is not actually in the military. It's a metaphor, people.

August 24, 2012

Walnut Heart

I'm not sure if last week's break up with Geek Rebel was the best decision somebody else ever made for me or if my heart has just shriveled up to a walnut-sized piece of hard resin. Either way, I seem to be bouncing back after being unceremoniously and unexpectedly dumped last Thursday night.

What happened? Well, if you'd asked me last Wednesday how things were going, I would've said, "Pretty good. We're still figuring each other out and hitting some bumps in the road while we're doing it. Like last weekend when we had a somewhat unsettling argument while trying to plan our first vacation together. We're both still a bit shaken up from the whole thing, but we talked it through, realized our various misunderstandings (mostly on his part, he would agree) and moved on at least enough to book all of our hotels for our two-week Canadian Rockies vacation."

Shows you what I know. The next night he showed up at my front door, holding a stack of my DVDs and his copy of my house key, already detached from its ring for swift handing-over. 

I felt weird that whole afternoon, even though he and I had communicated the same as always all that week. I went to a movie on Thursday night with a friend and was thinking about him the whole time because the movie was really good ("Searching for Sugarman," wonderful documentary) and I knew he would've enjoyed it. I wished he had been there with me and I thought, why not tell him so? I've never been the “spontaneous drop-by visit” kind of girl (there I things I just don't want to find out with an unannounced visit) but I thought, after our argument, it would be a nice gesture to go out of my way to drive to his house just to give him a hug and tell him I missed him. 

But I was nervous as I was driving there. I didn't even know why. I called him when I was about one minute away and he didn't answer; strange for 9pm on a weeknight. When I got there, all of his lights were on and I could see his computer monitor lit up through the window. Clearly he’d been home within the last few minutes. I normally just let myself in with his security code but it didn't feel right so I rang the doorbell. His dog barked but he never came. I waited, rang again. I could see his car was gone from the garage. Now it's really weird because, I can assure you, this guy rarely left his house on the weekends, let alone a weeknight (just one of the many red flags I chose to set aside.)

I took a deep breath, sent him a casual "stopped by to give you a hug" text and drove home. On the way I thought, "Wouldn't it be weird if he was at my house waiting for me?" Since I knew that he is also not the spontaneous drop-by kind of person, this thought held no giddiness for me. 

About two minutes after I got home, my doorbell rang. There he was, looking distressed, but mostly unable to look me in the eye. "What are you doing here?" I asked, trying to ignore my sinking stomach.

"I came to break up," he said as he handed me the stuff in his hand, seeming like he's ready to turn around and go home, having said the only words he felt were his duty to say. I felt otherwise.

"Why?" I asked in almost a whisper, holding the door half-open.

All he could muster was "We don't fight well."

"But we're just figuring each other out," I said, still not quite believing this was happening. He muttered something about us not having the time to figure it out, an obvious reference to my ticking biological clock. We're both about to turn 40 and he wants kids too, but apparently only with someone who will never, ever argue with him in an emotional manner, which I do on occasion. Meanwhile, there are about five or six red flags about him that have been taking up space in the back of my mind, and they're pissed as hell about being ignored for the last eight months, especially after he took me out of the game after one offense (that I know of, and one that I still think is bullshit).

But I said none of this. All I could say was, "You have my bike." Back to the perfunctory. He said he would return that and my other stuff and take care of all the vacation cancellations. I closed the door and sat at my desk in numb silence, walnut heart barely beating.

He dropped the stuff off a few days later, clearly trying to just leave it at the door. But my dog barked and I thought I'd open the door just to make his life a little bit uncomfortable since I'd had to sit for a few days with what was still an unexplained dumping (not to mention a canceled vacation that I desperately needed after working two jobs for two years straight). Again, he could barely look at me and I stood there, watching him unload stuff from his car, his whole body tense and awkward. Finally I said, "Aren't you even going to talk to me?"

Mumble, mumble. I'm still processing or something like that. I replied "Well, at least you know what's going on." And then he left.

Cue the anger, followed by a deep, calm sadness that truly scared me.

Two days ago he sent me an email saying that my last comment made him realize he probably should offer me an explanation, even though he doesn't really have to. But he's such a nice guy he'll do it so I don't suffer.

I paraphrase of course because I only skimmed it and can't bring myself to read it again. There was something in there about me raising my voice (which I do when I get emotional, something I've worked very hard to improve upon and something I've done maybe twice since we've been together. And trust me, if he thinks I was yelling last weekend, he wouldn’t have lasted two seconds with me in my 20s). Apparently he wouldn't want to bring a child in to a home where someone raised their voice. His family, while lovely, are quiet WASPs. My people are Jews. Yelling, angry Jews.

There was more, I think. But what's the point in absorbing it? I am just about the best version of myself I’ve ever been and worked damn hard to get here. I know he can’t say the same about himself (another cluster of red flags there). And after seeing the wimpy way he went about erasing me from his life, there was no going back even if he did seem inclined to want to talk things out. All those red flags I'd shoved away were whipping in the wind, smacking me across the face at every chance they got. I don't blame them. 

I'm mad at myself for how readily I handed myself over to the next kind, intelligent man who seemed to "get" me, even though he had so many of the same character traits that I'd determined, after Wine Guy and Only Child, I would never tolerate again. Those traits are my relationship kryptonite. Still, it's hard to reconcile the man who turned his back on me so quickly with the one who'd been so loving and thankful for my presence in his life only one week earlier.

But after a few days of bleak misery, I'm starting to see the light of life again. I'm back to my glorious "me time," which is fine since I am my favorite person to be with these days - probably because I barely have anyone to hang out with (except my dog of course, and she is the best companion/friend I've got). But I'm working on that because, well, I am not a wimp. Life must be lived – even if you don’t have a husband and a baby to post about on Facebook every day. 

Oh, did I tell you it took me about three days post-dumping to book my dream vacation to Vietnam? I leave in two weeks.