The Rather Messy Breakup
“Let’s just be friends.”
She carefully placed her tea cup back on its saucer. Fanned out her fingers and told herself that her hands weren’t shaking. He looked from her face to her hands to her face again. They were shaking.
“I think it’s best if we are just friends.”
She stared out of the window for some time. He grew a little worried for her sanity, but was in no position to judge or to push her so he kept quiet and kept his thoughts to himself. She watched a girl dance through the street, grabbing the hand of a boy who was chasing after her as she did so, pulled him towards her and kissed him hard and decisively on the lips before dashing off once more. Lucky bitch.
“I don’t agree.”
“You don’t agree?”
Well, that was the oddest response he had got to this usually very successful line.
“Can I ask why?”
“No. Not really.”
Well, this was very awkward.
“You’re really going to have to give me something here.”
“Can I ask you why you think we should just be friends?”
“I... just don’t think we would work.”
“Fine. Well then you can understand why I don’t think us not being together and just being friends will work.”
“Umm, no, actually I don’t understand.”
He wished he had ordered a pint now. He had not had the forethought for this conclusion. He thought it would have been a clean break, barely worth ordering a coffee over. A quick –Hey how’s it going, so I’m just going to, yep there you go, break your heart, here have it back- and Bob’s your Uncle done!
“Let me tell you what I don’t understand then maybe we’ll come to some form of understanding together.”
She laid her hands flat on the table. That was better. She felt more in control.
“I don’t understand why you wouldn’t want to be with me. It’s just all a bit silly isn’t it, because I can tell you now what everyone is going to say when I go home in tears and down a bottle of vodka: You’re too good for him, he doesn’t know what he’s missing, he can’t see how great you are, you don’t need him, you’re better off without him, he’ll see how great you are and will come running back and then you can reject him, he’s intimidated by how great you are, you’re too beautiful for him... do I need to go on, or do you get the picture?”
He got the picture, but wasn’t quite sure what to say to any of this. Most girls went home and did their crying and questioning behind closed doors. Out of sight. Out of mind. And that was a routine that had served him perfectly fine. He was ok with it. Don’t fix what ain’t broke and all that. Did she not get that?
“But we won’t work together.”
“Because my heart’s not in it.”
“And my heart’s not in us not being together.”
She leant back away from the table and took a leisurely sip of her cup of tea. Yes, this was a lot better, a proper solution finding conversation. None of this statement-bish-bash-bosh-we’re over and done business.
“But you can’t force two people to be together.”
“Then why can you force two people to be apart?”
She had him there. And she knew it.
“Why should you get your way? Why can’t we do it my way?”
“Because it doesn’t work like that.”
His hands messed up his perfectly crafted hair that he had prepared earlier. If he was going to dump her, he had wanted to look good whilst doing so, it was that extra twist of the knife that those doing the stabbing did, though God knows why. It’s not very kind. Anyway, he wasn’t looking his best anymore. His carefully composed look was looking worn and distraught, his shirt frantically untucking itself from his distressed jeans (not that his jeans shared this emotion, they had just been stressed when dyed), his cheeks flushed and his hair was not looking quite so artistically messy.
“I don’t see how you can only see that we have to do it your way. We do it your way and I’m unhappy but you’re happy. We do it my way and I’m happy but you’re unhappy. It’s an equal balance either way, so each conclusion should be on the cards.”
“But you can’t force me to like you.”
“You can’t force me to not like you.”
“But... but you can’t force me to stay with you.”
“And you can’t force me to leave you. You see where I’m going with this yet?”
He saw where she was going with this.
But what was worse, was that he saw (in some weird, and roundabout way) that what she was saying actually made some form of sense. He desperately didn’t want it to. But it did. Damn.
“Now, let’s say that we’ll date for this first month, then not the second, then will the third... and so on and so forth. I really think we ought to start off as dating seeing as this was my idea, I should get some form of credit for it! And we’ll stop when either you fall for me, or I fall out of love with you. This way we’re equally happy and equally in pain.
Right, pick me up tonight at half seven, and make sure you’re on time, you know how particular I am, and remember to change your online relationship status when you get home. I love you boyfriend.”
She kissed him firmly on the lips. He could not reciprocate, too stunned by what he had got himself into. She cleared her throat and tapped her foot impatiently, waiting for an appropriate response.
“I... err, love you too... girlfriend.”