There isn’t really much to say about The Breakup, except that The Lawyer was a real POS about the whole thing. For two weeks he ignored me. For my birthday, which fell somewhere in those two weeks, he did absolutely nothing. Oh wait, nevermind, jk, he called me at like 9:30 pm the night of, and left a ten second voicemail that said, “Happy birthday.” My heart exploded from the warmth. Just, really, overwhelmed.
During this time, which could only be described as a term of punishment, I lived in a state of anxiety, holding onto sanity by obsessively going to yoga. While I had forsaken veganism, I had held onto the yoga as a form of exercise, sure, but mainly as a way of coping with feeling lost and stressed the F out. So, for a couple weeks, The Lawyer and I had sporadic and sparsely worded contact that was completely noncommittal on his part. I was still in the process of finding my voice in romantic relationships and was, thus, too chickenshit to flat out ask WHAT IN THE ACTUAL HELL WAS GOING ON.
At the end of this two week purgatory
Lucifer The Lawyer asked me to have dinner with him. At that point I didn’t know which end was up. Were we together? Were we broken up? Would it be possible to salvage a relationship with someone I didn’t even really like that much who had treated me with such an alarming lack of respect? I had absolutely no idea what to expect walking into Landmarc, except white linens and overpriced steaks.
When I walked in he was polite and complimentary, but reserved. We made small talk about work. It felt more like a halting first date than interacting with someone who I had known for over a year, dated for months and, you know, who had like seen me naked but whatevs. Until the second the waitress put the steaks onto the table, we continued this little dance of Everything is Fine Except Oh My God Do You See That Huge Elephant Sitting at the Bar Drinking a Martini and Laughing About What a Stupid Sham This is Is. (I think ABT is performing that this season or something, right?) The Lawyer seemed to take the food arriving as a signal to blow the whole thing up. Which honestly was like a little dangerous because I was holding a steak knife and like WHO KNOWS.
The actual words he spoke: That thing you’re supposed to feel when you’re with someone? That spark? Yeah, I don’t feel that for you.
The actual word I spoke: Huh.
When I didn’t
stab him with the steak knife react, he kept talking.
Him: You know, I keep expecting you to harpoon this conversation. You’re unbelievably calm. That’s actually one of the things I like about you — how not crazy you are.
TRY ME MOTHERFUCKER! Right.
My monosyllabic responses either unnerved him or signaled assent because he persisted: I mean, I like spending time with you. We have a great time together. I still want to hang out with you, but I just, I don’t want to do it at the same frequency.
Frequency. So this is like a physics test or nah?
As someone who likes to eat, let me just say that being broken up with over dinner is just the absolute worst. It’s only happened to me twice and that is twice too many. Everything turns to glue in your mouth and your appetite vanishes along with all the iterations of your potential future together. So I abandoned my steak and watched him devour his. Now unburdened with the nasty little matter of breaking us up, it seemed his own mood had improved. I think I mumbled something about
wishing I had never started dating him to begin with not wanting to Just Be Friends (because ew gross, NO ONE WANTS THAT) and then blamed catching the ferry for my needing to leave the millisecond he was we were done eating.
I don’t remember how we said goodbye, but it doesn’t really matter. I wouldn’t end up seeing him again for at least a year. He did end up texting me in October because he thought he saw me on a street corner in Williamsburg. (“Well, you know, I was in a cab and there was this brunette with bangs in a leather jacket on the corner.” Because there are NONE of those in Brooklyn. Get out of here and lose my number.) For more time than I care to admit, however, I slept-walked through my days. I didn’t leave the house, I had lost interest in eating (which, like not to court heartbreak, but could that happen again maybe?). I felt entirely numb. I’ve handled worse breakups, the devastating ends to more meaningful relationships, better than I did that one. But, I think my reaction to being broken up with by The Lawyer speaks not to the depth of our connection, but to the extent of his coldness and controlling behavior, that spell being broken when it was all done and finally coming to the realization afterward of how Wrong we had been for each other, how much I wanted to truly Connect with someone.
That’s the thing about Heartbreak, though: You can never predict how it’s going to hit you. When The Lawyer and I broke up I was in a messy place in the part of my life that had nothing to do with him. I was transitioning jobs and struggling to find my foothold in academia, after what I considered to be huge failure, quitting the PhD in Ireland and all. At the time I was also living with my parents and trying to get back on my feet. After three weeks of moping about The Lawyer, however, I did rip the bandaid and start looking for my first Living on My Own apartment in The City. Heartbreak is depleting, but Heartbreak is also galvanizing.
Heartbreak is a lot like the worst hangover you’ve ever had.
You know the one: the one where you think you might actually die of dehydration or have done irreparable damage to vital and unsuspecting organs. The night starts off well enough: well attended, well intended. It’s all fun and games, blur of beautiful mayhem and tequila shot? and oh I love this song and let’s get pizza wait just one more bar I heard they have the best jukebox um did you see who is here I can’t believe she told him where we were going I need another margarita are we ever going to find a cab roll down the window I might be sick text me when you get home safe.
INT. BEDROOM — MORNING
A YOUNG GIRL is in bed, obscured by covers. She appears to be dead, but we can hear faint murmurings as though she sleeps restlessly. The room looks as though it has been ransacked. An almost empty glass of water, a pizza box and a cell phone are on the nightstand. She stirs.
I am… What. Where. Bed? Bed check. Alone. Good. Alive? Maybe. Eyes. Wait do they open? Stuck Ugh. Do I have conjunctivitis? It’s black. Black conjunctivitis? Dead? Maybe I am actually dying from oh congealed eyeliner. Oof. Ugh. Oil can. Water. I need water and a lobotomy and a saline drip and a coffee and maybe chicken and waffles. Let me just sit up. Oh dear Lord.
The reality of the Devastation and Disaster, well it all just comes hurtling down around your nauseated, dizzy ears. You curse
The Lawyer tequila to high holy hell. You will never love drink again. That’s it. Today is the first day of the rest of your life sans The Lawyer booze. You will go to yoga and relinquish all earthly vices. Ha, what fools you all are, with your coupledom bars and your making out margaritas. You think to yourself, I am sad wise, I see blinding pain all. Once you can move without wanting to vomit, you will be a new woman! But, then, Then, wait! Hmm, you think well maybe I’m going about this all wrong. You think — miraculously! shockingly! — maybe, just maybe, a New Guy margarita will help out this here dire situation. Hair of the dude dog, right? So you proceed on this seemingly ill-advised new escapade. That first date margarita is rough business. There’s a chance you may hurl. There’s a chance you may be instantly hammered again. 50/50, really. But there you are, playing with that straw, licking salt off your fingers and flirting your way into a Whole New Bender.
And that Bender turned out to be 9 years of online dating.