The best story ever told was between someone’s fingertip and their beloved’s skin- a love story of some sort or the tale of two individuals coming together. The only thing more epic than the beginning of a love story is the ending- the final touch or the end of the caress. In today’s society, it seems as though the only thing being touched is the screen on a smart phone to start a text message, and sometimes, the ending of an affair isn’t even granted that courtesy.
From my dating experience, people are so quick to start a new story, but never want to finish it. I’ve been on the receiving end of not receiving, and I eventually wised up and realized that some of the loudest messages are said without words. Ghosts make their presence known, but eventually vanish back into the night. I have found some to be more haunting than others.
After hearing silence far too many times, I vowed to myself that I would officially end a courtship if I saw it going nowhere or recognized it just was not the right fit at the right time. And so it happened, I started dating an attractive, intelligent guy, but for some reason there was just something that was missing between us. It could have lasted longer, but it would not have been fair to either one of us. My chance to slip off, quietly into the dark arrived, but I chose to face the ending and do it on my terms.
We went out three times, each time ending in a walk home and a, “I had fun tonight. Let’s do this again,” at my door. It was old school and I liked it. I quickly realized that I couldn’t love him the way he wanted to be loved though. His honesty about past mistakes in previous relationships was refreshing and endearing- my 16 year-old self thought I could be the one to change him, but my 26 year-old self knew better. Old habits die hard, and as much as I wanted to be the exception to the rule, after several discussions between my logical mind and romantic heart, I accepted I would not be the one to change him now.
Our personalities meshed well, the conversations were intoxicating, and the physical attraction was there; however, our styles of love differed and saw us going down a path that would end in disarray. I owed him nothing and everything at the same time. He respected me enough to be honest and I respected him enough to give him more than an unanswered text message- he deserved a proper good-bye, in person.
I was awkward during it all because I never cared for the sound of good-byes, but I hated the thought of disappearing without an explanation. After all, we’re adults, or at least I like to think so at times, and burying a grave is part of the territory. The words eventually fell out of my mouth, “I can’t do this. I wanted it to work, but it just can’t.” He smiled and understood my reasoning, and replied, “I appreciate you doing this in person. Most people wouldn’t even do that.” He was right; most people just disappear.
Break ups are like deaths, regardless of the length of the relationship. One major difference between the two is that you could quite possibly run into your ex post-break up- the physical afterlife. The concept of not knowing if there is life after the union, the thought of never speaking to that certain someone again, or the painful notion of never touching that person again are all part of the process. But when there’s never a break-up, one can never get the opportunity to meet in the afterlife. Good-byes are always challenging to hear, but they sound so much better than silence.