L for Love
The finest romances have the messiest stories. Not messy as in poorly written; au contraire, a good romance hits all the highest points of storytelling — the meet, the ecstatic joy of turning enemies into lovers, the inevitable wrench in the works, middles full of will they-won’t they tension, and a resolution that’s either a happily ever after, happy enough for now, or a bittersweet goodbye.
I am feeling particularly melancholic at the moment. I don’t know where this blissful moment of a lost love came from but I’ll blame the weather. Actually I blame the rain.
For most people, love is never a happy ever after tale but me? I love poetic endings. I love a good homage. And I love a good love story. The prospect of us not ending up together because of God knows what, but agreeing we will always love each other … Well, let’s just say we both needed that.
I know you’re asking yourself, what I’m I talking about? Who I’m I talking about? To be honest I’m not in good spirits to start relieving the whole story again but I will tell you how it ended. The end justifies the means, right?
Did you know this year, we would have celebrated our fourth anniversary— two in sin, two in a committed relationship, and all 4 years that went by without noticing. Ours would have been a romance of nights apart, beautiful Sundays together, opposite schedules, and moon watching in some nights.
This is the image: a long-haul couple eating breakfast together, sharing a morning coffee, splitting a bottle of wine after a long work day, reading books together in bed before falling asleep in each other’s arms — that has never been our reality. Do I wish it was? Certainly.
Ours was a messy love story — we didn’t need our relationship to look a certain way to have hope.
Because if I’ve learned anything from these stories, it’s the messiness, not the ideal, that strengthens a relationship. Ours survived because we appreciate the possibility that it may not. Well, finally it did not.
So don’t give me any of that happy ending bullshit. Give me the complicated, the missed connections, the big gestures, the bittersweet endings. Give me the struggle, because it’s the struggle that makes it love.
Anyway, I feel like I have let that out of my chest. This is what happened.
You know ever since Nase moved in with me, she made me doubt her insanity. Naserian: The name in her language means the peaceful one. I tend to believe her mother was sarcastic. She was chaos itself.
I literally didn’t have time to do anything for myself. I couldn’t just sit down, legs stretched out without getting the question ‘what are you thinking?’ I can’t take an evening walk alone, heck even taking a shit load she wants to be there. She made me believe I was dating a witch from Salem?
We had our fair share of problems but there is where the last straw broke the camel’s back. At one point we hosted our friends for the weekend and it literally drained the both of us. It involved a lot of cooking and by the time they were leaving, my social battery had run out of its juice.
The only highlight of the party was when this fine babe, Dede was asked what her pet peeve was. I am assuming you know what a peeve is. She went ahead to explain how she loved chihuahuas as pets. Wueh.
Anyway, after they left, I heaved a sigh of relief, finally at peace. All I wanted to do was play Fifa for a few minutes before going to bed. The devil that night had other plans.
Out of nowhere, Nase retorted, “I’m going to go do the dishes. It’ll be nice if you helped out”
I wasn’t planning on getting wet that night. Well at least not for the wrong reasons, “no problem will do them later” I told her.
She decided to do what she does best. Poke the hornet’s nest, “ let’s just do them now it will take 15 minutes”
“I’m exhausted I just honestly want to relax and unwind then we do the dishes tomorrow”
Slowly, it morphed into an argument.
“You know I don’t like waking up to a dirty kitchen”
“I care. You know I care. I busted my ass all day cleaning this house and making that dinner and it be nice if you said thank you, and help me do the dishes”
I decided to be the bigger person. Afterall, I was the one who had the balls(Ha!).“Fine I’ll help you do the damn dishes”
“You see that’s not what I want. No, I don’t want that” she pushed me away.
I didn’t understand, “you just said that you want me to help you to do the dishes”
“No, that’s not what I said. I want you to want to do the dishes”
“Why would I want to do the dishes? Why?”
She rolls her eyes. “See that’s my whole point”
“Let me see if I’m following. Are you saying that you are upset because I don’t have a strong desire to clean the dishes?”
“I’m upset because you have a strong desire not to offer to do the dishes”
“I just did”
“After I asked you”
“Jesus, you are acting crazy,” I barely murmured, I don’t know how she caught it.
“Do not call me crazy. I am not crazy”
“I didn’t I didn’t call you crazy I said you are acting crazy”
“You know what Levys, I ask you to do one thing today. To do one simple thing. Bring me 8 apples and you bought me three”
“Damn it! If I knew this was going to be much trouble I would have brought you 24 apples, actually 100”
“No it’s not about the apples”
“But that’s what you’re talking about”
“I am just saying it will be nice if you did the things that I asked and it’ll be even nicer if you did things without me having to ask you”
“I do seem to remember doing something for you this morning without you asking” That’s me beating my chest after giving her my honest best 3 minutes of morning glory.
“I went to work today. I made that dinner and it would have been nice if you just would have thought to yourself and said, I’m going to get my girl some flowers”
“You said on your very first date that you don’t like flowers”
“Every girl likes flowers Levys”
“What am I supposed to take that as”
“You are not getting it. It’s not about the flowers, it’s not about the dishes. It’s not about how many times I have to hit you about taking me to the movies. It’s about you doing things for me because you want to. It’d be nicer if you did that for me”
“It’s not about you loving the movies I suggest, it’s about you going because you love the person. You go because you wanna spend some time with them”
“You know what, forget about the movies. Right now, I am somehow cranky so can we just have this conversation some other time. Please? All I’m asking for is 30 minutes to relax and unwind when I come home instead of being attacked with questions and nagging the whole damn time”
“You think I nag you?”
“That’s all you do. All you do is nag me. The bathroom is a mess. I have to do the dishes. Hey Levys you should probably go workout. Nothing I ever do seems to be good enough. Sometimes, I feel I just want to be left alone”
“So that’s what you want?”
“Fine, do whatever hell you want. Leave your socks all over the place. Play your stupid ass video game. You do whatever you want. I am done. I am done. You are a prick…”
The after events were not mutual. She cried like someone had died. When she walked off to sob in the bedroom, I bet she expected I would have followed her and taken everything I said back. Instead I folded my hands together in the kitchen and zoned out.
This turn of events was as surreal as it was humiliating: I sat on the floor of our living room, and stared at the wall of paintings. There was this one she particularly loved. A silhouette of a couple, together under an umbrella. Maybe she thought that was us. But now the rain was beating hard, I don’t think we would have survived that storm.
Four years wasn’t long enough to really try, was it? Four years felt like we just blinked and we were back to where we started. Strangers, but now with memories. How had we already decided this wasn’t possible? Was ‘us’ just not good enough to fight for?
I blame the rain for making me think about her, Particularly Mariah Carey’s song, Angels Cry. For sure, I feel angels cry.
Nase was a good girl. In the song, Mariah says lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice. You should believe her. Now that I have decided to take the path down memory lane, let me tell you how I met Nase….
Continued: This is how we met
Adapted from Long Reads and The Break Up