“Life is not complex. We are complex. Life is simple, and the simple thing is the right thing.“ — Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet and playwright
Little did I know the irony of this quote would dig so deep.
The ex-factor and I decided to end our quasi-cold war. Brutal barbs were swapped electronically over the last six or so months trying to push off cleaning out a storage facility holding remnants of broken promises and false hope. No longer was it an option for he and I to dabble in the realms of possibility and potential. Cold hard reality had taken its sweet time to set in. And now? It was time for us to clean out our “closet” space.
“So I’ll see you in two days,” It’s forced. He’s sounding much braver than I feel. “If I don’t hear from you otherwise.”
“You sure this is what you want?” I’m trying to give us both an out. It’s been over six months since our last conversation and here we are — trying desperately to end what we could not resolve in half-a-dozen tumultuous years. Especially right at this moment. “I’m fine with having you decide.”
I hear him stifle a groan. He chokes on it and starts coughing. The rapid staccatos run like bullets against my temples. I pull the phone away from my ear and catch my breathe.
He recovers quickly, then speaks between gritted teeth: “For once. I want YOU to decide.”
I already HAVE, I want to scream into the mouthpiece. Instead I allow for the silence to further unsettle this chasm between us.
“I want you to be happy…” It’s my lame attempt at filling in the blanks. Our conversations have resorted to playing a bastardized version of MAD LIBS meets BOGGLE. Whatever is finally said shakes the other person up so much, it takes at least three minutes to decipher the subtext. I want you to move on and stumble across the perfect woman who will appreciate you the way you need and adore you the way you want. This is not a selfless act. I will rest easier knowing he’s found the ONE.
Don’t get me wrong — I hate this. This parting of ways. We’re no longer fooling ourselves that a forced friendship awaits at the other end of this lonely tunnel. There’s a finality about it this time around. In 48 hours we’ll be sorting and splitting mountains of mementos, utensils and other useless items into three piles: YOURS, MINE and NEVER OURS.
Was it too much sex covering for too little intimacy? Did we use “faith in the relationship” as our fallback when things got complicated? Increased friction allowed us a makeshift escape route called “denial” — until it imploded. Our individual desires and separate agendas got in the way of keeping our relationship simple: long-distance, family feuds, flaky friends or chaotic career choices. Good ‘ol Oscar Wilde pegged us — LIFE is not complex. WE are complex.
“Let’s just keep this simple.” He’s gruff. “I’ll see you after I get in from work.”
“After six?” The irony doesn’t evade me.
“Yeah,” he doesn’t share in the bittersweet humourlessness of it all. “After six.”