One day, I realize I don’t have feelings for my boyfriend anymore. We’ve had a ridiculously cute romance. “What a waste of a good start to a love story,” I think. What’s worse, I have to break up with him. I stress about it all day. He’s pretty enchanted with me—how to let him down easy?
It’s time. I reluctantly cross the parking lot to the bagel shop where we’ve arranged to meet. It’s bustling with students, but I manage to nab a table. I fidget in my seat and watch the door, half anxiously waiting to get it over with, half hoping he won’t show. But he does. When he sees me, his face lights up. I cringe inwardly. “He wouldn’t be that excited to see me if he knew what I was going to say,” I think. He reaches out for a hug. I stiffly comply. We buy food and return to the table. It’s time. But before I can find the words, he speaks.
“Can I ask you a question?”
“Go for it.”
“Do you know what it feels like to share an Arnold Palmer with the most beautiful girl in the world?”
Oh, no. This is not what I’m expecting. What unfortunate timing. I briefly consider smiling at him like nothing is wrong, carrying on a trivial conversation, and pretending we’re jim dandy and that I wasn’t just about to break up with him. But I can’t do that. Yes, it would be cruel to carry on with my severance plan once he’s said something so sweet, but it would be even crueler to fake affection I’m not feeling and give him a false sense of security. No, I have to do the deed.
“You just made this a lot harder.” I take a deep breath. “I don’t feel the same way I did at the beginning of our relationship.”
I tell him it’s not his fault. I feel really bad about this. “You’re an amazing guy,” I say and trail off, finishing the sentence in my brain: “Just not the right one for me.”
“Is it something I did?”
I assure him that it isn’t, that my feelings have changed and I don’t really know why, but not on account of his actions. He doesn’t get the message.
“But is it something I did?”
I almost cry out, “It’s not me, it’s you,” but it’s too cliché. I settle for, “No! It’s really not anything you did.” I thank him for treating me well. I explain that I’m not always in charge of my emotions and I don’t want to lead him on. I hope we can still be friends. He nods. We are suddenly rife with embarrassment. We stand up to leave, awkwardly pushing in chairs. We leave the restaurant, walk opposite directions. Ten minutes later, I receive a text message.
“Is it something I did?”