Calling a man after a break up rattles every inch of my body. My skin bumps raise as if a cold wind attacked. Perky and obvious, they are, unlike my boobs, and even they stand at attention when in the presence of an ex, even if just over a phone call. My palms feel like I’ve been holding a dead fish; cold and perspiring like armpits in summer. Then there is my heart. Beating hard and fast as if running a marathon. What awaits at the finish line? Answers. Understanding. And maybe a little closure.
This is what I expected when I called Luke, my ex-boyfriend of just three weeks. We hadn’t spoken since I ended our relationship. He didn’t call like he said he would. We never met to speak face-to-face like he said he wanted to. The relationship was over as was the friendship that was built. Still, I wanted to hear his voice. Make sure he was out of his funk and that my decision to leave didn’t break his heart like his decision to emotionally withdraw broke mine.
I found his number quickly as it was still under my iPhone’s ‘Favorites’ list. I braced myself as the phone rang on the other end. “Pick up, pick up, pick up…” I muttered under my breath. And just like that, my wish was granted.
“Hello,” he answered, his voice unsure of who was calling.
“Hey, it’s Sujeiry,” I replied, a little shocked he did not recognize my high-pitched tone. Did he delete my number already? I fought to ask.
“Oh…wow…hey! How are you?” He said, the excitement in his voice building. I told him I was fine. My tone neutral.
“I called you not to long ago but you didn’t answer,” he continued.
“Really…I never got a missed called. But maybe I was at work or on the train. No service,” I reasoned, choosing to believe he had actually called. That he still cared about my feelings, my life, my success.”So how are you?” I queried, hoping for something positive.
“Still not working,” he sulked, his energy as stuck as it was when I ended the relationship.”But I’m going to Arizona…then Miami and maybe DR,” he finished. I inhaled quickly, stunned that he was moving on so quickly, literally moving away. No hope for us, I thought. But did I want that hope? Thoughts cluttered my slowing beating heart, heavy now with the weight of the finality of it all, as he continued mapping out a future without me.
“I do want to say something to you…about us,” he said, changing gears. My ears perked up as did the pores on my arms once again. “I am sorry. I fucked up. I withdrew. And we had a great time, a great relationship –”
“You didn’t fight for me,” I expressed as I had during that breakup call.
“I know…” Luke whispered, unsure of what to say next. Then a sliver of hope. “Maybe, when I get my life together, maybe you give us another chance?”
There went my breath again, unsteady and heavy. And my hands, sweaty like that wet fish, shaking as if confronted by a terrifying concept.
“I don’t know. I’m not waiting for anyone,” I replied, hard and convincing.
“I know. I don’t want you to wait for me. I want you to be happy. I guess if we’re supposed to be together we will.”
“Yeah, maybe…” I said, blinking back tears and those words again…you didn’t fight for me.
“I’m glad we talked. I really do care about you and I’m really sorry. I didn’t want to hurt you. I didn’t go into this relationship with that intention–”
“I know, Luke. No one ever does…” I cut him off, ready to move on from the apologies and the what ifs. And just like that, my wish was granted. He had to go buy lunch for his daughter as he didn’t know how to make anything himself. He tried. Luke really did try…with his daughter, with me. But trying is never enough.
And just like that…closure.