Please give whatever you can - if not money, then time...

Stand With Haiti

Friday, August 29, 2008

She broke us, but maybe it was for the best.

We'd been friends for eight years. He'd spent the first few months of our acquaintanceship (when we were teenagers) sort of smitten with me, but past that it was platonic-a-go-go. He was one of those guys, the ones that you think, yeah, he's a great guy - how come I'm not attracted to him? I wasn't. Not an inch. Not a sliver. Nothing.

And then somehow, one day, when the rest of my life was in complete chaos there he was. All stability and dimples. And I just fell right in.

He'd never had a girlfriend before, and I was some kind of way to start. Not "high maintenance" in a buy me presents and wait for me to put on my makeup kind of way, but very much so in an emotionally needy capacity. Before he even knew what hit him we were a full fledged couple, and he'd do stuff that would make me cry or yell and not have a clue as to why. Lessons that most guys pick up in their teens he was trying to hash out in his late 20's.

We had our days. We had a solid long-term friendship to build on, something that some couples never even get close to. And once I got him in the sack, he was dynamite. But... I'm a saboteur in my own life. I destroy. What is right, I make wrong... or at least, I used to. And so, I am sad to report, I proceeded to do most everything in my power to make him a miserable wreck. Not that I did it intentionally; I loved him more than anything. Every now and then I'd get sight of what I was doing and lose it; oddly enough that didn't really help matters.

Living in New Orleans comes with its quirks, and among them is hurricane evacuations. In September of 2004, we spent 22 hours in his unairconditioned van treking to Dallas for a storm that didn't end up getting even a little bit close to our city. Upon arriving at the hotel room, finally, I launched into at least four hours of criticism on his handling of the situation. Looking back now, that really may have been the beginning of the end.

When we returned home I decided that I really should just move into his house. After all, I hadn't slept at my place in over a month, so who were we kidding? One night I was sitting on the bed filling out change-of-address forms, and I looked up at him. "Did we ever actually talk about me moving in? I can't remember." I knew it had been bandied about, but to this day I don't know if the two of us actually ever said yes, let's do that. In any event, it was done.

Fast forward to August of 2005. Another hurricane, another evacuation. Like we had before we packed up the car with a few days' provisions and headed out, secure in the knowledge that we'd be back shortly. Of course, in this we were badly mistaken.

Katrina kept us away from the city and his house for untold ages. After a month of evacuee limbo, I could take no more. We decided, or maybe I decided, that I'd head up to New York to start on our new life, while he stayed in the vicinity of New Orleans so that when he was finally able to, he could wrap up the loose ends there.

I went to New York, got a job and an apartment, beckoned him to join me. But I'd overestimated the strength of our relationship, and underestimated his bonds to a city that I no longer deemed habitable. In a lover's capacity, we were simply not meant to be.

The death throws of our relationship lasted from September of 2005 to February of 2006, though the deed was done in January. When it came to the end it was me that said the words. And really, it was never that we didn't love each other. It was simply that we didn't work.

It took two years, but we're friends now, again. In the twelve or so years that we've meant something to each other, the year and a half where we shared a bed is merely a blip. I see him each time I visit New Orleans. He still has my cat and my bicycle and several of my books; I still think he's an amazing person.

As for me, I found a new one. We bicker like crazy; we're the best of friends - it's possible that a better match never has been made. The wedding is in March of 2010. Go figure.

The paths we find through life, it seems, are endlessly unpredictable.