3: Let it Burn
“Have you ever wondered if, when I say I am going to see a movie with the girls, I actually really go? Has the thought ever crossed your mind that I may say we are hanging out, but I would actually be somewhere else?”
They had been dating over a year, and in that time have broken up and made up more than any couple he knew.
Not so surprisingly, it was always over the same things.
He took the phone from his ear and looked at the caller ID displayed. The caller sure sounded like her, and the name and number were hers, but the questions were strange, without grounds and unnecessary to say the least. True they were having one of their cold wars – he could not remember what this one was about – but these questions bordered on trust, and he had never had trust issues. At least not where she was concerned.
How could he? They practically lived together. He spent a lot of time at her place; they slept together at night, napped together during the day. She dropped him off for work and he her – depending on who had the time off, or they just went together. Pick up after work followed the same pattern. And when they were not working, they stayed at home – her place usually. She cooked while he worked on the computer, or he cooked and she pottered about around the house.
As far as he knew, their day revolved around each other. Except those times when for any reason he had to return to his place – usually by himself. Then she would try and occupy herself socially by hanging out or just chilling at home with her girls.
This was one of those times.
“If that was supposed to be a joke, it ain’t funny,” he said in a level tone. “You really don’t understand me, do you? When I love, I trust a hundred and twenty percent. So if you choose to lie to yourself about your movement, then what can I say? My trust is yours to lose.”
“I am not saying there is a need for you to be distrustful, I just wonder sometimes if you ever get jealous, or suspicious.” came her feeble attempt at explaining.
As he is wont to do, he laughed for a few seconds before answering. “No, I never let suspicion into my mind. And yes, I do get jealous, but trusting you like I do, I tell myself there’s no need for the green-eyed monster. Truth be told, if you seek, you will find. Question is: will you find the truth, or a just a set of ‘facts’ that will point to a convenient truth?” He knew how so much circumstantial evidence can make a cast iron case in suspicious minds. He knew because he had lived it.
“I don’t know,” she said. “I really don’t know.”
Exasperated, he asked, “What is this about?”
And her answer came weakly, “Nothing.”
“Except..?” He tried again. “Oh forget it.” She said.
“It was important enough for you to mention it. So please talk to me.”
After what seemed an eternity, she said: “It’s a feeling I get in my spirit. Like we are not being completely open with each other. Sort of like we are consciously putting up fences. Communication between us isn’t a strong point in this relationship.”
Here we go again, he said to himself. To her he said, “How can we communicate effectively when you seem to hold a lot of things inside? You start to tell me something and then you clam up. I am not a mind reader, so how do I know the things you won’t tell me?”
Her next word took him aback.
“I am not afraid to talk to you. It’s just that I am sometimes afraid of how you will react. Remember when I asked you what your silence meant? You offered an explanation, but sometimes I need an answer immediately, a reaction of some sort. From you it’s usually silence, then an answer when you please.”
This was met with silence at his end.
“There you go again!” She wailed, exasperation thick in her voice.
“I am mulling over all that you just said. There’s no way I can give you an answer in a hurry. Can we meet up when you return to town and talk about this? This is more than can be discussed over the phone.” After a short pause she agreed. “In the meantime I promise not to reach conclusions based on what I think you want to say. If ever anything is unclear, I will ask you to clarify.
“Fair enough.” She said. They said their good-byes and hung up.
Six weeks later they had another bust up.
Long story short, it could have been contained. May have been salvaged, but on that particular day she somehow managed to say all the wrong things. At one point, he was left with his mouth hanging open. He was left gob smacked by her replies.
He quietly asked her to leave before they both said more than they could ever come back from.
For an entire week he ruminated on this last spat, and in the entire period, there was not a single thing he missed about her at his place.
When they met the next week, after a few seconds of who-will-go-first, he cleared his throat and said “I have taken time to reflect on our relationship, and all I see is you wanting me to be something I am not.
“I am sometimes desperate not to disappoint you, but that is a recipe for disaster if ever there was one. I need a woman in my life and if you aren’t ready to let go of yourself, then let’s stop wasting each other’s time.
“We are not working. For the short term I know we will be wonderful, but long term? Nah. As partners with a freedom to leave when we want, yes. As a for-the-rest-of-our-lives couple? We won’t hack it. So I will free you of all obligations to me, break up our engagement and set you free.”
After he was done, a silence settled on the room.
Then in a tiny voice she said “I knew this was too good to be true.” Getting to her feet she continued, “You promised me you weren’t going anywhere – unless I asked you to leave – and yet here you are breaking up with me.”
Wrapping her arms around her stomach and hugging tightly, she said, “When you called me earlier to say you were on your way, I was at the hospital. I was hoping to share this under a different situation and atmosphere, but I am so taken by surprise by your decision. I didn’t see this coming. To say I am numb is putting it mildly, but know that in a little under eight months you will be a daddy.”
Let us make ‘Titles’ the subject of the formula for a clearer understanding of the equation so far:
He/Him = I = Daddy;
She/Her = well, She/Her = Mummy.