In The Meantime: Closure?
If you’ve been following the “In The Meantime” the dating series, all this time, you’re no stranger to this storyline. For all the new visitors, even if you don’t look here, here, and here, if you have loved and lost, you’re no stranger either.
We all consider our love stories atypical. While this may be true, in terms of individual idiosyncrasies, we still find ourselves finishing our gal pal’s tales of torrent and triumph, before they finish the story. The reason we’re able to do this: No matter the circumstances, the trajectory is the same with all past loves. There was a start, middle, and an end. Even though there are several variations of the love story’s ending we always feel it coming. Whether we’re in denial about it or confronting it head on, we feel its presence from a mile away. And so, while your home girl rattles on about her love affair, you anticipate a rocky road upon hearing:
I didn’t hear from him for a couple of days…
He said he’d call me back and when he did…
We sat on his sofa and talked about it, but ultimately…
Someone out there put you in this exact position. It happened again, and again, and perhaps again. Now you’re a master of recognizing it.
I often wonder if my friends stumble upon the rocks in my roads, before they’ve left my lips. I watched their eyes for precaution, as I stumbled in and out of my two-step with Micah. Nothing. They just wanted me to be happy.
Well, except for one. Ryanne threw her arms up in protest, as I packed my bags for D.C.
She yelled loud enough for my neighbors to hear, “If you’re going to perform, go to perform. Enjoy your favorite city; rip the venue. I don’t know why you have to see him too.”
“We’re friends. Well, kind of. He’s done with the girl he was dealing with. We’ve been conversing; we don’t feel like that about each other anymore.”
“Bull. Absolute bull. You still love that man.”
I rolled my eyes at her. I’d spent months wishing myself out of love with Micah and was finally at the point where I could say his name and breathe, at the same time.
“I do not. I will always have a space for him in my heart, but it isn’t like that.”
My best friend Ryanne was around during our entire “romance.” She was a part of my birthday weekend, knew of all my plans to see him, and disapproved the entire time.
“You deserve better than this. Why can’t you go on dates with other people?”
“I do go on dates!”
“Really? With who?”
She cut me off, “Don’t even bring up that brief interaction you had with that flake.”
I sighed. I spent the last four months getting to know someone, who turned out to be a complete a-hole.
“I need closure, Ryanne.”
“Is that it? Nothing else?”
“I swear. I owe it to myself. He owes it to me. Maybe he and I can be friends.”
Ryanne walked over to where I was packing my suitcase and sat on it, trying to help me zip it up.
“I support you, but you can’t be friends with someone you’re still in love with. You’re my best friend, I know you better than anyone. Micah was your first real love. You wear it on your sleeve.”
I rolled up my sleeve, conscious that she might be right. I zipped the suitcase shut. I changed the subject.
I left my showcase with a palm full of poems and a heart filled with anxiety. Micah promised to pick me up from the event, right after. He wasn’t able to attend, because of a networking engagement. I sat on a nearby bench and played nervously with my watch. He was late. Fifteen minutes felt like an eternity.
Just as I was about to pick up my phone and call him, he pulled up. I don’t think I could quite paint a picture of how good he looked, as always. It wouldn’t do him justice.
I walked over to the car, as he got out of the driver’s side to let me in. I was halfway in, when I realized I needed to touch him.
He smiled, “Nah. I was going to hold out.”
I hit him in the arm, while he pulled me into one of his amazing embraces. He smelled like rain. He’d always been the kind of man with a natural scent, bereft of heavy cologne or dreadful musk. I inhaled.
We grabbed something to eat. We found somewhere to sit and take in one another’s eyes. We talked, for hours.
I’m skipping details, because the conversation is what is important. Everything unsaid was unraveled, in silence or in splendor, but we said it all.
We spoke about the usual: Our careers, how we maintained the equilibrium between our passions/jobs and the debate on whether they were one and the same, music (our most powerful thing in common), his daughter, my last date, and everything else that could keep us from talking about the day we fell in love.
I brought it up, because something we’d been speaking on prior to made it relevant, “Actually, let’s not talk about that day.”
“You’re right. I mean…if that’s something you can’t handle.”
This sounded like a challenge. I hated feeling like I couldn’t conquer a challenge, “I can handle it. I just…”
He said something smart. I don’t quite remember what is was, but it was the way Micah deflected things that were uncomfortable.
I laughed, “I’m gonna punch you!”
“I’ve always found it cute that you avoid intimacy with aggression.”
I huffed and repositioned myself, in my seat, “I do not.”
“You do. It’s okay, I get it.”
Micah was good at peeling back my layers, piece by piece. He was a pro at making me feel naked, in the most public of spaces.
“You don’t really want to be here. I can tell.”
My face wrinkled in confusion.
He continued, “You wanted me to say no. You wanted me to tell you not to come here.”
“Why would I want that?”
“Because you want to be relieved of me. You want me to let you go. You can’t do it on your own.”
He was right. I didn’t nod. I couldn’t speak. We stared at one another for several minutes and let the background noise sink its teeth into our silence.
I finally found my voice, “So why didn’t you tell me not to come?”
He couldn’t give an answer. Our months of silence hung above us and cracked open, answers splitting the air as fast as our hearts were beating.
After several more hours of catching up, we finally said goodbye.
Our farewell was nothing like I’d imagined it. Even though I’d told Ryanne that I had no intention, several scenarios played out in my mind during the train ride there:
A long and passionate argument that inevitably ended in a kiss…
A trail of “I’m-sorry” and “I-was-wrong” …
An awkward quiet and a why-are-we-here…
A bouquet of flowers and let’s-try-again…
An indignant response of nah-brotha-you-had-your-chance…
However, closure, when/if we get it, never looks anything like we imagined it. For me, it was wrapped in a conversation that resembled one from our early days. We were at the end of our road, closing out our trajectory. With no expectations, we laughed like teenagers and shared notions knowing that if anyone was hurt it didn’t matter. I closed my eyes and waited for the feeling to come. I just knew that I could replay every part of our conversation and our “ending” would be clear in something he said. I couldn’t feel it. Perhaps it was too soon. However, I’d made it clear, to myself, that this was the finale. We were done. Nothing was going to come of it.
Come back next Tuesday for the next installment of the series!