He had a video and CD of mine. I had a book of his. It's an age old ritual and one that Ex David and I were about to partake in: the exchanging of the stuff.
I wasn't having a good day yesterday. Depression was looming and I felt like I had nothing on the horizon that I could get excited about. I just wanted to hide away, be invisible. I didn't want to be around people, yet I was uneasy being alone. Everything looked gray to me.
A few hours later, I got a package from Ex David in the mail. Perfect timing. I thought this would push me over into heavy sadness and felt a tickle of anxiety. No good putting off the inevitable: I tore open the padded envelope, inside of which was my CD and video. And a note. I didn't want there to be a note. Maybe there could be notes later, but right now it felt better to have correspondence completely severed. I took a breath, unfolded the paper and... nothing. A friendly, neutral note, a few sentences which triggered only one thought: "he's nice." Then a flood of relief that, even though there were once true feelings between us, we were better off apart. I mailed his book back right away, including a neutral note of my own.
A few years ago I read a novel about this fairly young woman whose husband dies. To help her cope, she makes a Good Riddance List, of all his negative qualities that she no longer has to deal with.
I don't want to rip into Ex David ruthlessly, because on the whole he's a good person and was a good boyfriend. Even so, it's easier to deal with the break-up by focusing on the bad than the good. I feel better remembering the things that gave me pause (I don't know if Ex David still checks my blog, but I'll warn that this would be a good time for him to stop reading). Here goes...
I remember the time he only tipped ten percent on check, at a nice restaurant with perfectly decent service (this makes me cringe; I can't tip less than fifteen percent, ever, and usually tip twenty).
I remember how our bodies didn't properly fit when we went to sleep, how his arm would go numb so he couldn't keep it around me for long.
I remember his love for sports (which I find boring) and proclivity to wear baseball caps (which I really don't like) and sneakers quite often.
I remember how he complained about the cost of the rental car and said that's why he doesn't travel much: it's too expensive.
I remember feeling uncomfortable that he's eight years older than me, yet I make more money in my not-very-well-paying media job, and have far less debt than he does.
I remember how compliant he was, sometimes too compliant, agreeing to do things my way with a slight edge of resignation (or even resentment?).
I remember how he only refrained from spitting in public because of how much I hated it, except for that time he spit into the subway tracks while we were arguing. Ew.
I remember how he'd repeat our in-jokes, a lot, to a point of predictability, to the point where I was bored of hearing them.
I remember tiring of all his theater talk, and being concerned about our different conversational paces in general (his is slower and more measured, mine is brisk and snappy).
I remember wishing that his palate was a bit more refined, that he would give sushi and other exotic cuisine more of a chance.
I remember wishing he wore cologne (I even offered to help him pick some out and buy a bottle he liked).
I remember wishing he was a little closer to the physical type I usually go for (tall, light-eyed, etc.).
I remember wishing he was a bit more dominant.
I remember wishing he made me laugh more.
I remember the first night we met, how I told him I used to be really shy and he said he couldn't believe it. I remember how he reiterated that statement months later, how part of me knew then that he would never properly understand me.
Remembering these things, I know some of them were reasonable concerns and others weren't. I also know it's a good thing that I'm single again, that I need to hold out for a better fit.