When you fall spectacularly in the parking lot before getting into your car, heading over to your ex boyfriend’s house to drink and watch Fargo, and manage to hurt a foot, an ankle, a knee, and both palms, after a particularly awful couple of weeks of trying to make a new relationship work, it hits you quite keenly that there’s something metaphorical about showing up on his doorstep bleeding.
It’s not the first time he’s had to bandage you up, but it’s the first time after the breakup, several months before.
He cleans you up, gets bandages on your foot, your ankle, your knee.
Your palms are still bare, outstretched.
“I have to get some more bandages for . . .,” he begins.
You settle in. It’s a little like it used to be–the two of you with wine and then gin, watching tv, but you don’t throw your legs over his lap.
You’re more aware of your legs this time, what with the painful throbbing on your knee under your jeans.
In commercial breaks, you catch up. His kids, your aunt.
In one break, after you’ve moved on to the gin, you say, “Someone hurt me.”
You explain how a man was dating you, and then started treating you oddly. When you asked why, he said there wasn’t really a future, since you live thirty minutes from him, and since you don’t want to get married.
Of course, that was all true when this new guy first messaged you, when you has those dates, when he met a couple of your friends: it said so right on your profile–where you lived and that you didn’t want to get married–that you wanted a partner but without the cohabitation.
You told this new guy that your profile explains–has always explained–what you want. He said you didn’t mean it. “You’re obviously just looking for hookups if you don’t want to get married. You can’t have real intimacy unless you live with someone.”
You cried. In front of this man.
You had only cried in front of your ex twice in a two year relationship, and once was about the break up.
Of course, the other ended up being a breakup too, but it wasn’t losing this guy that made you cry. It was frustration, being so misunderstood, having this guy tell you that you didn’t know what you wanted. Missing the kind of relationship you’d had before.
“Am I crazy for wanting what we had?” you ask your ex.
He puts his hand on your good knee.
“You’re the sanest person I know.”
Later, you bleed a bit through your bandage on the way home.
(Written recently, but about November.)