Friendship is a casualty of love.
Oh, these words. I've shared them before, though they are not mine. They belong to someone else with a beautiful mind.
When he said them to me, I didn't want to believe them. I wanted to believe that, of course, exes could be friends. I thought that being unable to be friends was a weakness.
I was wrong. He was right.
A few posts ago, I mentioned to you guys that I've been experimenting with an ex. We wanted to see if we could do it, if we could be friends. Tonight, the chord was cut. For good.
(And so here we come to the last post on this topic. The experiment has reached its conclusion.)
Here's what was happening. We'd meet up, walk around, and then wind up at a long, long dinner where we'd share an appetizer, have a plate of our own, and then a few glasses of wine, too.
The brunt of this time together felt so good. It always feels so good to sit with someone you not only get along with, but know deeply. To be able to say, "Yeah, that must've freaked you out. That is so not your thing." Or, "Your mum said what? Ah, she is so cute." Or, "Listen to this, you'll relate..." And to know you're correct, because you know their history, their family, their mind.
Everything changes when the bill comes. When the little printer spits out your individual receipts, reality comes crashing down over you like hot rain.
The reason: in the past, things were different. One of us would grab the bill. It didn't matter who. Because, and here's the point, there was that certainty that things would settle into equilibrium. Because we thought there'd be more nights, more time together.
Now we are separate people, with our very own personal lives, our very own futures. And our very own receipts for dinner.
When the waiter leaves, it's time to reflect together on the night, on how we did, if we can do this again... because much as we would like to not have to, we do need to talk through things, because we are not normal "friends."
Tonight my intuition was just about shouting at me.
So, I said, "I have a strong feeling this doesn't end well for us." Or something to that effect. And I said, "This is too hard."
We talked on and on.
I told him my head has never been this confused in my life, that I couldn't possibly have feelings for two people at once, that it didn't make sense, that maybe actually my feelings for him were purely a twist of memory and transferred emotion from the other.
He told me somewhere in between the lulls of my ramble that, of course, I could have feelings for two people, because we're compatible with more than one person. It's just that life is about choosing the right one.
Long story short: We didn't choose each other. And we would never choose each other.
We'd both seen what it was like to be with someone, for however short or long a period of time, that was truly better for us.
So why did we even end up at this dinner?
Why did he and I both agree this last goodbye was sad?
Hadn't we'd healed when the layer of romance that kept us tied had shrivelled and died, months ago?
Friendship is a casualty of love.
I think that's what this was. Yes, the romance had long died. Yes, even the what-ifs had died. But we were feeling the weight of the final thread break. It was the friendship that we lay down in the coffin tonight.
I'll be honest, we had this talk at the restaurant and on the way out as we walked down the street. But I couldn't tie the bow on it there. I didn't want to cry. Not on him. Especially when I had a large feeling that the majority of my tears belonged to the wordsmith I keep quoting versus him. It wasn't fair.
And so the story ends with me dialing his number to have the last conversation. I am sitting in my living room, some thirty minutes after getting home.
After walking through my mind one last time.
After confirming, that yes this would be sad, that yes had we never dated we could have been great friends, and that yet yes this is still what I wanted to do.
Because this is what is healthy, this is what both he and I deserve, as this is what will open up space in our minds, and more importantly our hearts.
So that we can both, one day, sit down at our separate dinners with our respective special someones, and smile to the waiter.
So that we can take that single receipt, and feel the breath of stillness that comes with knowing we're, finally, exactly where we need to be.
Note: Here, I flip back and forth between present and past tense. Between the collective viewpoint and my personal lens. There's a reason for this. I hope you'll understand. My experiences are not only my own. I view them as universal human experiences. So they aren't so bound to a moment, to an individual. But, then again, their roots are there.