London and Drunken Laundry
I don’t think she had intended for the phone call to result in her breaking up with me, but we got there all the same. I had suspected that the end was in sight, so I preempted things.
“Are you breaking up with me?” I asked her on the phone. “Because the sense I’m getting is that you’re breaking up with me.”
She answered that she didn’t know, that two years inLondonwas a long time, that we’d already been long distance for two years, that my last visit to her in upstateNew Yorkfelt a bit contentious. That we started dating when she was seventeen, that’s so young, Jeff. We got so serious so quickly, but it seems like it’s going to take forever for us not to be long distance. You seem settled back inVermont, and I don’t see myself back there soon. It’s so hard, baby, and I mean, I thought maybe we’d stay together until I left in August, but now, I don’t know, are we breaking up? I mean, I guess that’s what this is, then? You’re one of the best people I know, Jeff. No, I don’t, I’m not just saying that. I talked to Mum and my sister yesterday. This is so hard; she’s so upset about it, she still sees you as the older brother she never had. That’s sweet of you, she’d love to hear from you. Okay, well, I guess that’s it, then? We’ll talk again, though, right? Okay, I’m sorry, I love you, good-bye.
I had been lying down on my back, my feet draped over the foot of the bed. I hung the cordless phone, looked at the red talk light go out, observed the number pad for a lengthy moment. I got up, heard the creaking of the box-spring, noted that I felt a little dizzy.
I should be crying or something, I thought. I tried to conjure up tears. None appeared to want to come, which I found somewhat disappointing. You’re in a relationship; the phone rings. You talk for a few minutes. You hang up. You’re single. She was right, though. Not that that made me any happier about it.
I walked around my apartment, dragging my feet on the carpet and taking stock of the scratching, scuffing sound that I made. I called my friend Mary, who lived down the street. I asked what she was doing tonight. She mentioned her plans. I asked her if she wouldn’t prefer coming over to do laundry and kill a twelve pack or two with me. I explained that I was newly single.
She was over later that evening; she did laundry; we drank beer. She said how breaking up over the phone is so not cool. As I got drunker, I began to disseminate the news to other friends online. Michael and Rich said that they would be up fromBostonin thirty six hours. Another friend would also come. Another friend would say via chat that the upside was that I got to watch all the porn I wanted, and sent me a few links. Mary and I were proper drunk, and I think I acknowledged out loud that tomorrow was going to hurt more than today.
The weekend would be spent drinking more, playing games, walking around town, and drinking again. They all drove home on Sunday. I washed the dirty glasses. I took pictures of myself without a shirt on.