#3 That Breakup Talk

She reached twenty seven minutes late. For a change, I was the one waiting for her that day. Though it wasn’t tough for me – it’s easy to kill time when you’re sitting on the edge of marine drive, overlooking the sea. She arrived, threw her handbag and sat about ninety inches away from me.

I looked at her, but she wasn’t looking back. I was looking to have a matured conversation with her and was hoping she would be less furious. It had been a month that we were not talking. One day, I made a confession to her, we had a loud argument about it and then she abused me for an hour and then, poof – relationship over.

“Why are we here?” She asked.

“I wanted to talk to you,” I said.

“Is there anything left to talk about?”

“Nothing much, but I think we both need a closure,” I said.

“…a closure?”

“Yes, a closure. We were together for more than two years. To end things without any closure did not feel right.”

“Oh. Is this one of those… we-can-try-to-be-friends, kind of talk?” She asked

“Not at all – I don’t believe in the concept of couples being friends after a relationship and you know that.”

“What is it, then?”

I sighed and looked for the right words to explain what exactly I was feeling.

“Yesterday, while I was shopping in a mall, I saw someone and thought it was you. I got scared. I was looking for a place to hide. When I realized it’s someone else, I began to think of a situation – a situation where years from now, if we see each other somewhere, what are we going to do?” I said and looked at her.

She looked back, but remained silent.

“That’s when I thought that we need a closure. I felt that there should always be a scope to say hi,” I said.

“…and then start with a new argument?”

“You really think it’s always going to be like this? You know, what we’re feeling now, won’t even matter in a few years,” I said.

“Won’t matter? You cheating on me, being so irresponsible in this relationship… all this won’t matter?”

I leaned closer to her.

“Look, I know I did the wrong thing. It’s not like I slept with her. I just developed a curiosity and went out with her. We just –” I stopped myself from saying further.

“– kissed,” she said it instead “and that, of course, is not cheating to you.”

“It is. That’s why I had the guilt. That’s why I confessed it to you. For a moment, I want you to keep the emotions aside, think practically and ask yourself why I must have done that,” I asked. “Maybe I wasn’t content with the life I was sharing with you. Maybe, I needed something else. Otherwise, why would I even look towards some other girl?”

“Oh. So you’re here to tell me that I suck and that’s why you cheated on me,” she furiously asked.

“No, that was not my intention. It has nothing to do with you being bad or I being good or vice versa. What I am trying to say is… when we got into the relationship – it was as if we tried to mix oil with water. We tried to put both liquids in one container, but they were insoluble with each other. That does not make oil or water less important. They both have an important place, but separately, away from each other.”

“So… you and that bitch were soluble?”

“Nope, I didn’t connect with her either. She needed a different life than what I’ve imagined for myself,” I said.

She snorted.

“You sound like one of those Casanovas who just don’t want to commit.”

“Maybe that’s what I am. Maybe, that’s what I’ll take away from our relationship. The fact that I am scared of commitments – don’t you think this heartbreak has taught us a lot?” I asked.

“I don’t know. I am not an analytic of feelings and emotions like you. All I know is I am going to stay away from charming morons like you.”

“There you go. Isn’t that clarity about what expectations you have from your better half?”

“I have the clarity, but no more expectations. You killed all of them. You couldn’t even remember our special days and monthly anniversaries, forget other things,” she said

“That’s what I am trying to say. I hate the concept of monthly anniversaries. I am not that kind of person. You should understand that your expectations were not wrong, the person you were involved with was. You should kill the relationship and move on, not your expectations. Next time when a guy asks you out, at least you’ll know that you’re looking for someone who would happily bring you flowers every month on that special date.”

“You couldn’t have done that, right? It was such a big effort for you, that you chose to end the relationship instead,” she said.

“Even if I would have done those things, you might have felt good initially, but eventually you would have known how empty those efforts are,” I said.

She wiped her tears and looked towards the sea. For the next few minutes, the sound of waves filled the silence between us. She sniffed and looked back at me.

“What do you want from me? Why are we here talking for no reason?” She asked.

“I just want both of us to be okay with what we went through together. I want both of us to close this chapter here and begin with a new one,”

“…and you think it’s easy?”

“No. It’s not. I know you won’t believe me, but it’s hard for me too. I’ve invested a lot in this relationship too, and you know that. But I want both of us to throw all the bad times we had together in this sea, take home the good ones as memories and move ahead.”

“Move ahead to what?”

“Well… there’s a whole world waiting for us. If you think about it – there was a life we had before we met each other, and there will be a life after we part ways. The life we had together is just an experience. An experience that helped us understand ourselves and our needs better, helped us grow into better human beings.”

“So you’re saying that our coming together, having all those special feelings for each other, sharing love and intimacy with each other, all that was nothing? You’re going to label it as just another experience and behave as if we’re strangers now – as if we don’t even know each other?” She asked.

“As I said in the beginning, there should be a scope to say hi. Look, we’re definitely not enemies or friends, not lovers, of course; also we can’t just hang around each other and say we’re ex-lovers but now it’s all cool and platonic.”

“What are we then?”

“It’s like, we’re two people who once shared a great bond, who knew each other in and out, knew every possible dirty secret of each other, but don’t fit in each other’s life now. We run parallel and wish each other well. But in those odd moments when these parallels intersect, we say hi and go back to being parallel.”

She wasn’t angry anymore, but didn’t look convinced about what I told her. She remained silent.

“I am sorry Rupaali, for everything;” I bowed my head and said, “I am just two years of your potential 80-90 years of life, just a blip in the larger scheme of things. Please let it go. Don’t let this affect you.”

She tried to process what I told her, but looked bewildered. Her tears appeared again, her anger overpowered and a minute later, she picked up her bag and got up.

“Bye,” she managed to say and turned to walk away.

I continued to look at the sea, feeling a lot lighter after having that breakup talk. I think we both needed it. Most guys just walk away without talking because that’s the easy thing to do. I was proud to do things the hard way. Weeks later, I realized that it made me a better person, a more responsible one.

For next two years I didn’t see her; there was no news of her at all. One day, I was shopping in a mall and saw Rupaali again. This time it was her for real. She was with a guy. He was buying her a new watch. I smiled when I noticed the date. It was her birthday. Just when I was about to look away, she spotted me looking at her and our eyes met.

For a second, her smile disappeared. Then, something struck her and the smile was back on. She raised her hand and waved at me, her lips moved to say ‘Hi.’ I smiled and waved back. We both then looked away continuing to do our business.

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