There are few things sadder in this life than watching someone walk away after they’ve left you, watching the distance between your bodies expand, until there’s nothing but empty space and silence.
— Jane, in Someone Like You
Can you call in sick with a broken heart?
Oh, I knew he wasn’t going to come here and tell me he’s left her because he’s madly in love with me, but still, some small part of me hoped that maybe . . . And of course he’s not going to cheat on her – he’s not that guy, and I wouldn’t want to be with him if he was. And like he said, I deserve better than to be someone’s other woman. But I feel so sad, and I don’t know what to do.
On the way here, in his car, he said, “The more I think about what I want to say, the more I realize there isn’t that much to say.” I said, “Are you nervous? I’m nervous.” He said no. We passed most of the ride in silence.
When we got here, I changed clothes and offered him a beer. He declined; I opened one, but never took a sip. He started: “I can’t. I won’t,” he said. He apologized for sending the wrong signals (which he did, often), and I apologized for trying to charm him away from her (which I did, often). He said he didn’t want to tell me some platitude about how if things were different, even though it’s true. I told him I’d tried for a long time to make these feelings go away because I knew it couldn’t end the way I wanted it to. He said he’d try harder to be a better friend now that there’s no underlying meaning in everything. I told him it might take me a couple of days to feel like I could talk to him again.
I did not say all of the things I’ve been practicing in my head for the last two weeks – that I think I might love him, that I want to kiss him, that I always want to be wherever he is. She is not pregnant, which was my biggest fear because it’s the only thing that’s not fixable if he wanted it to be (“I don’t want to fix it,” he said). He is, I’m sure, not going to send me flirty text messages anymore, and I am sorry about that. I liked getting them; they made me feel good about myself, and they made me feel special. I only cried a little while he was here; now I can’t stop.
I don’t know what I expected, and I know it’s crazy, but right now, in this moment, I feel like if he doesn’t or can’t love me, then I am going to be alone forever. Because I don’t know how to meet anyone else, I am not good at it. He was my friend and we rode the train together, which is how we got to know each other, and I felt like I could be myself around him, and there is no one else here that I trust that much. And every time I saw a couple out somewhere, I imagined us. I wanted to hold his hand.
I had thought from the beginning of our friendship that we were inevitable, but I was wrong. And it’s my own fault. It isn’t like he lied to me – although it did take two and a half months of riding the train together once a week for him to tell me he had a girlfriend, and that was only after he’d asked me to have a drink with him. But from that point on, I was on notice, and I still let myself develop feelings for him, and now here I am, sitting at the computer in tears, pouring my heart out to strangers.
“You drove all the way over here to say four words,” I said. “They needed to be said,” he answered.
I don’t know what to do. I’m sad.