So, last week was really bad. I had this overwhelming feeling that I had to do something. T was sick all week with strep throat so we didn’t talk much and I was glad because I wouldn’t have been able to hold it together.
When I went to therapy on Thursday night I told him I was going to break up with T on Sunday. Not forever, really, but for a few months or a year. Enough time for him to get his act together and show me he was ready for marriage. But if he didn’t, or couldn’t, then I would move on.
T had a big game on Saturday that he had been looking forward to so I wanted to not mess that up but I also wanted to talk to him at his home so he wouldn’t be upset driving home all that way. I mean, I at least would be mentally prepared. I certainly couldn’t break up with him over the phone. Even if I had tried he would have shown up at my door 2 hours later crying and wanting to talk to me in person.
So, I was determined to break up with T on Sunday, after church and lunch with his folks like usual.
I did not go to his house on Friday night because of the ice but I went early Saturday morning so that we could get to the coffee shop to play Twilight Imperium with his friends by 11am. I was really stressed thinking about Sunday but I tried not to think about it because I knew I would break down the moment I saw him.
I got to his house and then we left to play the game. Three others joined us, a man and his wife and a younger long haired guy. The wife started having contractions (she was 8 months pregnant) so they had to leave. It was okay though because we just didn’t use that section of the board. The three of us played until 9:30pm (yeah, one long game). T won, of course, but I was only 1 point behind him. Then another kid that T knew, about 17 yrs. old, joined us to play a quick game of Qin. He was a funny Asian kid whose head swiveled like radar every time a girl came in the door. It was really very funny.
After that we were both worn out so we went home and fell into bed. The next morning I got up and took a shower and then woke T. We went to church a little late and then met his parents for lunch, which took forever! I was anxiously watching the clock just wanting to get it over with because I was so nervous.
On the drive home T was talking but I couldn’t concentrate or even really look at him.
“What are you thinking about so hard?” he asked finally.
“Lots of stuff,” I replied quietly, my throat tight, “But I don’t want to talk about it in the car.”
He immediately started getting upset and asked what he’d done wrong.
“I’ll talk about it when we get home,” I replied, feeling stupid for not being able to hide it better and dragging out his pain.
We got home and he sat in his car for long moments.
“Come in the house,” I said and he let go of his death grip on the wheel and followed me inside.
We put down our stuff and then I pulled him into the guest room and sat him down on the bed, closing the door.
“I…” I started to say, unable to look at him. I sat next to him on the bed and hugged his arm.
“I made up my mind to break up with you today,” I said.
“What? Why?!” he asked, his voice breaking.
“It’s not that I don’t love you. I do, I do. No one could love you more. I just…”
I’m not sure what I said in reply, the fragments of hurt and fear and loneliness breaking out in a mishmash of words that made little sense to even me. I started crying.
“You’re not making any sense,” he said.
“I know. I’m sorry. I didn’t plan this. I couldn’t think about it or I wouldn’t have been able to keep myself together this long.”
“How long have you had your mind set on this?” he asked.
“A week,” I whispered, “All this week I knew I had to do something. It just hurt too much.”
“I knew there was something wrong. I was just too sick to figure out what,” he said quietly.
We both sat in silence as I tried to calm down and pull myself together.
“I want you to do whatever is best for you,” he said finally, “But I can’t imagine my life without you.” His voice was thick and I could tell he was trying to hold back.
I finally outlined what was wrong: the lack of a job, not moving forward in life, not making an effort to be with me, and so on. I told him that maybe I was coddling him, making it easy on him to stay where he was. Maybe by leaving he could move on.
“You’re not coddling me. You’re motivating me. Before you I had no idea what to do with my life and now, now I have a reason to be more. For us!”
Then he came back, telling me all the stuff he’d been doing. The interviews he’d gone on. The projects he was working on. Even planning to move out of his parent’s house. Things he hadn’t told me.
“Why didn’t you tell me any of this?” I cried in frustration, leaning against his chest and somehow in his arms.
“It’s kind of embarrassing. I didn’t get the jobs. None of it is successful yet. Nothing real has happened yet. And I was going to tell you all of it when I had something to show for it.”
“I don’t care if you didn’t get the jobs; you’re trying! That’s what matters! That’s what I want to hear about!”
“Oh,” he said quietly and paused, “You and I think very differently. I have to change my thinking. It can’t just be what’s successful, but what’s successful for US.”
“Yes!” I said, “If you don’t tell me than I can only assume nothing is happening. You have to TELL me.”
“Another communication issue we’ll work on,” he said, hugging me tight, “Stay with me,” he whispered, almost too soft for me to hear, “Please, please.”
We talked for a little while longer and as he held me tightly I again heard his whispered plea, “Please, stay.”
“I’ll stay,” I said at last, “I love you. I’ll always love you.”
He gave a half sob and buried his face in my hair.
“I love you. Forever and ever. You are the best thing that ever happened to me. You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen or even imagined. You are so special to me and I want you with me no matter what. I’ll never let you go, whatever it takes. Whatever you need me to do, I’ll do it. Just stay with me.”
“I will, I will,” I whispered, reassuring him.
I held him for a long while in silence as I ran over the conversation in my mind. I was exhausted. Drained beyond belief.
I had told Mom about my plan, thankfully, so it wasn’t a shock for her to hear how tired and upset sounding I was when I called home to say I was spending the night. I’d already planned on working from home Monday so it was not a big deal work-wise.
The rest of the night T didn’t leave my side. His parents wanted to go over to the grandparent’s house to check it out because that is where T is moving to so that he can fix it up and maybe buy it from them.
“I’m not trying to push you two into anything,” his mom said, “But you have been together for a long time and if you have any plans to get married we are willing to help you get started with this house, like my parents did for us.”
T’s hand was tight around mine and I knew he was thinking about how differently the conversation could have gone that night. We went to dinner with his parents too and then back home.
We sat in the bed and talked for a long while. Just about everything. He told me again and again how much he loved me, how special I was to him, how beautiful, how every other woman was invisible to him because of me.
“It’s like a pretty candle versus the sun. Yeah the candle’s pretty enough and gives light, but when you have the sun you don’t need a candle. The sunlight is blinding. Sometimes I feel like I need my sunglasses just to look at you.”
We hadn’t kissed all weekend because he had been sick but he kissed my cheek and forehead and then my lips.
“I couldn’t not kiss you,” he said, “If you get sick I’ll pay for the doctor, but I have to kiss you.”
We laid back in the bed and talked some more. This time we talked about the future. What it would be like when we are together.
We amused each other with silly fantasies and secret dreams.
“The more secrets we share, the clearer it is that we are made for each other,” he whispered.
I finally shared a secret nighttime fantasy of mine that I knew he would like but I was afraid of telling him.
“Master,” I whispered, silently laughing as a shudder ran visibly down his spine.
“This afternoon you were ready to break up with me and now you’re calling me Master. What changed?” he asked, his voice low.
“You love me,” I said quietly, “You love me.”
“I do. I do love you. Forever.”
A long pause to make out.
“How long have you wanted to call me that?” he asked finally.
“Since the time you asked me to use your name more,” I said truthfully.
He chuckled, “Slightly before I knew I wanted you to call me that. Because every time you said my name it sounded like Master somehow. And I liked it. But I couldn’t ask you to do that. You had to do it yourself.”
“It is biblical,” I teased with a naughty grin, “It says Sarah called Abraham ‘Lord’, so…”
He laughed and sat up.
“It means even more responsibility for me, though. But I want it. I want to be responsible for you. I want you to count on me. I want you to hold me to a higher standard. One thing, though… How far are you thinking about taking it?”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Well, some people go pretty far with the whole thing and I just want to make sure we are on the same page.” He went on to describe some things he had read and I made a face.
“No. Just a between us thing,” I said, “Nothing too weird. Our secret.”
“Good,” he said, “That’s what I hoped. I think we’re weird enough to other people without adding that in too,” he teased.
So… That was a big turnaround. Unexpected. But I feel better about our relationship now and more confident in our love for each other. I think we’re gonna make it.