Look back when noth­ing re­mains

Cosmopolitan (Philippines) - - Love, Lust & Other Stuff -

Maybe I was too busy for her. Work was tough. I’d got­ten pro­moted, which meant a met­ric ton of new work, req­ui­site panic at­tacks, and wak­ing up in the morn­ing still wear­ing my of­fice clothes be­cause I’d been too ex­hausted to change the night be­fore. I’d promised to call her ev­ery day, even dur­ing over­time; some­how that al­ways got resched­uled.

Maybe her dad’s at­ti­tude was rub­bing off on her. Tito hated my guts, hated them ever since I had one of my first din­ners over at their place, hated them even more when he found out that his lit­tle girl, her beau­ti­ful chin jut­ting for­ward, told him that I was her boyfriend and there was noth­ing he could do about that. But the dad’s dis­like never re­ally waned, and that chin jut­ted out a lit­tle less each year, it seemed.

Maybe our at­ti­tudes about re­li­gion were ul­ti­mately in­com­pat­i­ble. Maybe I wasn’t am­bi­tious enough about get­ting money to re­ally in­vest in any sort of fu­ture. Maybe I did think about other peo­ple too much. Maybe I’d truly be­come less and less easy to love, and harder and harder to for­give.

But then again, I could turn the blame around, and fix­ate on ev­ery­thing that she did wrong, and con­ve­niently trans­form self-pity into right­eous fury. This was on her. I was the one who’d got­ten tired of her. It was my pas­sion that had died, and she’d been the one to de­liver the icy ex­e­cu­tion.

That’s re­ally how these kinds of re­la­tion­ship post-mortems go: a weigh­ing-scale blame game trivia show of whofell-out-of-love-with­whom-and-why. Those first few months (or years, or decades, de­pend­ing on your con­sti­tu­tion) of love feel like such a vi­brant, liv­ing thing—to look back at them when noth­ing re­mains but white ashes is to won­der where it all went wrong.

My ex and I, we’re still friends. Not good ones, but we’re cor­dial. When we see each other, there’s good-na­tured ban­ter­ing about what used to be, and why I was the worst, and why she was the worst, and boy were we smart or what about get­ting out of that night­mare. Some­times the laughs are forced. Some­times the pas­sion that we’d so ef­fec­tively and eas­ily eu­th­a­nized sits be­tween us like a corpse.

Pick­ing up the pieces.

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