Third Endings (Part One)

I’m heading over to her place. I only recently learned that she got a place of her own, but she’s actually been here for a while. We just haven’t been talking lately. I’m heading to her place to hash it out.

I walk out of Christie station and text her. Since I don’t know the way, she tells me to walk down Bloor until we meet halfway. I walk and eventually see her approaching me. She’s wearing tights, her baggy Les Mis sweater, and her long hair is still wet from a shower. For that reason I think about showers, specifically ones taken after the person’s been out sick for a while. They’ve been unable to do anything but wallow and wait out the worst of their illness, wishing for the energy to go about their day normally. Finally they think they feel well enough to wash up, but since they’re not entirely over their illness it’s a struggle. Standing up under the weight of the falling water is hard, but the longer they do it the longer they can postpone stepping out, feeling the warmth leached from their body as the water evaporates. They leave the shower in a daze, not rejuvenated like they hoped. She looks like this now, eyes glazed over from the strain of trying to keep up a routine while still sick, only instead of a cold or the flu she’s been out sick with depression.

Seeing her is always an adrenaline rush, but I stay calm as we say hi. We don’t even kiss. She walks me to her place. She opens the door and leads me inside, explaining to me that she has several housemates living on each floor. I never meet them. She takes me to her room in the basement.

Her room is small, not just floor-space-wise but height-wise. I have to duck slightly to get past the door. Any amount of floor space not taken up by her new furniture is covered by piles of old clothes. Above her bed is a hole in the ceiling that reveals a pipe covered in something that looks like it shouldn’t be inhaled. There’s a single window that, although it allows anyone on the front yard or even the sidewalk to peer into her room, has no blinds or curtains. On her night table are the words “Jesus doesn’t love me anymore”, which she wrote in patterned tape whilst drunk — drunk enough, I guess, to forget that she’s Jewish. On the wall above her pillow is a set of Christmas lights she got from work, and I wonder out loud why every girl my age decorates their room with Christmas lights.

Neither of us is ready to talk. We watch some weird music videos on her laptop for a while. It’s hard figuring out a way to situate ourselves on her bed, though. We usually default to closeness, but now doesn’t feel like the time. After a while I sit up with my back against the wall. I sigh. Finally I tell her how I feel, how suffocated I am in this relationship that she’s put no effort into, and how I want to be there for her but I don’t know how to.

“Well, I mean,” she says with a sad smile, “we haven’t really been dating these past few months, have we?”

“Oh.” I feel the air escape my lungs and the blood rush to my head. I try to talk my way through it. “Fuck. I mean… I think I knew that. I just pathetically hung on to the idea that maybe we still were, because it wasn’t explicitly said that we weren’t.” I feel trapped in this room but I can’t move. I try not to look at her. In my peripheral vision I can see her shrug in a way that I think she thinks is sympathetic.

“I’m sorry I ghosted you,” she says, not sounding terribly sorry. “But, it’s probably better that way. I’m just no good.” I roll my eyes.

“Don’t say it like that.”

“Like what?”

“Like you’re in a bad movie.” I raise an imaginary cigarette and affect a carefree slouch. “I’m just… no good for you!” I end my impression by pantomiming taking a drag. She scoffs but smiles.

I watch her as she sits across from me, on a strange bed, in a strange room. She’s unfamiliar to me now. I’m mad at her, but there’s a kind of helplessness in being mad at a stranger. I’d give anything to be with the girl I was with this past winter, the girl so full of life and lucidity.

Her hair’s mostly dry now, but her eyes are still glazed over.

Way It Was is a writing project and ongoing attempt to work through a lot of relationship related shit. Find out more about it here.

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