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When love remains—with no regrets—at the end of a relationship

A Dogwood in Viridem

April 13, 2017 Fredrick Mitchell   Comments

The New Year couldn’t have begun in a more ideal way. The man I love got to meet my family and we celebrated the New Year with good friends and plenty of champagne for lasting memories. This was, however, just the surface and before I knew it, it was time for Keith to head back to his life in California. I figured by now that we had been long distance for so long that it would be easier to handle. Somehow though it never got easier seeing him leave and this time was no different.

It was now Keith’s busy season at Deloitte, which meant that he went into work at around 8 and didn’t get home until 11pm his time. This would put him getting off at 1am my time. His workdays also increased to Monday-Saturday so the only real day we would’ve ideally had to talk is Sunday. The strains of this combined with my efforts to transition to Europe were definitely felt as we entered February. Things escalated and we began arguing over it and when the gloves came off it wasn’t pretty for either of us.

“You didn’t hear from me for ONE day and you get the nerve to call me at work, which I answered for by the way, and instead of a nice loving boyfriend I get ‘Hello, can I speak to Keith please?’ I just feel like you aren’t being understanding of the fact that I have to work,” Keith said hotly one weekend afternoon while he was out at brunch.

“Yes Keith! That’s because I am upset. We have been over and over this! You work! I get it! So do I! I still manage to find time to send you text to reach out to you in some shape or form. Keith if I don’t reach out to you I won’t hear from you! Not until umpteen o-clock in the morning. I love you but I have to work too. I have to be up at 4am to prepare for work. Waiting up until 1am to talk to you is something I want to do, but I can’t do it every day. I have to function at work. I feel like I’m not a part of your life there! I feel like I’m some cheap part time whore that you fly to visit every now and then!” I said my anger getting the best of me throwing all the self help books I had read straight out the window.

“Really Javari? Whore? You know what I can’t keep dealing with this. If you’re going to be like this then don’t come this month!” he retorted vehemently. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

“Keith…what the hell?! Where did that come from?” I asked trying to mask the sting of his comment.

“I can’t keep being punished for things out of my control. I wish I had a better job with better hours I do, but this is my reality. I do not. I had to put up with your temper tantrum in Atlanta. That was embarrassing to have to go through in front of my friends. I get that you are mad but I am out with my family and your insecurities have honestly made being in this relationship unbearable,” he shot back.

I didn’t know what to say. Tears welled in my eyes as I searched for words. He spared me by saying he was going to enjoy his brunch and we would talk later. I sat up all night trying to understand what had happened. Here was a man who claimed to love me, pushing me away. Every attempt I made to voice the issue was met with a defense instead of a willingness to work it out.

“I don’t know what to do. I honestly…I feel like it’s a losing battle,” I told Wade that night.

“Every time I bring it up it’s an argument where I have to be the understanding one. Because his job is so time consuming I’m supposed to suck it up and be the good little wasp and pretend it doesn’t bother me that I don’t hear from my boyfriend at all. I totally understand he works. I do. But he doesn’t work 24 hours a day. The commute to and from work is time enough for some sort of communication. A ‘hey babe hope you have a good day’. Or a ‘hey I miss you’. Something. He used to do that and I loved it. He has called me ONCE when he was out to lunch. ONCE in the entire time we have been dating. It’s so frustrating Wade! I love him but I don’t know how much more I can take. All I want is for him to want to talk to me as much as I do him. I want him to want me as much as I want him. I’ve been out there on a limb alone and I don’t want to do that again. I can’t. I just want him to tell me that it’s me. I just want him to tell me that I’m the one!” I said crying on the phone. Wade remained silent through my venting and responded only when I had broken down into a fit of tears.

“Do you think love is enough here?” he asked simply. I closed my eyes on the phone. I knew what he was referring to but I couldn’t hear it. We talked for a bit more before I let him go and turned to a bottle of red wine for comfort instead.

The next evening I got a call from Keith. This would be the hardest conversation we had ever had.

“I don’t know. If we can’t get it together here Javari, in the same country, do you think we stand a chance when you go to Germany?” he asked in our conversation.

“Do you love me?” I asked quietly. There was a long pause on the phone where I could hear him crying as well. Keith wasn’t an emotional person so I knew this was hurting him as much as it was me.

“Do you love me?” I repeated voice cracking with emotion.

“Do you love me enough to work through this?” I asked which was answered by yet another silence. That silence was all the answer I needed. It was in that moment that my heart broke. It was in that moment when he couldn’t even tell me that he loved me that I knew that it was over.

“I don’t know. I just... I need time Javari,” he said.

The next day we broke up.

To me it wasn’t a vengeful breakup. I did it because I felt like it was right. The distance and time had corroded what was there. He needed someone who was willing to have a lot less communication that I did. I needed someone who wasn’t afraid to let me know that I was the one. I didn’t want us to end up hating each other and I felt it was best to do it now before we risked that happening.

“It’s been two months since that day, February 11th. We haven’t spoken since. Not because I hate him, but because it hurts. It hurts to even hear his name. It hurts to see his face, smell his scent on a shirt, or recall the memories we made. I haven’t cried much. I think you only get so many tears per man and I think I’ve cried them out for him,” I said flatly over a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon while talking to my good friend Elijah.

“Ugh! Don’t you just hate that! Giving so much of yourself to a person and them just like that they change and show their ass?!” he spat. I shook my head.

“I love him Elijah,” I responded. Elijah opened his mouth to retort but I stopped him.

“I do. I know we aren’t together but I love him no less. I can’t hate him. He’s not a bad guy. I hate letting him go and I wish him nothing but love. I know that’s hard to believe with how much I’ve bitched but I was hurt. I will never stop loving that man,” I said meaning every word.

The truth was that I didn't regret falling in love with him. He came into my life as a beacon of hope. Hope that somewhere out there in this big wide world of ours is a man who is not afraid to tell me I'm the one. A man who can love me for who I am; flaws and ugly imperfections too. There's a man who seeks to quell my insecurities not buckle under them.

Somewhere out there is my Big love. And that's worth waiting for.

 

 

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