The Leavings Of My Finger Sandwich

The game is afoot. Things are a’changin’. Life is about to kick me in the face, probably. Hopefully not, but most likely. And it’s quite possible that I deserve it for having been such a fucking coward for the last great portion of my life.

Thursday night, I broke up with my boyfriend of 7 years and a handful of months. I “talked it out” with him over the weekend, then gratefully accepted his offer to leave the house for awhile while I “thought about it,” knowing that I’d been thinking it over for way too long already.

In my mind, it had had been a year or so since I’d come to terms with the fact that we were not working as a couple. A year is a long fucking time, right? Well, tonight, I was going through old photographs on Facebook.

That’s a lie.

Tonight, I was hurriedly downloading all of the photos that the ex had ever taken of me that were tagged on Facebook, just in case he decides in a fit of pique to maybe destroy them all. Anyway, I’m downloading photo after photo, moving back through the years, looking at all the images of happier times, yadda, yadda, yadda. (Really, I was looking for the ones where my cheekbones are most defined and you can tell that I’ve inherited my grandmother’s green eyes.) Then I get to a photo of a karaoke party that I attended – alone – in 2009.

My old a capella buddy from undergrad, Shane, invited me to the party after I moved back to Chicago. It was all his med school friends, and I should have felt out of place, except that they played Guitar Hero all night, and everyone learned my name, and for a few hours I was friends with the cool kids. It was a fun party, despite my initial misgivings.

There was good food, too. Little finger sandwiches. I used to love them, back before gluten became a no-no. I remember snagging what could have possibly been a handful of little sandwiches in the kitchen, then running into Shane as I was stuffing my face. He’s painfully handsome, like a young John Travolta, so it’s always been tough for me to take him seriously. But he’s also dreadfully kind and sincere. He basically belongs in a romantic comedy as the “other” dude. The good catch that gets dumped in the end for the funny dude with issues. For a girl like me, guys like that are just eye candy – and I need my brain to be working to make everything else line up just right.

Shane’s adorable and kind, and I’ve looked at him more like an older brother ever since he got me into the a capella group during sophomore year of college. So it’s really no wonder that at this party, as I’m trying to shove sandwiches down my gullet, he starts talking to me about relationship stuff. At some point he asks me about my relationship with my boyfriend (now ex). He asks how long we’ve been together. By this time, it was over 3 years. Shane asks, “Do you think you’ll get married?” And I remember quite clearly how I felt.

There was a pause. I looked at him. My eyes narrowed, the way they do when I’m considering if I should tell the truth or not. I still remember how it felt to be mid-swallow, to feel the Bunny Bread triangle getting stuck in my throat, and how that was somehow less uncomfortable than me answering, “Maybe. I dunno, haven’t thought that far.” Meanwhile, inside, my little beast, the real me, was screaming “NO!”

So I knew, in 2009, that it wasn’t working. What is it about me that I’d take that visceral reaction and turn it into non-action for the next FIVE YEARS?????????? (I’m feeling dramatic, but my pinky’s getting tired. Do me a favor and imagine that the question marks just keep going.)

Now I’m starting to wonder if Shane knew this, too. Have I underestimated him? Did he see something that I didn’t? I’d ask him, but he’s probably elbow-deep in pussy right now. No, seriously – he’s an OBGYN. No, I’m not making that up.

Either way, it’s all over now. The relationship is over, and I’ve stopped downloading photos. I don’t really care what I looked like prior to 2009, or if I have those shots for posterity. I’m only interested in what happens next. From now on, it’s all about today. Well, not tomorrow – tomorrow’s going to suck. So much work at the office. But you know, after that.

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