The solitude of Montana seemed like the cure-all for him. A reprieve from a city that hadn’t quite chewed him up but had most certainly given him all he could handle. After two years here in Chicago, he was done. The girlfriend, the job which had seemed so secure a few months ago, it was all gone. The shared apartment was now being rented out to another couple who agreed to take over the lease. The job had been dissolved, and he had been forced to take a position with a startup that paid bupkis compared to what he was making previously. The furniture got divided, and he had to decide what to keep and what to throw away as he moved his belongings from a large two-bedroom to a studio near a cheaper part of town. I’m sure it was difficult. Five years together is going to take some time to forget about. Which is where I came in. His mom drove in last weekend to help him move his stuff to the new spot. I met them for drinks late Saturday.
“So what’s next?” I asked.
“I don’t really know man.”
His mom, sensing that her son was slightly annoyed by my question fired back. “What are you up these days, Duda?”
“Got a big move coming up.”
“You gonna be breaking any hearts doing that?”
“I highly doubt it,” I said as I stared a hole through the beer I had just gotten set in front of me.
That cliché about losing a friend once he gets a girlfriend has some truth to it. Sure, you’ll still see your friend from time to time, but it’s a watered down version who never gets too drunk. He doesn’t laugh at the same jokes. He’s a shell of his former self, kind of like the return of a superstar after a horrific ACL tear. Some people refer to this phenomenon as “maturation,” but I don’t really know what that word means. I’m kidding, sort of.
My college roommate has always been a good guy. He’s a prick, sure, but people liked him in a way that they never liked me. His douchiness was different from my personal brand of douche. When we met in college, we both had serious girlfriends. We bitched in the living room about the stupid shit that we had to do with them. And then I got my heart torn to shreds, moved to Washington, D.C. and he stayed with his girl. By the time we moved down to Chicago, I was single, lurking in the shadows of dimly lit bars and dating apps, waiting for bites on my line. He, on the other hand, was trapped. I talked with mutual friends, dreading the day we would all get a text in our group chat that read something like “Welp, I’m engaged, boys”. I never actually told him he was trapped, but I knew it, our friends knew it, and he knew it. When one of your friends is in a shit relationship with the devil incarnate, you can’t tell them anything.
“My girlfriends crazy? I deserved to get that vodka soda dumped on me. You just don’t know her.”
Rationality is thrown out the window when you’re in love. I think in the back of his mind he regretted signing the lease with her that he just recently broke. A last ditch effort at saving a sinking ship. It was never going to last. The bickering that went on in public and behind closed doors finally drove him to the only option he had: break up. I’ve never broken up with a girl I was involved with seriously. I’ve told girls we should stop hooking up, but I’m usually the dumpee, so I don’t really know what it’s like to break up with someone you care about. I imagine it blows dogs for quarters, but it can’t be as bad for the person that’s ending things. I’m sure a wave of relief washes over that person. It’s good to have my single friend back again, and I’m pretty stoked for the next couple weeks. He’s going to get thrown into the fire this weekend. For him, after five years in a relationship, talking to a girl is going to be like riding a bike for the first time. Last night I texted him a YouTube link to a song that’s been of assistance to me in the past. It’s a song by Teddy Pendergrass called “Love TKO”, and I think it’s a perfect summation of what a breakup is:
“But another fight
Things ain’t right
I’m losin’ again
Think I’d better let it go
Looks like another love TKO.” .
Image via YouTube