Girls You Shouldn’t Fall For: The Girl You Have To Break Up With Edition
When my mom and her man of 11-years were going through their break up and he was moving out the last of his things, we decided to go out one night as a family. I remember how sad my Mom was as we were leaving the house and how heavy the tension was in the car between my Mom and Pop. They weren’t really mad at each other; more like mad that after 11 years, it was all ending.
My sister and I rode in silence, mad too.
Then we got to the restaurant, a pizzeria in a neighboring town, and were taken to our table. It was as if the chairs we sat in held the cure for unhappy families, because from the moment we sat down, the four of us didn’t stop laughing and smiling with each other. Like, we were a family, and probably the happiest one in the restaurant. It was as though we had just begun, rather than ending, our time together as a family. To this day, that remains one of the happiest nights of my life.
A few days later, my Pop moved the rest of his things.
I have a theory: No matter how bad the relationship between two people, no matter how final and imminent the pending break up, all couples have at least one great date left in them.
That theory first began to take shape the night my family and I went to dinner. I mean, you should have seen how happy my Mom and Pop were. It surprised me because I thought, Hey, wait a minute, aren’t you two breaking up? They certainly weren’t acting like it. And if it wasn’t for the fact that I was raised to stay out of grown folks business, I probably would have asked them why they didn’t take whatever magic they found in the night, bottle it up, and keep it for whenever times get rough. In other words, if they just stayed together, the bad times would turn into nights like the one at the pizzeria.
But they stayed course; the break up course. And to see where everyone is at these days, it’s hard to argue they were wrong or they would have been better off.
Years and years later, I was going through my own move out process. My ex was on her way out of my apartment, and the week leading up to her very first night in New York City, in a place that wasn’t mine (or was it still ours?), was weighing heavy on our minds. Neither of us were pleasant towards one another all that week. We weren’t speaking in the mornings nor the evenings. Both of us were just biding our time until the last of her things were gone and her set of keys were back in my hand.
That night, when she was to finally hand over her set of keys and then go back to her new apartment, something unexpected happen.
First, when I walked into the apartment, she was already there, waiting for me, and she had something I hadn’t seen in almost a week. A smile on her face. “Hi,” she said. Then she got up from the bed, gave me a hug and kissed me. I looked at her like she had a baby head on her shoulder. We exchanged hellos and that’s when she hit me with the news.
Apparently in the ride over to my place, she left her cell phone in the cab. Now luckily, she already called the phone from another phone and the cab driver picked up to tell her where he lived. So she had the address. But the driver had an accent, so she wasn’t quite sure the address was right. Together, we would have to ride to the Bronx at 10 o’clock at night, and go to what we thought was the right address to get her phone.
What was supposed to be the night of the key exchange was turning into a mini-adventure.
From the moment we got into another cab to take us to the address, it was as though we were on our first date. I don’t know what it was or why it was, but here we knew we had some most unfortunate business to take care of, and yet, we were acting like a couple who didn’t know of each other’s imperfections. We were laughing as my ex tried to impersonate the accent of her cab driver, joking with the current cab driver that we were two Californians who didn’t know anything about the Bronx. The only problem we had was the looming fear that the address given was not to a house but to a huge project building. All we had written down was a building number. And for those who live in New York, everyone knows the addresses come with floor or apartment numbers.
We finally arrived on the street of the address and were relieved to see it lined with houses. As we crept in the cab getting closer and closer to the numbers, I saw looming in the distance, the street’s lone apartment building, about 12 stories high. We’re creeping, getting closer to the number written down. Closer. Closer. BAM! The number on the sheet of the paper is the address for the one apartment building on the street.
Now at 10:30 at night, we were going to have to ring on every single apartment number to find the cab driver with my ex’s phone. We were laughing, nervously.And seriously contemplating just getting my ex a new phone, but I thought, No way we came out all the way to the Bronx to not get this phone. We’re getting this phone. So I walked up the stairs, went to the row of doorbells and pushed the very first button, 1A.
“Hello,” a heavily accented voice said through the speaker.
My ex stepped up, “Hi, I left a phone in a cab. Now I don’t know if…”
My ex and I got so excited you would have thought we won the Lottery. We hugged. We kissed. We walked through the door and directly to the first floor apartment we just rang. A little girl opened up the door and some more kids were in the back playing catch with my ex’s phone. The cab driver’s wife (assuming), grabbed it and handed it over to us, then shut the door without so much a “You’re welcome.”
The two of us, ran out the door, still elated we got this phone and the right apartment number and — when I think about it — this one last night together.
We took our time getting back to the apartment. There was a taco truck nearby the apartment, so we stopped there and when the man preparing the food asked us if we were going to eat it there or take it to go, we decided to stay. We took our time eating and laughing about the adventure we were on. Instead of taking a cab back to the apartment, we decided to take the subway and the bus home. Both of us knew public transportation was running slow because it was so late, but I think that’s what we wanted. We wanted for everything to slow down because we knew what the end of the night held.
On the subway, I put my arm around her. On the bus I put my arm around her. As we were walking to the apartment from the bus station, we held hands. Everything about this adventure we shared reminded us that we had a good thing once upon a time and all over again, I was falling for this girl I was about to break up with.
But when we got to my apartment, we kept our focus on the task at hand. She had her phone now, so now all she needed to do was give me her keys and so she did.
To this day, I don’t know how or why I didn’t ask her to stay with me for the rest of the night. I don’t know why I let this girl I started crushing on all over again turn around and walk towards her new apartment instead of asking her to walk into mine. But then again, I don’t know why my Mom and Pop never stayed together after the night we shared at the pizzeria.
And though I never asked my Pop if he remembers that night, I’m pretty sure he does because I have this theory: No matter how bad the relationship between two people, no matter how final and imminent the pending break up, all couples have at least one great date left in them. And we will remember them forever.
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