Settling, Part Two

Sunday, February 17, 2013 / 9:14 PM

We sat through the credits, and when the lights came up in the small theater, we exited and sat in the parking lot for a moment or two longer. Before we knew it, hours had passed. Our conversation had eclipsed the length of the movie, and all we could talk about was the pain of what we’d been entangled in: love.

We drove back to my place, and along the way he settled upon a song—this song. “This is what I’m thinking of,” he said. It was random, out-of-the-blue, but so appropriate for the tragedy we’d just witness on screen.

Here was Blue Valentine—a film that attached inevitable heartbreak along with every romantic story—and here he was: a boy who would tell me he loved me, only to push me away every other week. Perhaps heartbreak would be inevitable for us, but I didn’t want to believe it was the canopy above every relationship.

Yet he always told me he believed in me, that I’d “make it,” that I’d soar. He said he didn’t want to hold me back, but I never saw him as a disappointment—not at the time, anyways.

“I won’t believe in love until I have proof that everyone doesn’t end up miserable,” he had said before turning off the car in the lot outside my building.

I told him I wished he believed me—that I loved him, and I wouldn’t turn my back on him. But when he dropped me off at the end of the night, I didn’t hug him goodbye.

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