The cherry on top of a perfect week came swiftly on a Saturday afternoon. She had just dropped off Dawn at her car and it felt like someone just stuck a red-hot poker into her throat. It was on fire. She went home and rested before her show, drinking copious amounts of OJ and trying to stop herself from also putting vodka in it.
The next morning she attended a breakfast with Dawn, an old professor, and her ex. It was stilted conversation because her throat hurt and she didn't want to talk. She tried to smile and not make it awkward, but later Dawn told her that it had been a little bit because she wasn't talking, so the ex also wasn't talking. She didn't realize that his speech had always been contingent on hers. Yet another thing to feel guilty about.
As they parted, she made mention of splitting up the rest of the bills as he handed her a check. She felt bad taking his money, although he had taken hers for years. Why did she feel so guilty? He asked what she was doing later, she told him she would most likely being trying to sleep off whatever she had.
She awoke from a torrid nap to her phone ringing. It was her ex. Her ex who knew damn well she was sleeping, trying to rest her voice, and that she liked being left alone when she felt sick.
Irritated, she texted him back that she had been asleep and her throat hurt so she couldn't talk. What did he want? His voicemail had only said he wanted to "catch up" as if they didn't do that at breakfast.
"Well, with what you said about the bills being split up. It made me wonder if you had come to a final decision about us."
Ugh. She had 103 degree fever, but now is when he wanted to have the talk? She tried to take the diplomatic route.
"As it stands right now, I don't think it looks great. I think if we reconcile it is a long way off." He expressed his sadness, so she continued. "I thought you understood where we were last time we spoke. Right now you still seem to be struggling. Quitting theatre and getting a job you hate isn't really what I was looking for you to do. You still need to be able to be on your own and find happiness. Right now it seems like you are making yourself miserable to get me back, which only pushes me away and makes me feel guilty. I can't be your reason. That puts a lot of pressure on me. I think we need to put something on Facebook and make it official."
He replied "Look, I know this isn't exactly fair, but the truth is that I still love you deeply and miss you terribly. And I can accept that you need this time for yourself, but please don't feel guilty. I am merely setting priorities in my life so that I can hopefully work towards the things that matter most to me. As I get out of here, as I find a more stable job, then I will be happy to do some more acting, and maybe some other things as well. Until then, I will work and learn and network and keep trying to make myself better. It is something I want to share with you, and I am willing to wait. But I also need to know if that door is closed, or if it ever does."
"I feel like you are pushing me to say now...I feel like the door is closed. But it is still a door and not a wall. I can't predict the future. I don't think I can ever say one way or another. Right now there is still a lot of hurt and anger that I'm not sure I can ever get over. You should not wait."
"Fair enough, I definetly screwed up and you have every right to those feelings. But you really are someone I need in my life, so I can and want to wait for awhile, because you are certainly worth it."
Tear streamed down her face, and her already choked up throat tightened even further. She responded "I think you will be missing out on someone who can make you happy. I love you and always want to be your friend, but the pressure that you are waiting on me, that you are hoping for it to work out...it makes it really hard to see you or spend time with you. I feel guilty because I can feel you wanting something I may never be able to give you again."
15 minutes passed, and he finally responded; "This gives me a better idea of where we stand than what I had. I will keep on the plan that I have but I will remain open to other possibilities. As time goes on, those priorities may being to change and I may meet someone else, or you may, and that will be that. But, for now, at least you know my position. I actually feel a lot better than I have in awhile, even knowing that it may be a really long time, or even never. Because at least I feel like I have a better grasp of the picture."
They decided on a separate but unified message to post on Facebook, and changed their status to single.
She couldn't tell if her heart was breaking, or if her fever had just broken.