The Break Up


For the last hour or so I’ve been watching a couple breaking up in a coffee shop. Well, to be more accurate, I’ve been watching a woman dumping a man. When she first broke the news, they sat deathly silent, not looking at each other for about 15 minutes. Now, the guy has started to plead his case, mixing sad stares with weak jokes and smiles, trying to stir previously strong feelings she held for him. After some time, becoming more desperate, he grasps her hand, holding it for a long time, probably reminding her of the good times they had together… again trying to make positive associations to the past; trying to invoke guilt. He moves over to the same side of the table as her, trying to make physical contact, hoping the closer proximity to her will help her feelings for him re-kindle. She starts crying, giving him the opportunity to wipe the tears softly from her cheek and show off his gentlemanly side. Now they start laughing a little, and the guy–encouraged now–increases his physical contact, stroking her face and pushing strands of hair back behind her ear. It’s all in vain though, as she moves away from him. They briefly have a playful tug-of-war with her scarf; him trying to pull her closer. Then more silence, and depressed stares. She starts, perhaps, to feel bad, and starts to explain herself to him, patting him on the arm, back and chest, in a motherly fashion, and playing with his hair. He keeps trying, but she is resolute in her decision, making gasps of finality, parrying his every move. She hugs him again, rubbing him on the back, as he stares forlorn into her eyes. She tugs his ear lightly, trying to shake some strength into him, to steel him, to cheer him up. Her dragging it out is only making it worse. But, she doesn’t realize that, she thinks she’s being nice, letting him go softly. It would have been better to have had a fight, and part on harsh words. Hatred is easier to live with than loss. They continue, however, hugging and playing with each others’ hands. I want to go over to their table and tell them that it’s enough; it’s time to go home and cry yourselves to sleep or to go and get drunk and spout a bunch of mean things about this person who you thought was in love with you. He needs to just get up and leave, right now. Nothing he can do will result in them leaving together tonight. Maybe someday in the future, circumstances will work to bring them back together… it’s not likely… but it could happen… maybe… but it’s not going to happen tonight. Just go.

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