“This isn’t the first time we’ve broken up but it feels permanent this time.”
I finally managed to get Tony pinned down for a conversation. I suspect at some level he knew what was coming and he wasn’t terribly keen on hearing it. It had been more than a few days of trying.
I chose to do it face-to-face. Not because I hoped for some grand declaration of love from him, and certainly not because I was hoping for some last sexual adventure. I had reminded myself several times this was not the time to play fast and loose with any justifications which would run counter to my agreement with Fox to be exclusive.
He arrived at my house in the early evening, greeting me with a quick kiss on the corner of my mouth.
Just the way he smelled made me want to fuck him.
I didn’t. You can stop wondering. When we parted ways, I gave him a deep lingering kiss goodbye. C’est tout.
We caught up and he vented about work and regaled me with stories. The man knows how to get me laughing.
I drank Cava quickly and nervously. I broke a glass (of course it wasn’t one of the cheap Ikea glasses I use for parties; it was Riedel. Sigh.)
The moment he commented on the late time I knew I had to start to talk or my window would close. I held his hands in mine. His hands alone turn me on. Strong and rough and veined. I touched the tattoo on his forearm. And I knew the chemistry and fun would never outweigh the pain.
He said “Ann, what is it? You look so sad.”
It took me a minute to compose my thoughts. I could feel the tears welling up.
I looked up at him with tears streaming down my face and said “Tony, I can’t see you anymore.”
I cried, a lot. We held hands and he stroked my hair and held me close to him. I explained I loved him but needed to be with someone who could love me back. He said the “l word” scared him.
He said he didn’t want to stand in the way of my happiness. That I deserved to be happy. That some man would be very lucky. I didn’t tell him I was already down this path with Fox; he didn’t need to know.
He said he wasn’t used to a breakup that didn’t include screaming and yelling. I simply said “I’m not angry with you. I love you.”
I was surprised to see him so emotional. It’s easy to equate his actions (or lack thereof) with lack of care. While I always knew it wasn’t the case, I saw the proof in front of me.
I was right. Tony was/is simply incapable.
He didn’t fight for me. Didn’t ask me to change my mind. Didn’t try to promise something could be different. He knows it can’t, and I respect him for not trying.
I told him there would always be a part in my heart reserved for him; that I would always love him. He didn’t believe me, so I explained for me love doesn’t fade, it just goes beneath the surface after a while. I truly believe this to be true.
I asked him to please promise if he ever felt he was ready, to not be afraid to knock on my door just because I’ve closed it. He said he knew I needed my space and joked whether tomorrow was too soon to knock.
Multiple times, he asked that I not be a stranger. He told me how important I was to him, how much he’d learned from me, and how much he was going to miss me.
Hugging me tightly, he said if there was anything I needed I just had to call and he would be there for me.
I know he believes this to be true.