I got broken up with last week.
His text responses were less and less. He was cold and distant. He evaded my questions. After a few days of this I gave him an opportunity to nail up the coffin, a chance for him to redeem himself. Could we end it on a good note? Nope.
Okay. Cool cool cool.
I’ve done this enough times now (seventeen million times) and I think I’m actually getting good at it. I lean on my friends hard (god I am lucky to have them). I try to offer the best version of myself while also taking no shit. And I’m starting to think that if you can deal with the mindfuck of getting ghosted, it’s a pretty good way out. He didn’t have to see me at my worst when he broke up with me. I got to be a frustrated, confused, angry, crying mess in private. So now out in the world I can be fine, strong. Plus I get the added benefit of being able to tell myself that he was a terrible person and so, I lost nothing. He also gets what he wanted (whatever that is, is not totally clear to me but he did this so I’m assuming it’s what he wanted).
Everyone wins! So maybe we should all just ghost each other?
But. But but but…
There’s a Joan Didion essay I read a long time ago that’s come back to me this week. Floated up from my subconscious, like some kind of prayer I can’t shake. Stay with the body, she writes. Stay with the body, stay with the body—
Whether or not a corpse is torn apart by coyotes may seem only a sentimental consideration, but of course it is more: one of the promises we make to one another is that we will try to retrieve our casualties, try not to abandon our dead to the coyotes. If we have been taught to keep our promises--if, in the simplest terms, our upbringing is good enough--we stay with the body.
(Yes, I’ve chosen a metaphor where I’m the dead body.)
The point is–there’s not a lot I expect from the people I date for two or three or five months. I will not call you to bail me out of jail. I do not expect you to like all of my friends or take out the trash or stay forever. As Didion insinuates, we can not stave off death for each other. But I do believe that the least of what we promise is that we’ll stay til it’s over. Even if it is the harder path. Even if it is merely sentimental. It just seems right to me. It just seems honorable. You stay with the body, until it is done.