I think everyone should partake in the lovely tradition I seem to have started. It’s called “Let Your Ex-Boyfriend Walk You Into Work Every Morning Because You Arrive To The Office Simultaneously And Happen To Park Next To Each Other.”
Our timing is impeccable.
It’s a little like Christmas, this new tradition, only the presents are smaller and less tangible. After all, you can’t hold the spicy clean smell of a man in your hands. You can’t box up that look, put a bow on it and set it under the tree. You can’t give the gift of chivalry – morning compliments, door opening, elevator holding – to someone else.
Which is too bad. I imagine the gift of chivalry would be a great comfort to a great many women.
And I know, because I’m finding that it is actually possible to receive these gifts and take comfort in them, without expecting any more. I’m finding that it is possible to delight in his company, be charmed by his manners, laugh at his jokes, and then walk away.
Because as hard as it is to walk away, it’s much, much harder to continue to punish myself.
As my very wise friend E has told me, there are good things in all relationships, and so even after the relationship ends, that goodness belongs to you forever if you want it.
E’s been through this kind of thing before.
It’s hard, because I want the goodness, just as it was. I want our morning banter to end with a kiss, not a “have a nice day!” I want the note on my desk to hint at love, touch on passion, and skirt the bounds of what’s appropriate for the office. I don’t want it to be just another note from a coworker and friend.
But maybe, as our relationship evolves, there can still be goodness. Not goodness as it was, and not goodness as I want it to be, but a new goodness. A new ritual, a new belief.
For our belief in love, we fell in love. We suspended our disbelief and allowed ourselves to explore the wide open plains of each other, traversing our histories together, seeing ourselves in the sunlight of the other.
For our belief in love, we broke apart. We came down from the high and shook the haze from our eyes, recalibrating ourselves to a life without the other.
Love is abstract, and messy. It’s not a feeling, it’s an emotion. It’s not mere emotion, it’s an action. But even herculean action can’t save what is lost, no matter how abstract it is, no matter how hard you try.
And so we suspend yet again, only this time it’s love we suspend.
Because, for our faith in each other, we are learning to be friends. Just friends.
It is because of our faith in each other that we embark on these new rituals, celebrate these little Christmases. Walk, not hand in hand, but side by side. Figure out not how to start over, but how to be now.
Every morning can be a new tradition we are making together, if we want it.