Twenty-five years ago when the phone rang after midnight you smiled because there was a good chance someone needed some company.
Today that late night ring has been replaced with worry because times have changed and now you wonder if someone died, got arrested or is in serious trouble.
“She loves me and I love her but maybe that is not enough. We have been separated for almost a year.”
If it hadn’t been for Caller ID it probably would have taken me a moment to recognize his voice which made me wonder why he was calling me.
When you need a good friend you probably should dial someone who doesn’t need technology to tell him who he is speaking with.
Well, that is not entirely fair had I not been dead asleep I might have recognized his voice.
“I am sorry to hear that. It can’t be easy.”
“It is not man, she said she loves me and then asked me to give her Asana.”
“Asana, the sushi place? You guys don’t own that.”
“No, we don’t, but she said she wanted to be able to go around town without running into me and it is our favorite spot.”
I Don’t Wear Sweaters When You’re Cold
My initial response was to tell him to tell her to go play in traffic because how unfair and unreasonable her request was.
But I didn’t because I understand people say dumb things when they are upset and if they got back together he might be pissed off with me later on.
“Tell her you don’t wear a sweater when others are cold and you are not going to limit where you can go or when.
It is a big city and a big world so chances are you won’t run into each other. But if you do you’ll be mature and just go about your business.”
He said he understood and told me he didn’t want to screw up his chances to get back together with her.
“If you want another shot you have to set up boundaries. Tell her you are going to live your life and you aren’t going to worry about stupid things like whether you both show up at Asana at the same time.
Chances are you won’t and if you do, big deal. She’ll respect you more for not just rolling over and saying ok.”
He spent the next 25 minutes filling me in on more details and trying to make sure I understood their relationship so I could give better advice.
“I get it, you love her and you are afraid of what happens if she is really gone. Sometimes you have to just walk away and see what happens.”
“Don’t women want us to fight for them and for our relationships? Don’t they appreciate the effort?”
“I am not a woman so I can’t answer that. I once dared a woman I loved to kiss me and tell me she didn’t love me anymore because I was certain that she was lying to me and to herself.”
“And what happened?”
“She never kissed me. Maybe that means she really didn’t love me anymore or maybe she did and was afraid of the consequences. Maybe I didn’t make it clear my intentions weren’t just to prove a point.
I don’t know.
What I know is we can’t make people act a certain way or do things they don’t want to do. We just have to live our lives.”
There was a long moment of silence and then he asked me to tell him more about her.
“It might have been the deepest and most passionate love I ever had.”
“What about her?”
“I don’t know, I am not her and I can’t speak for her.”
“And you just walked away?”
“I didn’t say that. I just said I do what I have to do because that is who I am. It is how I live my life and how I have overcome certain challenges and expect to get beyond the current ones.”
Who Gets The Dog
A few minutes later he told me the biggest surprise of it all was their dog Roscoe.
“After I realized she was serious about splitting up I kept waiting for her to say she wanted Roscoe to live with her.
Maybe I have seen too many shows where the childless break up is always about who gets the dog, but I guess she didn’t care as much about Roscoe as she does about fish.”
“Or maybe she cares enough about you to leave you with Roscoe because she thinks you need him.”
He sighed deeply and said he hadn’t thought about that.
“I keep staring at this picture of me jumping into a lake. I jumped seconds after she did but you can’t see her anywhere.
All you see is me suspended in mid-air. That is what life feels like right now…suspended.”
A second later I heard the phone hit the floor and then dead air.
“Bill, are you there? Bill? Bill?”
Twenty-five years ago dead air on the other side of the line meant she was waiting for me to arrive, but today I have no idea what it means.
Hopefully it is just fumble fingers or exhaustion because the other benefit of modern technology is about to bite me in the butt.
Bill lives in Tokyo and I live in the states. I don’t think I have an address for him or have any idea how to get him help if he needs it.
Life just got more complicated.