Yesterday I received a comment that helped me along in my writing through my block. I admit at first that I was somewhat upset with the comment. How could you say the story is over? But as I kept reading what I wrote I realized that the way it read the story was over. This challenged me to take another look at the story. I realize that all I’ve done is delete a couple of paragraphs and add one paragraph, but by doing that the story has begun to open up to me even more. I am writing at a turtle’s pace but right now I’m just thankful for the few hundred words I am able to write.
I had tried to end it with Claire as gently as I could but nothing with Claire could ever be gentle. Having dated her for 3 years, I knew that no matter what, the problem would be me. So I took full responsibility for the failing of our relationship. I admitted to her that I didn’t see our relationship going anywhere. This confession and acceptance of responsibility was unacceptable to Claire. The fact that I took full responsibility only pissed her off more. She thought that I was mocking her and just saying what I thought she would say.
Truth is I wasn’t mocking her. I honestly didn’t see our relationship going anywhere. Later that night while discussing the situation with Abby, my best friend’s wife, I realized my mistake. According to Abby, I pissed Claire off because I took away her power.
“The power to blame you for the failure of your relationship.”
“So you’re telling me that by me doing the right thing and taking responsibility I had taken away her power to blame me, and she needed to be able to blame me so that she wouldn’t feel responsible?”
“That’s just fucked up and doesn’t make sense.”
“It makes perfect sense!”
“Because you’re a woman.” And that was the end of that conversation.
The day after I ended it with Claire I went to work not sure what else I needed to do because I had never been the one to end a relationship. Claire’s things were still at the apartment. I never went through her things so I wasn’t going to pack them up for her. Within the first hour of work she left a message with my secretary that she was on her way to the apartment to get her things.
When I got home later that evening my apartment had lost all the things that made it a home. There were no nicknacks, Cosmo magazines, framed pictures of Claire or of us together, her bathrobe wasn’t hanging on the bathroom door, her toothbrush and toiletries were gone, the little notes that we had left one another on the refrigerator door were shredded and put into the waste basket, no throw pillows or candles. My three room apartment was now barren of any sign of my former life. I was alone, but unlike all other moments I found myself alone, this time it was by my own choice. I felt a certain pang of guilt. I had chosen this but Claire had not. I then realized I had not only taken away her power to blame, but I had taken away her freedom of choice. No matter how hard I tried to do the right thing it only came out wrong.