The last part of the story of me and mr. X.
A mist of hopelessness had descended on our existence. The contrast was raw and stark; the first six months in our apartment had been Heaven on earth, and now a volcano had erupted and covered everything in suffocating layers of ash. The time following The Ultimatum, we had tried to put it out of our minds and be happy, like before. But it was always there, in the background, like a low buzzing noise that could drive a person insane eventually.
I had given mr. X six months to think about his answer. He’d already said he had no idea when he wanted children, it could be in five years, or fifteen, he just didn’t know. He was willing to think about it, though. Facing the biological facts, I was willing to give him time, but not an unlimited amount of time.
During the first three years, we had talked about children a few times. Since he had seemed insecure, I’d backed off, and thought: “I’ll give it a year, and see what he says then”. The problem was, now four years had passed, and nothing had seemed to change at all, in his mind.
The ultimatum in itself wasn’t too brutal. More like a plea for mercy. I’d simply asked that mr. X take some time to think about whether he could give me some sort of time frame, or not. I would be willing to wait longer for him, if he could just make up his mind about that. So I could get all the facts and know just how much of a risk it would be for me, to keep waiting around. In retrospect, deep down I sensed he wouldn’t be able to give me an answer that could save us. But I held on to that glimmer of hope, like a drowning person holds on to a piece of driftwood.
The truth was, mr. X had become a part of me. I could no more imagine my life without him, than I could imagine chopping off my arm or my leg. But falling in love with him, spending almost four years with him, living together, turning thirty… All that had created such an intense longing to start a family with him. Also, back then, when I pictured myself possibly sitting in a doctor’s office some time in the future; devastated by hearing that I had “waited too long”, and would remain childless… I knew I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself for staying and hoping in vain, for him to become ready. I knew I would become bitter, filled with resentment. I absolutely couldn’t imagine a life without children. These six months alone, waiting for him to “think”, had already taken their toll. It was pure torture. But I endured it. Out of love. Perhaps others could never see that, but me giving him half a year more of my life, was a gift. The gift of hope.
The dreaded day arrived. It was a few days after New Year’s and it was time to talk. We had a day off. We sat down. Suddenly the air seemed heavier, harder to breathe.
I thought I knew a little something about pain, from my past. It turns out I had no idea what pain was, until this day.
Whatever I had experienced previously, was a light slap compared to this bullet in the heart. It was one of those exploding projectiles, that ripped my chest to shreds and left nothing but a big hole, and fragments of a soul scattered all over.
Mr. X could not give me an answer. As you do, when grief hits you, I tried to bargain. I am not ashamed of it. What is pride anyway, in the face of losing someone you love? Pride could go to hell, for all I cared. I asked if he could give “any” sort of time frame at all, or if it was simply “I don’t know”. I saw that he pressured himself, trying to think of a solution. But, being true to his nature, mr. X simply couldn’t fabricate some half-truth. His answer remained the same; he just didn’t know. It could take many, many years. He said he didn’t want to make me stay, based on false hopes. We talked for hours. We both understood each other, but there just wasn’t any solution. He said that no matter what, he only wanted my happiness. And if that meant I had to leave, find someone else, in time to be able to have children, he understood. He would take that pain any day, over knowing I stayed, unhappy, with an unfulfilled dream. He said he loved me that much. He cried, saying all this.
In fact, I have never seen a man cry as much as mr. X did that day. It seemed he had an endless well of tears within, that he must have hidden, all his life. It was all emptied that day. It was hours and hours of crying, for both of us. When we ran out of words, we held each other, crying, like none of us had done before.
We were a native people fighting with the aid of sticks, against an army with shiny swords that cut us down without mercy. We had to give up. There was no way out. No compromise. After a whole day, fighting the inevitable end, we were exhausted. We thanked each other for all the love during the years. We decided he would go stay with his parents, until I could move out of the apartment about a week later. We could have stayed together a few more days, but it was just too painful. We both knew, if we kept holding on, we might never be able to let go. And the result would be two very unhappy people; one because she couldn’t get what she needed, the other cause he couldn’t give it to her.
Some scenes are etched into your soul forever. Such as the moment when mr. X said goodbye and walked out. I can still close my eyes and remember how soundless it was. Eight hours of resistance from both of us, yet that door closed so easily. An everyday scene, any other day: closing a door. But now that act held such unbelievably deep sorrow. It meant mr. X was never coming home to me again. Never again would I run towards him and smile; never again would his green eyes light up with those sapphire sparks, upon seeing me.
The time until I moved out is a fog. I walked around like a zombie in that apartment haunted by the ghosts of love. With a robotic sort of autopilot, I arranged everything for the move back to the city where I had family. I just couldn’t stay in that small town. I left almost everything behind in the apartment. All our paintings and furniture; I couldn’t bear to even look at them, without crying. I only took what I’d had before I moved in.
The roads were almost empty, due to a blizzard that covered the country in white, on the day I moved out. You could only see a few feet in front of you. The drive back was slow and torturous, as if to show me what the recovery from this would be like. It was my father who drove me back, in a moving truck. He didn’t say much during the trip, he understood that no words would help. I stared out the side window on the raging blizzard outside.
I wondered if this snowstorm could be the manifestation of despair felt by the gods, upon witnessing their own cruelty towards two people whose only crime was to love someone.