Up until two days ago, I had no idea how long I’d been dating Simon. When his friend at his going away party asked, I said one month. (Try two.) That was right before she asked me if I was moving to New York, too. My answer was indignant: “I live here.” Why would she think that? We were just dating casually, having a summer fling. Right?
The answer came to me tonight. On TBS. According to the episode Second Chances of “My Boys” (which might just be the best sitcom ever for the mere fact that the writers and actors take such joy—nay glee—in throwing around the word “douchey”), two months does a common-law relationship make. Of course Simon’s friends thought I might move. Of course I’m catching waves of sadness and disappointment in the wake of his departure. We avoided defining our relationship, but that didn’t make it not a relationship. The one thing I did try to establish over the two months was that it wouldn’t be a big deal when he left. From the number of calls I got from friends yesterday to see if I was okay, I was the only one who didn’t know it actually would be a big deal. You can’t spend two months with someone, getting to know him, and soaking in his presence and then not feel a sense of loss when that’s suddenly gone.
The other essential message from “My Boys” was about summer romances that become the Openender relationship. (Seriously, the uncanny timing is killing me.) You go your separate ways, not because you don’t like each other, but because that’s just where life takes you. But you never really end it. It’s the undefined relationship that remains undefined. I’m not so good with this gray area. I despise loose ends. I like the practicality of a clean break and moving forward with an even squeakier slate.
Maybe it’s time I learn to live with the an Openender, with the quiet possibilities it represents. Maybe it could work out. Later on. When I’m done with the book. When he’s settled. After all, I always tell myself if it’s going to work out, it will. The door isn’t closed. It’s cracked and light still seeps through on both sides of the doorframe.
That light has already faded a little though. The fact that I had to text him to make sure he made it back okay, that he hasn’t called even though he said he would, has confirmed my uneven participation. Has it always been uneven? No idea. I’ll chalk it up to him being busy with getting settled. And I’ll allow the ends to be open, for now. But, for my sanity, I need to let that “possibility” hibernate, to lie dormant until it’s time to revisit, if that time comes.
(Now that I’m thinking about it, maybe my relationship is not as undefined as I think and I’m just snatching at every crumb of possibility thrown my way. I think Simon’s words were basically “friends unless we end up feeling different. And then we would revisit.” Some people might actually call this a break up and an easy way of letting me down.)
I’m overanaylzing this. Maybe going on a date would make me feel better. I did notice a ridiculous number of viable men at Safeway tonight. How come I’ve never noticed them before? Was I avoiding food shopping on Monday nights? Or maybe I’m noticing them now because I’m open to all sorts of possibilities I wasn’t before. I used to think opportunistic was a dirty word. But I’ve been wrong about a lot of things….
If you haven’t been watching My Boys, you must. It’s brilliant. And you can watch online.