Breaking up is hard to do

Ed
Ed Smith
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She just up and left me. Actually, it happened several days ago without any warning whatsoever. One moment she was there, the next she was gone - like yesterday's breeze, like a lover's sigh, like a baby's breath. Gone.

You know how it happens. You're going merrily along, not knowing anything's wrong, not suspecting she's getting ready to terminate the relationship. Granted, things haven't always been smooth between you. There have been moments of tension, times when you shouted and perhaps even screamed.

She just up and left me. Actually, it happened several days ago without any warning whatsoever. One moment she was there, the next she was gone - like yesterday's breeze, like a lover's sigh, like a baby's breath. Gone.

You know how it happens. You're going merrily along, not knowing anything's wrong, not suspecting she's getting ready to terminate the relationship. Granted, things haven't always been smooth between you. There have been moments of tension, times when you shouted and perhaps even screamed.

But show me any similar relationship where there haven't been a few rough spots in the road, a few bumps along the way. That doesn't mean you don't need her, don't depend on her for your very life at times. Of course not.

That's why I was taken so completely by surprise. It wasn't an abusive relationship, not really. I certainly didn't intend to pour that cup of coffee over her "external nervous system." I was holding it securely. Not my fault that I had a bad night the night before and got no sleep. Not my fault that I dozed off and the cup slipped from my literally nerveless fingers.

I didn't think she minded that much.

A brief visit to the local emergency room and she returned as good as ever, or so it seemed. I didn't know resentments were gathering beneath the surface, like little granules of sugar crystallizing and clogging up sensitive areas.

Sure, once in a while she'd give a little groan of complaint, but nothing you'd want to pay much attention to, right? These sorts of things happen all the time. Ask anyone who's in an intense relationship with anyone.

She did maintain that pushing her off the desk onto the hardwood floor was in retaliation for not posting several pieces of mail she was responsible for sending. But nothing could be further from the truth.

I simply didn't notice that she was that close to the edge and the "push" was meant to be only a gentle nudge. I was only trying to push her buttons for the desired response.

She hardly bounced at all. I have to admit to being a mite concerned when I heard that sickening thud but when someone picked her gently up she gave this brave little smile and carried right on. But I don't think she trusted me completely after that.

Which is probably why she never fully recovered after the second time she hit the floor. It happened exactly the same way and even our friends looked at me suspiciously when I said it was totally unintentional.

Smoking gun

"You have a smoking gun in your hand," one of them said. "We think you're trying to get rid of her."

When I reminded them of the high cost of separation they changed their minds again. No one would be that crazy, is what they thought. Until I poured a drinking glass full of cranberry juice over the exact same spot as the coffee.

I noticed people kept their distance from me after that. She spent a longer time in intensive care before she was allowed out and she was never the same. She kept doing silly things with no rhyme or reason to them. And for someone renowned for her logic, she often committed the most illogical sins.

She refused to follow the simplest commands, sometimes taking a diametrically opposed course. We once had a dog who ran away when you told him to come, and came when you told him to get lost. He sat up when he was told to roll over and - you guessed it - rolled over when commanded to sit up. That's how she was in the last stages of our relationship.

So it was that the third time she fell to the hardwood floor, not even I was sure that I didn't have something to do with it. By that time she was a burden I couldn't handle. I had to have something younger and sleeker with more expertise in those areas that count.

She recovered briefly after that as though unwilling to face her destiny. Then one day last week she finally gave up the ghost. We put her on life support for a few days until I could get to the Capital City for a young one. But did she go quietly? After all that time of being together she pretty well knew everything there was to know about me, more than I know about myself. She took all that with her and refused to give it back. Seems to think it was her right to put the screws to me but good.

So you know where that leaves me now. At this advanced time in my life I'm trying to break in a new one. This young thing, however, has more foibles and idiosyncrasies that the 1954 Chevy I drove for a year eons ago. This one has her own way of doing things and doesn't seem at all inclined to be concerned with what I want.

This one wants to be boss and has none of the attractive personality traits that made the last one tolerable.

I'm not even sure she'd survive one cup of coffee over her nerves or one good solid bounce off the hardwood.

At the moment, things are rather tense between us. I have been forced to reconcile myself to some changes that I never wanted to see.

However, by writing this column with the grudging acquiescence of this new entity in my life, I'm hoping she'll recognize that nasty things can happen to anyone who insists on making life miserable for their partners.

After all, computers are supposed to be smart.

Ed Smith lives in Springdale. His e-mail address is edsmith@nf.sympatico.ca.

Geographic location: Capital, Springdale

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