16: Closure

16: Closure

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Campus Chronicles

Closure

Courage is the power to let go of the familiar.

~Raymond Lindquist

I called my roommate as I was sitting in my car on the side of the highway. I had pulled over because I had a sudden urge to turn around and go back home. I couldn’t decide if I should go to him, or go home.

“Go there,” she said, “If you don’t, you might regret it for the rest of your life. You have to know where this will take you, and if doesn’t take you anywhere, at least you’ll know for sure. And you can move on.” She was right. After hanging up, I put the car in drive and started again in the direction of his house.

I pulled up to the house and took a minute to freshen up my make-up, adding a little lip gloss, just in case. I saw him open his front door and walk out towards my car as I got out. We both had smiles on our faces and halfway to the house we met, embracing.

“I missed you so much,” he said while we hugged. I stopped and checked out the “New Eric.”

“Wow, you look good,” I said, flirtatiously.

“You look amazing,” he complimented. We walked into his house and sat on the edge of his bed as he fumbled with my shirtsleeve. While we made small talk, I tried to ignore the memory of his choosing another girl over me last year. He told me all of the things I had wanted to hear for months, and it was nice to hear, but it didn’t feel right. I chalked it up to nerves, until he pulled me into a kiss that caught me off guard. I didn’t feel any sparks. Why didn’t this feel right? He looked at me and smiled, “I’ve missed you for so long, it’s almost unreal that you’re here with me now.”

Somehow, making out with him felt like kissing the back of my hand, and it started to worry me. I should love this! Why does it feel so plain? It wasn’t the same. Something was different.

Then it hit me — I was different.

I lightly pushed him to lie beside me. I glanced at the clock. I had been there only thirty minutes and I hadn’t even gotten to talk about the past and what had happened since we were dating.

“Eric, what’s different with you?” I asked him, attempting to make things right before they got too serious. “You told me on the phone you had a lot to tell me. Talk to me for a bit.”

“I missed you and I miss you. Come back and be with me. When we broke up, I did it because I didn’t want to hold you back. You were well on your way to a new life, going out and having fun, but still keeping your head on straight. That’s what’s so cool about you.” What he didn’t know was that the whole time I was out looking like I was having a blast, I was really dying inside to be back here in his arms. But now I wasn’t sure if I wanted to get serious with a man who had dropped me.

He curled up beside me and I held his hand. The room was quiet, but my mind was busy with thoughts and questions about all the pain he put me through when I was in my first year of college... wanting to be with me and then not, blowing me off, hurting me over and over again. Why should I go back to someone who controlled my every feeling for four years, cheated on me, and still managed to haunt me? I decided then I was ready to move on. This was exactly what I had needed — closure.

I took a deep breath. “Let’s just call it what it is, and what it was, Eric. We both know that this wouldn’t work out, even if we tried,” I said without looking at him.

It must have taken a moment for the words to set in, and then he slowly let go of my hand and scooted away from me. “What? Why? I mean, if that’s how you feel, then why did you come over to see me?” He looked so sad and angry at the same time.

“I wanted to see you. I missed you too; I wasn’t lying about that, Eric. But seeing you is too strange for me. We can’t jump into something that has changed so much. I just don’t have it in me to try a round two.”

He shook his head from side to side and then left the room, returning later with a drink in his hand. “I can’t believe you,” he said. “What does a guy need to do to prove he’s changed?” But it didn’t matter anymore. I couldn’t force myself to feel anything for him. He sat on the edge of his bed with his back towards me.

“It’s up to you. You know your way out of here, but if you go, you can’t come back,” he said quietly.

There it was — an ultimatum. It was now or never.

I stood there, contemplating the idea that he might just be sincere enough to have changed for me. But just as the happy memories from before came into mind, the bad quickly followed. Here he was, immature and upset, because I couldn’t ignore the hurt he had given me for so long. Just because now he was ready didn’t mean I was. After all, I had been waiting for a long time, and he didn’t even give me a chance.

Giving him a light hug and a kiss on the shoulder, I got up and went for the door. This time after I walked out, I closed it behind me. I was finally closing the door on that chapter of my life. My roommate was right. This was exactly what I needed. I needed to see exactly what I wasn’t missing.

I left there feeling refreshed. I guess after being hurt for so long, it made it easier to walk away. He had laid the cards on the table and made his bet, but I had chosen to quit the game forever. I didn’t want to gamble with my heart anymore.

On the way home, he sent me a text:

Come back. Why are you doing this to me?

I looked at it and replied to his text:

I can’t handle this anymore. I’m sorry.

That was it, my final goodbye. The drive home was smooth. I went back to my dorm and took a shower. I washed away any feeling of regret that lingered. Then I put on different clothes and got in bed. After turning out the lamp, sleep came rather easily that night. The next morning, I woke up emotionally ready to begin the first day of the rest of my life.

~Monica Sizemore

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