“And what time do you call this?” Shaun said. Jack had just swung the door open, and what he found inside was much different to the darkened room and a sleeping girlfriend he had expected to find. Instead she was bolt upright in bed and the lights seemed to blind him. She spun her legs off of the side of the bed and sat there for a moment.
“I was worried, where have you been?”
“I was out with some friends, it’s no big deal.”
“Then why didn’t you tell me?”
“I just needed some me time, okay.” He began to walk over to her. He sat next to her on the bed, not quite close enough to be touching.
“Well you seem to be needing a lot of it at the moment.” She turned to stare at him as she said it. He could see the tear tracks left on her face. He reached out to brush her cheek, but Shaun grabbed his wrist before it could get close.
“You could have just told me,” she added. “I wouldn’t have said no. It’s just that it feels like you have been avoiding me. Did you think that I wouldn’t notice? That I would just go to bed without you, and then when I woke up with you next to me I wouldn’t say anything?”
“I just, I don’t know. I didn’t think about it.”
“You didn’t think about it? What am I even doing here if that’s where we are right now.” She would have cried if there were any tears left.
“Look, I know I messed up. I’ve been messing up a lot lately. But I can get better. I can fix this. I promise I can fix this.” She let go of his wrist letting her arm fall to her side. He rubbed where she had been holding.
“Why should you even try? It seems like you don’t even want to be here. If you want to go just go.” She held her head in her hands, focusing on the ground in front of her.
“Fine. You’re right. What am I doing here? What are we doing here? I’m going to stay at a friend’s place tonight. We can sort out our stuff in the morning.” He stood and walked to the door. He hung there for a moment wanting to turn around and take one last look back. But he never turned. The door shut behind him.
Over the next few days they went through the ritual of separating their lives. They exchanged records and clothing. They began to remember what it was like to be on their own again. Free from the worries of being attached to another person.
Occasionally, they would remember some of the good times. But inevitably they would always come back to that night, and realise that for all of the good times, sometimes it is better for things to end.
Try to make it work
“No, I don’t want to go. I want to make this work.”
“Then prove it,” she said. “Make me believe it. No more just disappearing with no warning. This is only going to work if we work together. Come on, let's just get some sleep. We can talk about this in the morning. She threw herself back into the bed with a sigh. “Goodnight.”
They never stopped fighting, but they never let the fighting get in the way. Being together was work, but it was work that they were willing to do. Sometimes all it took to succeed was to try. So Shaun and Jack kept trying. Some times they stumbled, but they always got back up.