Escape

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
One guy's look on his romantic behaviors

Submitted: August 28, 2016

A A A | A A A

Submitted: August 28, 2016

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A A A


 

I was tired of my lady

We'd been together too long

Like a worn-out recording

Of a favorite song

 

Man, I hate this song. I hate it because it’s so catchy. I also hate it because it reminds me of something that I had done just a few hours ago. Now I was just sitting on the couch, blasting this song on my speakers. Just like the main character of that infamous song, I had grown tired of my lady. We hadn’t been together that long, relatively. But at my young age, maybe it had seemed like eternity. To Jessica, being with me must have felt like a wonderful eternity. She always looked at me with stars in her eyes, and I just couldn’t help but feel guilty. Every time. What was so amazing about me? About this relationship? Was this the fabled “love” experience that I had heard so much about? As much as I hated to admit it, I didn’t feel much for her.

Every time this uncomfortable feeling crept up, I’d shake it off with a smile and I’d kiss her. Seeing her happy would provide me a little bit of relief, a kind of penance for my silent crime. She had no idea what was churning inside me. I knew that I wasn’t giving her my all, and that she deserved someone better than me. Someone who would actually fall in love with her and treat her the same was she was treating me. There was no way that love was supposed to create such a black hole in my stomach with every interaction.

This wasn’t the first time that I had felt this way. My first girlfriend in college, Ashley, had a smile that lit up the room. She was kind of pretty and very friendly. It wasn’t very long until I figured out that she liked me. I was a freshmen and dying to experience the ladies of college and she met my minimum requirements, so I asked her out and we started dating. We became the stereotypical couple and did the things that couples do. She was all over me. As the next two years passed, that horrible feeling of guilt and annoyance I mentioned before boiled over. Thoughts that I never thought I would have raced through my head: Ashley was too plain, she had no ambition, I could predict the directions of every conversation we had, just like listening to a worn-out recording. She was too serious. And, honestly, I just got tired at looking at her. I felt guilty in the morning whenever I woke up next to her. The freshman thrill was gone, and I realized that two years of my college life had already disappeared.

That’s when I met Jessica. She was a hard-working engineering student who knew exactly what she wanted to do. Finally, a girl with ambition. She laughed at all of my jokes and didn’t blow up every time I cracked a joke at her expense like Ashley did. In fact, we made fun of each other all the time. Of course, Jessica was kind of pretty, but all in different ways than Ashley. While Ashley was tall and skinny like a model, Jessica was a bit shorter and a little more filled-out. Ashley had jet-black hair that shined harshly in the sun, while Jessica had brown hair that rippled like a cup of café con leche. Ashley greeted people with a smile and a firm handshake, but Jessica infected people with contagious laughter. Simply put, Jessica was similar but better in every way.

I had been planning to break up with Ashley for a while, but Jessica was the impetus. After I felt like I had built up enough rapport with Jessica, I told Ashley that it was over. Ashley had been questioning why I had been spending so much time talking to Jessica lately, and the break up confirmed her suspicions. Suddenly, she was all over me about being a dishonest scumbag. I told her that it couldn’t be helped and that things just weren’t working out between us anyway. I broke all connection with her. She would need some time to recuperate, and yelling and blaming me wouldn’t help her recover any faster. Although I felt upset that she hated me now, I told myself that it was better for the both of us in the end. Since Jessica and I had grown much closer in the few months before the break up, she was one of the first people to find out about it and was immensely concerned about me. I easily gained her sympathy and used that emotional momentum to eventually ask her out. That’s how we started dating. We became the stereotypical couple and did the things that couples do. She was all over me.

It must have been morbid curiosity that sparked Jessica’s interest in my past relationships. It’s a general rule of dating that talking about exes only leads to unnecessary distress. Nevertheless, I answered all of her burning questions, some of which included “did you love her?”, “did you guys have sex?”, and “why did you really break up with her?” I pretended to hate talking about Ashley with Jessica, but deep down, I enjoyed it. I loved boasting about all of my exploits with Ashley. I figured that by telling her about them, Jessica would know what she was up against. Competition breeds improvement, right? I should have seen it coming that all it did was breed insecurity. I could tell that Jessica was always trying to measure herself up to Ashley, subconsciously or not. Whenever I talked to other girls, I could feel Jessica’s disapproval, not only of me, but of herself. I reassured her constantly that I loved her and that she was the only girl for me.

What kept things interesting with Jessica was that there were tons of guys that hit on her. Constantly. This was something that I had never had to deal with before. Jessica picked up on the fact that it upset me and she asked me about it. I told her that I was jealous, but that I had no right to be upset about it because she was jealous as well. I wasn’t willing to stop talking to all girls just to put her at ease, so I told her that I wasn’t going to make her stop talking to all guys just to put me at ease. We agreed to talk to each other about it if we ever got super jealous and assured each other that we only loved each other.

I think I did fall a little bit in love with this woman. She was cute beyond belief and innocent as heck. I was her first boyfriend, so everything we did together must have felt completely magical for her. She was a terrific student and tried to force me to study with her constantly. Conversely, I was a bad student. My personal motto was “Cs and Bs get Degrees,” which alarmed her. Although we both played video games (one of the reasons why she was so appealing to me over Ashley), I spent much more time playing video games than she did. I wasn’t so sure what I wanted to do when I graduated, but Jessica knew exactly where she wanted to go.

There was exactly one area in which I was more knowledgeable than her. Our first time was just okay since she had never done it before, but things got better and better the more times we did it. I could tell that she was a natural. We did it all the time and sometimes in places that would shock the average person. I never expected this side of her, but I gladly helped her indulge in her fantasies. I woke up next to her in the morning, and all I could think was “she’s amazing.” Finally, I was free of the feeling that had haunted me.

---

My thoughts were suddenly interrupted by gentle knocking on my apartment door. I got up and opened the door to see Emily standing there with concern in her eyes.

“Hey, Mike.”

“Come on in. Do you want something to drink?” I asked, making sure to sound a little down.

“I’m okay. Did you want to talk? Is this about Jessica again?”

“Yeah...”

We both sat down on the couch. I remained silent as the song kept playing on the speakers.

 

So I waited with high hopes

And she walked in the place

I knew her smile in an instant

I knew the curve of her face

 

“Mike, you know this song is about cheating, right?” she remarked with a grin.

“Yeah, but it’s so damn catchy.”

“It does have a nice tune. I guess you’d rather be listening to a light song like this rather than some love song right now.”

“Yeah. I’m so sick of love songs, so tired of tears,” I responded, staring across the room with an overly pensive look.

She smiled. Her blue eyes lit up in immediate recognition of those Ne-Yo lyrics.  “I’m glad you’re well enough to make jokes of the situation, Mikey!”

That look of instant epiphany captivated me. Sure, it was a little thing, but it was a look I rarely got from Jessica. Anytime I referenced anything even remotely obscure, be it a quote from a book, a song, or some other work, Jessica never understood. All I got was a look of confusion or feigned laughter. Despite her academic diligence, she had always been a little slow on the uptake. I always had to spend a lot of time to explain things to her. Having someone not only understand the origin of my words, but also understand the purpose of my saying them was as refreshing as a glass of ice water.

My smile faded as I turned to her. “Emily, I wish I could say I’m perfectly fine right now. In reality, I have a lot on my mind and I wanted someone to talk to about it.”

“Wait… did you cheat on her? Is that why you’re playing this song?”

“What? No, of course not! I’m not that depraved. Look, I know it sounds kind of mean, but I broke up with Jessica because I got bored of her. That’s why I was listening to this song.”

She scoffed. “Is that really the only reason why you broke up with her? I know you two were having your problems last week, but you guys seemed to be doing just fine up until then. When did you realize this?”

“It was only recently…” I trailed off, shifting my eyes away from Emily’s discerning gaze. In truth, it was because of Emily that I had saw Jessica’s shortcomings. Since we had met a few months ago, Emily and I had already had multiple deep conversations about our lives and about topics ranging from political to philosophical. When I thought back to my time with Jessica, the only deep conversations we had were about getting married and how I should work harder in school. Emily had a convention of being brutally honest, not only about others, but also herself. She knew what she was good at and wasn’t afraid to talk about what she was bad at. She didn’t care about getting everyone’s approval because she knew that it was impossible for anyone to achieve something like that. That’s why I respected her opinions, even if I disagreed with her (which I did about half the time).

“Well, you told me online that it was because she was too good for you. Which one is it?” she asked.

“You know, I think it’s both. She clearly has a great future ahead of her. She’s going to be a great engineer, graduating from a great school. I’m barely going to get my degree, and I have no idea what I’m going to do after college. Our end goals are just so radically different. Her parents definitely didn’t like that about me. And let me tell you, getting the approval of a girl’s parents is half the battle.”

“Hah. With your grades, my parents would beat you if you were their son.”

“Wow, thanks, Emily. Now I feel a lot better.”

“I’m going to need one of your towels to wipe off all that dripping sarcasm,” she quipped with a small smile.

I chuckled and shook my head. “Thanks for coming to talk to me. I feel better already.”

“Amazing what five minutes of conversation can do, huh?”

---

It happened suddenly. One morning, I woke up next to Jessica with only that awful feeling of dread instead of happiness. The thrill had faded. We ate breakfast together. She smiled at me with love in her eyes, and I responded dutifully in kind with as much “love” as I could muster. My stomach hurt. We did “it” again after breakfast, and then it was off to lunch with her friends. They talked about school and their plans for the day and took pictures of their food to post on social media. I smiled, but my stomach hurt. I went with her to get some drinks and we went back to my place. The day passed just like any other. But my stomach hurt. All the while, she was completely oblivious to my budding feelings of dread. I berated myself in my mind. This had happened before with Ashley, and it was happening again. Every conceivable flaw that Jessica had was suddenly ten times more apparent. I was losing my mind.

I didn’t want her to catch on, so I tried to limit our contact for a couple of weeks. She grew concerned, like any good girlfriend should, and so I asked her to come to my place. I had cooked her lunch. I had planned to tell her about how my love for her had vanished and that I wanted to break up with her.

I opened the door and Jessica burst in, giving me a hug.

“Mikey, are you okay? Why haven’t you talked to me in so long?”

I could hear the genuine concern in her voice. This made my stomach hurt.

“Jessica, there’s something that I’ve been thinking over for a long time.” She gave me a look, a mix between curiosity and fear. I think she knew what was coming. “I don’t think things will work out between us.”

“W-what? What do you mean, Mikey? Are you serious?”

“Come inside. Let’s sit down for this.”

She meekly obliged and we sat down on the couch. She took my hand. “Tell me this is just one of your jokes.”

“No, Jessica. I just don’t think I’m good enough for you. I’m holding you back.”

I kept giving her reasons as to why we should break up, but none of them were completely honest. While it was true that she deserved someone of equal caliber in terms of ambition, I acknowledged that it wasn’t a good enough reason alone to break up with someone. In reality, I had gotten bored of her. No one deserves to be in a relationship where someone is bored of the other. Anyways, if I made one thing clear in my conversation with Jessica, it was that I felt like we should break up. Jessica took it surprisingly well and even ate the lunch I had cooked for her with me. Granted, it was hella awkward, but I felt like I at least owed her a home-cooked meal for breaking her heart. This time, she didn’t pull out her phone.

Unlike with Ashley, I didn’t want to break things off completely with Jessica. I tried to remain friends with her, but it was only a few weeks before she stopped talking to me completely. She would need some time to recuperate. It was for the best, I suppose.

---

I explained everything to Emily afterwards: the nasty boredom that had developed when I was with Ashley and then Jessica and the feeling of guilt I felt for not reciprocating their love for me. Was there something wrong with me? I told Emily that maybe I was just the kind of dick that gets bored of his partners and just leaves once he’s had his fill. I knew that this was extremely selfish and unfair. I had to be a bad person, and I wanted her to tell me so.

“Mike, I don’t think you’re a bad person. I think you just haven’t met the right girl yet. From what you’ve told me, it just sounds like you dated them because they met your standards. I don’t think you should date someone unless you think they’re the bee’s knees. Don’t just run around trying to charm everyone if you’re not going to follow through.”

I nodded my head.

“I’ve had friends who’ve been dumped before,” she continued. “Most of them pretend to be fine on the outside, but they hold their resentment for a long time. Talking about it helps; no matter how inane or unreasonable you think you sound, you need to express your feelings.”

“You’re pretty wise for someone who’s never dated before.”

“Well, I was actually hoping that you’d teach me a thing or two about dating. But it turns out that you’re complete shit at it,” she jested.

“Why? Is there a guy you like? Need my awesome seduction tips?”

“I think I can manage on my own. After all, assholes like him are the easiest to bag. Plus, turns out he’s a complete softy.”

“So… he’s fat?”

She poked me in the sides. “Nah, he’s more like a bag of bones than anything.”

---

I’ve been dating Emily for a year now. Things started out casual, since she wanted to give me time to think about what I wanted out of a relationship. She made it clear that if I ever bullshitted her, we were through. We promised that we would be completely honest to each other about everything, no matter how miniscule or gargantuan the subject. I was afraid that I would scare her off with my insecurities and grievances, but she has been surprisingly understanding. In return, she’s been telling me about how she feels about everything, and I can tell you for sure that she’s crazy. She hates dogs with a passion, she hates when I say “hella,” and she especially hates it when I litter. I mean, she lectured me for literally an hour about how littering is bad and how we should leave the planet in a better condition for our progeny. We argue and joke all the time, about life, love, and each other. She asks if I’ve ever done something, and if I haven’t, she makes me do it with her. Skydiving? We did it together. Camping under the stars? Cliche, but we did it together. Hiking? Man, that was pretty fun actually. Who would have thought I would enjoy it so much? Every once in awhile, she asks me if I’m bored of her yet with her signature death glare. She shouldn’t worry about that. At this rate, honestly, I’m afraid that she’ll get bored of me. In the end, all that matters is that we communicate well with each other and that I feel like we’re a great team. It’s true that I don’t love everything about her, but it’s safe to say that I love almost everything about her.

After all, I think she’s the bee’s knees.


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