MORNING COFFEE 37 - broken eggs

By Susan Weber

Hosts of a radio show exploring new music joke about a singer who’s obviously trying to talk someone into not breaking up with him. They admit they’ve been in his shoes more than once and admire how the artist’s jazz chording and moody vocals capture the feeling well.

A lifetime ago, I tried to talk a boyfriend out of breaking up with me. Artistry had nothing to do with my technique. I dropped by his place under pretense of retrieving my bike, my tongue so ripe with rebellion I couldn’t hold back. Our ensuing interchange bordered on the caterwaul of back alley varmints brandishing claws. I slammed out of there, minus the bike.

I don’t know what state I thought to find him in as I huffed back up to his apartment a few minutes later, tears and snot obscuring all perspective. Sobbing in his armchair, maybe, head in hands, rueful of his callousness? Fumbling with shoes and socks to chase me down and voice his copious regrets—ah yes. What I saw when I stepped into his kitchen was his lanky frame bent over the stove top, coddling a large and steamy omelet in a cast iron skillet. Wielding his spatula with infinite finesse, he seemed to have pivoted from raucous indignation to calm domesticity in a heartbeat. With this glimpse of his inner sanctum sans moi, sprinkled with pepper and just enough salt, I suddenly knew we were never more to be.

Days before my husband died he said he would be at perfect peace when he left here. We who would miss him after he’d gone were the ones he felt sorry for. I feel and felt sorry for all the life he’ll never get to live, but he was not one to calculate his losses.

After another long day of mourning, I fold my pillow of egg and melted cheese in half and slide the masterpiece onto one plate instead of two. There is a strain to my subconscious that’s been desperately pleading with my partner of thirty six years not to break up with me. I told a friend yesterday that I miss the ordinary, everyday presence of him, bouncing things off each other in the shorthand way of partnership. I miss ignoring him and being ignored. I miss the sound of him, coming in from feeding the birds, coming up the stairs to interrupt my reading. Wouldn’t it be great to get back together, forget all this pointless wrangling with cancer cells, and take up where we left off?

This might be why it’s so hard to enjoy pleasures we once shared. If he’s watching me from the great beyond, what would I be telling him by pivoting abruptly to a well kempt life? We’ve been together for a good long while. If it’s really over, the least I can do is take my time telling him good bye.

Photo by Fir0002/Flagstaffotos CC BY-NC 3.0