Breaking Up Is Hard To Do
Diana took another sip of wine to steady herself. She walked into the kitchen and found Marco standing there, palms pressed flat against the table, gazing downward. The Italian food lay in the bag untouched and unopened.
At her approach Marco looked up at her. Diana went to stand on the other side of the table giving herself distance and space. She could barely look at him but she finally did and it confirmed her belief-Marco already knew this was the beginning of the end. There was a sadness there in his eyes. The shame and guilt filled her at the thought that she was the cause of his misery.
"So you're breaking up with me." It was more of a statement than a question. There was a hint of everything in those words-sorrow, fear, bitterness, resentment, loneliness, and yes, even still, love.
Diana, steeling herself, said, "Marco..."
"Was it something I said or did? Or didn't do or say? Is this about your ex-fiancé? Are you back with him?"
"No...Yes...No..," Diana, usually so poised, stumbled in her words and thoughts. She rubbed her forehead. She was so glad Maia was spending the night at her friend's house so that she wasn't here to witness Mommy breaking the heart of her friend. Maybe that's why she had asked to spend the night at her friend's house? Diana pushed these thoughts aside. She was only allowing them to distract her from the unpleasantness ahead. She took a deep breath. "No, you have done nothing, nothing, wrong. Yes this does have something to do with my ex-fiancé. And finally, no, we are not back together."
Diana took another deep breath and another sip of wine. She proceeded to fill Marco in on the missing pieces of the story. She told him about the ability of the 4400 member that enabled people to reconcile their problems through these "hallucinations," about the woman's grandson who thought he was giving everybody a "gift" by exposing them to her power, and, finally, she told him about Josh.
Marco looked at Diana steadily. "I would never hurt you like that."
Diana voice shook slightly with emotion. "I know. I know. You are a wonderful guy, Marco. You are one of the sweetest, most generous, people I know. But I have been unfair to you. I dated you, like I've dated all the other guys since Josh, because you are safe, because I know you would never hurt me. I've never allowed myself to love again. That's why you deserve someone better than me. You deserve someone who loves you completely in return, without reservations."
There was a pause while Marco shook his head taking all this in. "So you don't love me." The word "love" had never been spoken between them but Marco had felt as if it had. It was a statement filled with grief and sorrow.
Diana's heart was breaking. Why did she have to be so cruel in order to be kind? What would have happened had she allowed this relationship gone on for months longer? She hated herself at this moment. It had been easier breaking up Josh and the others. There was some fatal flaw that they all had that Marco didn't seem to. Marco was such a great guy for some lucky girl-just not her. He deserved more than she could offer in return. "I do love you, Marco, as a friend." Diana reached out with her free hand and put it over one of Marco's. He stayed rigid, not moving, so unlike the way he would have been with her only moments earlier had she not gone down this path. She had never felt his hands so cold before. "As your friend, because I care, I had to tell you about this now. I know how I feel now and it would be unfair of me to drag you along for months thinking that everything was okay between us. I would do anything for you. I know it doesn't seem like that right now. I hope we can still remain friends."
Marco's head had been sinking lower and lower at her words. When she finished he finally dragged his head up to face her. His eyes spoke clearly what his mouth did not-his heart was broken. "Di...Diana...I don't know. I just don't know if we can still be friends. I love...loved..."
Marco couldn't finish. He slowly pulled his hand from underneath Diana's and, leaving the Italian food long since gone cold on the table counter, he left.
Diana couldn't watch him go, but as soon as she heard the apartment door close she sunk down into a chair. She drained the remaining dredges of wine out of the glass and set it down. Every ounce of strength had left her. She laid her head down and cried.
Alas, my Love! Ye do me wrong
To cast me off discourteously:
And I have loved you so long,
Delighting in your company.
Edna St. Vincent Millay:
After all, my erstwhile dear,
My no longer cherished,
Need we say it was not love,
Now that love is perished?