--"Heartbreaker", The Bee Geescontinued from If You Think That I Don't Love You, You're Just Wrong, That Don't Matter Now Anyway, I Couldn't Bear To See You Up There, With A White Dress On
"I've got bad news, my Breannie."
That was your opening line--no "how are you faring?", no "congratulations". You didn't even try even buttering me up at all. You were the kid coming to the front of the class with his speech barely memorized in his head, itching to recite it before you lost it from your memory. You didn't care what you were saying. All that mattered was that you expelled it as quickly as possible from your memory or, more precisely, that I heard it.
Heard it, I did. Every word of it. The words came tumbling out of you in a unstoppable torrent.
"The thing is that I know I told you that I was all set to come out there for the next two weeks, but, the more I think about it, the more I realize that now's not the time I should be going. My mom's been going in and out of the hospital and my dad's been riding my ass to be here if it turns out to be something awful. And, well, you know how my family is. They already think I pay too much attention to my friends and not enough to them."
"You're not telling me what I think you're telling me, sugar. You're not seriously saying you can't make it out here at all, are you?"
"I know it sucks, but I'd feel horrible if it turns out bad, you know? I should stay. I want to go, believe me. I've been looking forward to coming out since you let me know the date six months ago. I honestly have been thinking about nothing else for the last couple of weeks. I don't want to disappoint you, especially not now during what's supposed to be some of your fondest times, but I think it's what I should do, don't you? I should stay."
"You can't come out for like the last couple of days? Make the ceremony at least? Tell me you can do that. They'd understand, I know they would."
"I know, I know. There's no really good excuse I can give you. I can only do what I think is best."
Hell's bells, it didn't take a genius to hear that all you were telling me was a lie. You may think that you're some master conniver and, to some degree, I've let you believe your own mystique over the years. But you've never been able to fool me all that well. I saw through the pretense of your having a family emergency. I saw the situation for what it was--namely, your opportunity to disappoint me yet again. Truly, I should have seen it coming. People have said that if you pick the one time, the one moment, when you are counting on Patrick to be there for you the most, that's the time he'll screw you the most. And it's true. There have been many times where having you as a friend truly hasn't been worth the breath it took to say it. More than once I've had to plead with you to act like a true friend acts. I've had to explain that there are just certain things that you're supposed to do in common situations. I should have remembered that you weren't born with the sense God gave geese. I should have remembered that, when it really comes down to it, you'll put yourself before anyone else. You would think that it could go unsaid that I was counting you of all people to be there and yet you still thought you had the option of even cancelling. That alone speaks volumes about the lengths you will go for your own agenda.
Greg once asked me why the two of us never quite made it. I told him that, unlike him, you lacked the follow-through and determination that a real man has. He's the kind of man that you could never be--sweet, gentle, laidback in both good times and bad. He's the kind of man who understands that you don't necessarily have to sacrifice who you are for the other person, but you do necessarily have to accommadate their wishes as well. He's the kind of person who places an emphasis on harmony and co-operation. He's not the type to cut you loose the instant his wishes are not carried out. He's not the type to break my heart like you are.
"I hope your mother is not sick, I really do. But you're basing your whole decision to stay on what might happen and how you think you should act. You even said, you swore, that they were wishing me well and that you were even bringing along a gift from them. If they really didn't want you to go I think they would have spoken up sooner. I'm asking you plainly to come be at my wedding. Aside from my parents, I don't think there's anyone else I want there as much as you. It simply wouldn't be the same without you, Eeyore.
"Are you sure there isn't something else going on? Something we can work out before you actually leave the airport?" I asked you.
"Just my mom, that's all."
"Swear to God, Holy Bible, nothing counts, if you lie, you go to Hell?"
"I swear, Breanne."
"You are so going to Hell."
"Am not. I'm not lying to you. I just can't come. I'll make this up to you somehow... I swear."
"The thing is there's no making up for this. It's not as if you can come to my second wedding. This is it. This is all she wrote for me. I don't plan on getting hitched again in my life and I sure as shit am going to know better than to invite you if I did--excuse my language. This is your one chance to be there for me where you're supposed to be, where I'm counting on you to be."
"You've come this far and to me you sound pretty composed. You're not going to fall apart if I'm not there."
"Now who's lying?"
"I've got something to tell you, Mr. Patrick. A lot of what's been buoying me through this last month, amid all the preparations and planning, has been the thought I'd have you here to cheer me up and keep me strong. You've always been good at that. The thought of you bailing... well, let's just say I'm starting to feel like I'm doing this on my own."
"What have you got to be nervous about? From the sound of things Greg's perfect for you and the two of you sound deathly cute together."
"I'm not deciding where I should eat for lunch. I'm not picking out a dress from the store. I'm talking about my future here. I'm talking about choosing a path that I can't very easily come back from. The thought has occurred to me more than once that I may be making the biggest mistake of my life. You know me, I'm usually the first one to jump into the swimming hole, clothes and all, and be the one to mock everyone else for being scared little lillies. I don't want to jump head-first into this, though, and the trouble is I kind of have to. Getting married isn't something I can do halfway, you know? I don't have a trial period to return the merchandise if I don't like it. I'm not used to hesitating about anything, but this, this whole package has get me hesitating a lot."
"Is it something wrong with him?"
"No, he's great. He's superb. That's not the problem."
"Then what's the problem?"
"The problem is... there is no problem. Usually when I want to run away it's because I'm trying to run away from something. Now I want to run away because it's what I want to do. I usually run away from something that upsets me or angers me. This... feeling... is me wanting to run away because I'm...."
"Exactly. And that's not something I normally am about anything. That's why I wanted to have you here in person, to talk me down from it. You're nothing if not rational, darling."
I couldn't have spelled it out to you any clearer. I needed you to be here for me, to be a friend, and you couldn't even do that little bit for me. I didn't want to beg you then. I didn't want to give off the impression that I was in over my head and that I was having serious thoughts about cancelling the whole shebang. It would have been nice to see one face who wasn't all determined to see me married is all. It would have been funny to joke with you about you being ready with the pink caddy the moment I gave you the word to skedaddle. Remember that? That's what we used to joke about when either of us got serious about anybody else. We had an unspoken vow to be that escape plan should the need ever arise. There wasn't any one guy or girl who was beyond reproach, every one of them was subject to being ditched at a moment's notice. We'd take off in that pink caddy, leaving them to wonder where exactly he or she had lost us. And that's when we'd drive off down the highway, the end credits would roll, and some Blake Babies song would carry us out.
That's what you would have been for me had you come. I would have still gotten married, but having you there would have been like an extra measure of security. Knowing I had plan B, to run away with you, would have only served to calm my already frantic nerves.
I know this isn't the forum to be dredging all this up again, but, remember, you started this.
"And you honestly think I'd have any reason to convince you to stay?" you asked.
"I'm not so sure."
"You're not saying you'd want one more roll in the hay for old times sake are you?"
"That wouldn't be bad either," you laughed too. "But I was talking about you and I, and what you're not marrying him would mean."
"Not an option."
"I know that and you know that, but I don't think anybody's told my heart yet. When he finds out, boy, is he getting be pissed."
"Is that what this is? Is this some pathetic attempt to ransom out your company? Don't marry Greg or else?"
"Then what is it, sugar? Explain it to me."
"It is what it is. I feel what I feel. I've never stopped and I don't think you've either. I just can't... go. Can't be there when, you know."
"I knew it. You are holding yourself hostage, thinking that I'm going to decide to choose you over him. Let my Patrick go, I say."
I fully expected you to keep on joking with me. That's what we did, after all. We riffed on each other's crazy notion, adding to what was already there, until we'd both end up in hysterics. That was the basis for the majority of our conversations. In fact, it was the spirit by which our friendship was forged, the idea that the two of us could be so in sync that I didn't have to explain where I was headed with one non sequitir after another. I didn't have to explain to you what made a certain musing amusing (?!). You'd get it and you'd be right there to play off of it. It was the invisible tether that kept us tied to one another for so long, the fact that we always were of the same mind. If I was up, I brought you up with me eventually. Or if you were down, you brought me down with you. The concept of you not being right there with me, not empathizing with what I was going through, or vice-versa, was inconceivable. I took it for granted that we'd always be capable of seeing the other's viewpoint.
That was not the case in this situation.
"I'm being serious, Breanne. Don't marry him. Please."
"Not an option, darling, and it never will be."
"And that's why I can't fly over there. I can't see you with somebody else when I know that should be me up there."why do you have to be a heartbreaker?
is it a lesson that I never knew?
I started to laugh again.
"It's not funny. I'm pouring out my heart to you and all you can do is laugh."
"I'm not meaning to, but how am I supposed to take what you're telling me seriously? It's ridiculous."
"Is it ridiculous that I care about you enough to not want to get hurt by seeing you with him?"
"No, it's not ridiculous. It's kind of sweet. It's unfortunate that you had to tell me because you know what my answer is going to be, Patrick. That's never going to change."
"Neither are my feelings for you."
"I'm sorry to hear that. But simply because you feel the need for a second chance doesn't give you the right to make up some flimsy excuse and lie to me. It also doesn't give you the right to abandon me."
"That's all you can say?"
"What should I say?"
"Tell me you understand where I'm coming from, Breanne. Tell me you wish it could be different somehow. Tell me that in another life, in other circumstances, it would be me there."
"I can't. I don't know where you're coming from. I don't. I don't live in this murky grey area of regret that you seem trapped in. I don't wallow in the choices I've made and the way life has unfolded for me. Yeah, there was a time where I did see the two of us finally making it to the altar someday. In fact, there were a couple of years there where I was sure it would happen for us. But, you know what, you're the one who screwed this up. You're the one who didn't believe in us. You're the one who fucked it all to hell. You. Asked. Her. First. Remember?
"It took me a long time to give up on that dream and start building one of my own... without you in it.
"And I don't wish it could be different because wishing doesn't get you anything but heartache. My daddy always says you till the land you own and nevermind what somebody else has got. I can't spend my time daydreaming about something that apparently was never meant to happen. I can't waste my days hoping things turn around. I couldn't then and I'm not about to start now.
"As for another life, maybe in another life you would have asked me is all I'm saying about that."
I wanted my life with Greg. That's all I understood at that point. It's taken a long time and a lot of conversations with you to be able to see your angle on the whole incident. It was very clear that you did what you thought you was right, but that still doesn't change the fact you were wrong. There is right and there is right, and that's all there is to it. You don't try and make somebody else's happiness about you, you just don't. And, when somebody who supposedly means the world to you tells you that she needs you to be there for her, you don't ask what you're going to get out of it. You ask how soon do you want me. I never meant to hurt you, but I don't think the same could be said of you. Because somebody who really had our best interests at heart, somebody who was truly interested in preserving our friendship, wouldn't have done what you did. They just wouldn't. And the fact you did broke my heart more than anything else.
"I think it's better if I don't come and maybe if we didn't talk for awhile, Breanne."
"If that's what you think is best. They'll still be a place for you if, you know, you change your mind."
"Don't hold your breath..."
I hung up the phone after you.
It was almost seven months before we spoke again after that, but I don't have to tell you that. You were there.
Or, more precisely, you weren't there.