*Christmas Blues – The Breakup*
Sylvia stared at her phone for a moment before she tapped its screen for few seconds. She watched as the call app dialled the number she had tapped, she held her breath as the number rang and then sighed when she heard the click and then a gentle male voice filtered through the speaker.
“Hello” She heard him speak.
“Hello?” He spoke again.
Sylvia glanced at her phone screen till the call time hit 00:07 seconds before she moved it to her ears.
“Hello” She replied. “Can you hear me now?”
She could feel the anger seep through her as she waited for his response.
She wanted to be sure he could hear her because for the past two weeks he wasn’t. He didn’t take her calls neither did he bother to return them for days and the times he picked up he claimed he had forgotten and offered an apology. An apology that couldn’t take away the anxiousness she had felt. Those weeks she could picture herself with a flower and then playing the ‘he loves me’ ‘he loves me not’ game as she pulled the petals apart.
“Yes I can” The voice replied. “Are you okay?” He asked with a yawn.
Sylvia paused as she debated if she should lash out at him or not. She was mad at him and she wanted to scream and shout at him but she couldn’t. She didn’t have the right too. They weren’t in any relationship.. They were just friends. Friends… With benefits.
“I am okay” She replied. “And you? How was your day?”
“Great” He answered with another yawn. “It was busy as usual.”
“Okay” Sylvia answered as she pondered on what else to say. “Are you working tomorrow too? It’s Christmas Eve.”
“Am I working tomorrow?”
She swore she heard him snort.
“Aren’t you working tomorrow too?” He asked.
“Yes I am” Sylvia answered and she heard him mutter an inaudible response that meant ‘why ask such a nonsensical question if you knew we would both be at work.’
Sylvia shut her eyes as she berated herself for asking such question. A few weeks ago they would have laughed over that exact questions but now, everything seemed different. Even the way he spoke… He sounded different.
“Have you eaten?”
“What did you eat?”
“Did you cook?”
“No… I ate out.”
“Okay” Sylvia muttered as she pondered on her next question. It felt awkward. Was it because they hadn’t spoken regularly lately? She wondered. Was that how people grew apart? Have they really grown apart?.
Tears filled her eyes as the thought hit her. Is this it? What about the plans they had made together for the holidays? He had told her of his unavailability during the new year celebrations and they had talked about spending Christmas together but with his attitude lately she didn’t know anymore.
“Will you come to the house for Christmas?” She asked softly. She closed her eyes and silently prayed that he would give her the answer she wanted to hear.
“No” He answered. “I have other plans… I will be with a friend’s family.”
Sylvia felt the sinking feeling in her stomach as her worst fears were playing out and a tear rolled down her cheeks. She was hurt that he didn’t even put her first in his plans. More hurt because he didn’t let her know he changed their plans.
“Okay… Have fun” She replied with a dejected voice. She couldn’t feel the traces of her anger fizzle out. She didn’t have the strength to argue.
“There’s no fun to catch there” He replied after a pause that meant ‘Can we just skip this part?’.
“Are you going there to work your butt off or cook?”
“Then have fun and enjoy yourself”
There was a moment of silence and then he yawned.
“Take care of yourself”
“Good night” Sylvia heard him mutter and she debated on her response.
A part of her would have just smiled and muttered a reply. Another part of her would have whispered “I love you” and then waited for him to mutter an incoherent response like he always does before he disconnects the call. And then, this huge part of her that longed for him to respond to her and whisper back the words she had always wanted to hear from him.
Was ‘I love you too’ really that difficult to say? After everything they had promised each other? After everything they had shared with each other?
Sylvia sighed as she glanced at her phone as the seconds counted and he waited for her response. It was over… She wanted it to be over. A new year was approaching and she didn’t want to feel lonely anymore. She wanted to love and be loved. She wanted to fill up the empty pitcher in her heart. She wanted to be happy.
Her fingers hovered over the red button on her screen for a few more seconds and she disconnected the call.
She laid on her bed and tried to stop the tears that rolled down her cheeks. She wanted to tell him that it would be the last time she would call and that she wanted nothing more to do with him.
“I wish I can” Sylvia cried. She really wished she could. This was just another of the many one-sided breakups she had experienced all by herself each time he couldn’t meet her expectations.
She couldn’t call him out in his selfish behaviour because he didn’t understand why shouldn’t be. She couldn’t hear the words she yearned for because he didn’t understand why she needed him to say it. She couldn’t express how hurt she felt each time he picked other people over her… She had no right.
She was at his mercy because he had warned her from the start. He had steadily reminded her over the years with his actions that they had nothing together… That he only cared about her… That they were only friends… Friends with benefits.