Monday, 11 June 2012

The End Game



From the Summer 2012 issue of King West Magazine

Our Single Gal gets caught off guard
By Marilisa Racco

The American author, humourist and radio personality Garrison Keillor once said: "Nothing bad ever happens to a writer—it's all material." In a not entirely dissimilar vein, a friend and fellow scribe recently shared with me the number one rule of revenge journalism: Never fuck with a writer.

Sometime around the end of last summer, I took up with a plucky fella—let's call him "S"—who embodied none of the traits that usually draw me in. He was employed, responsible, gentlemanly and genuinely interested in me. Naturally my first instinct was to run in the opposite direction. It didn't help that on our fourth date he suggested we take a trip together and asked me to accompany him to a wedding where his parents would be among the guests. I politely declined on both counts. It's not that I wasn't interested in him; it's just that I like to take things slow. Like, date for 10 or 12 years and then talk about investing in a cactus together.

Eventually, between his dogged determination and my biological clock, I gave in. What ensued was an exhilarating whirlwind of meeting family and friends, celebrating birthdays and holidays, exchanging mots doux and making plans for the future. It went against my every instinct but, I reasoned, I had clearly found The One and this is what normal, sane people do.

Christmas came and we were sucked into a vortex of familial obligations, shuttling ourselves between his family, who live outside of Toronto, and mine, who couldn't be more thrilled that despite all evidence to the contrary, I was in fact the marrying kind. We exchanged extravagant gifts, the subtext seemingly reading: Let's be frivolous now before we have a mortgage and a kid. An overnight stay at his parents' house yielded a very generous gift from them that only solidified my impending official status within his family, which pleased me to no end. As far as I could tell, they would make marvelous in-laws, at once genial and gracious without a hint of intrusive. His sister and her husband were well on their way to being our Best Couple Friends, while their criminally cute two-year-old with her marked resemblance to S served as a blueprint for our future offspring. The die had been cast.

What I quickly learned, however, is that in this modern dating landscape, there's no accounting for a change of heart. Shortly after ringing in the New Year together and with no warning whatsoever, S ended things. As I drove him home one evening, in an episode that lasted less than 10 minutes, he coolly said that he didn't see a future with me and would I mind stepping inside to collect my things. Stunned and speechless, I watched as he feverishly packed up the few belongings I had scattered around his house and escorted me to the door. He simply couldn't get rid of me fast enough. By the time I got home he had unfriended me on Facebook, unfollowed me on Twitter and had squared a minor debt with an email money transfer. One can only imagine that he has since had his house fumigated in an effort to rid it of any lingering DNA.

In the days that followed, I fluctuated between anguish and rage. I came to term what had happened as "emotional carpet bombing" and blamed the sneak attack for my inability to react on the spot. I toyed with the idea of reaching out to him, working out old hurtful standards like: "I'm too good for you" and "You were lousy in bed" and "I hate your Crocs!" (Only one of those statements is true...OK, maybe two.) But after a week of discussing the breakup ad nauseam with my closest friends, I concluded that confronting him would only serve to reopen wounds.

That epiphany helped me to heal, though of course I still have questions, the biggest being: What changed? Maybe there was someone else or maybe it was a garden-variety freak-out or maybe he's just a little boy pretending to be a grownup. Regardless, he was right about one thing: There was no future with me. My future contains and man who can see past his fears and shortcomings, as well as my own. A man who treats the woman he claims to love with dignity, kindness and respect, even if he is about to break her heart. But, most importantly, my future sure as hell doesn't contain a man who wears Crocs.

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