This is not a good ending to a story, or maybe some of you will see it that way. Things had changed almost dramatically when I returned home. Danielle welcomed me back, and she had brought her ex-now-not-ex-boyfriend with her. My mom was there. There were so many people. I remembered I had always thought Keith would show up to welcome me off of the plain. I don’t know how I could be so ignorant.
Well, he wasn’t there, and that night sucked. Everyone just went home, and then I went to my home by myself. I realized right then that I was alone.
I had accepted an AmeriCorps state/national position in the town where my college was so I did have work, at least. Keith asked if we could meet, at least to return each other’s things. I had some stuff that I had bought on my journey to give to him. I don’t really know what I expected, but it was awkward. He came over, and I could tell he just wanted to leave. I could feel the change within him. He was distant. He talked to me for a little bit, then he gave me my stuff. He walked out of the door, and he left everything that I had bought for him on the table. That’s when I stooped to my low level. Now, as I think about it, this was the point that things changed within side me. This is the moment I lost my confidence.
I remember my heart dropped, and then picked up and RACED. I was panicking. I tried to message him on social media, and I looked through my phone for his number, but I had deleted it. I texted Danielle hoping she would respond fast enough so I could call him. It was too late. I told myself I went through that panic because he forgot his things, but really I just wanted to have an actual heart to heart about what was going on. I missed that chance. I tried to contact Danielle. I wanted her to come over. I knew it was a little late, but it wasn’t too late. I was a crying mess. This was the first time I had ever had my heart broken. I needed someone. Literally anyone. Because I was hurting. Danielle said that she didn’t have gas money, and I knew that had never been a problem before. I would always help pay, or if it were her crying and heartbroken I would find a way to get to her. She said she couldn’t with a lame excuse, and I knew that it was because she was back with her ex. It made everything more painful. So, I cried there in my living room with no one else around. Not because I pushed them away, but because they just didn’t want to be there anymore. Things were different.
This was a while ago, so my memory is a bit messy. Keith and I did text once he wasn’t driving anymore, and I asked if he wanted to meet up. I asked if he wanted to try a relationship now that I was back. He told me that we could go on a date, and that he didn’t know anymore. He said he could base a decision on the day we went out. This is where I should have said, “No. I can already see the decision is made. You can’t make up your mind, and that tells me a lot. Let’s go our separate ways.” But I didn’t. My head couldn’t rationalize his thought process. How could he go from telling me he missed me, and crying, and being this hurt guy that wanted me to be with him TO a guy that didn’t know anymore? It didn’t add up to me. We decided to meet on that next day.
I think I tuned out many of these memories of our end because it just hurt me too much to think about it. I can tell there are a lot of gaps in my memory when I think back to it now. I know that after that decision I couldn’t just sit in my apartment and cry all night. So, I went to my friend Shane’s. It was nice being around friends again. I told Shane what was going on with me and Keith. The next day I left from Shane’s and went to the fraternity house to meet Keith. He said he had eaten already, which sucked because we had already planned on getting food. And I hadn’t. When I got there, it was really weird. The other regular boys were there playing Fortnite in the living room. I said hey, but it was such a weird vibe. I knew something was off. I tried to keep up conversation, but it was just too sad.
Keith and I left and went to KFC because I was hungry. We both ate and kept up small talk. We left and went to this little creek behind campus. We got out of the car and skipped rocks, and we talked about more serious stuff. I was on the verge of tears the entire time. The entire day, really. I asked him what he wanted to do. Why he was so weird, and what had changed for him. He tried to ask me questions, but my throat was so tight from holding back tears. I couldn’t answer him most of the time. He called me “Pinto”. Which was our pet name. He did try to touch my arm and comfort me, but I knew he didn’t want a relationship anymore. I became the distant one then. He wouldn’t give me a straight answer. I asked what were the pros and cons of the relationship. He just kept saying he felt bad. He even said that his GRADES went down when we were together. Like that was my fault. He wouldn’t say the pros. I think because he had tuned the good memories out in the time that I was gone. Eventually, I just said I should take you back. So, we walked back to the car. Once we were in. I asked, “What do you want to do? I need a final answer from you.”
He said, “I don’t think I can do a relationship right now.” Then I said, “Okay.” I put the car into drive and started driving him to his new dorm room for the semester. I couldn’t say anything more than okay because I knew I would start bawling. It almost felt like the drive to the airport. I couldn’t speak, and silent tears were falling down my face.
I don’t think we really talked much for the ride. When we parked and it was time for him to get out. He stayed in the car. I wanted him to go because I knew I was about to break. He looked over at me with pity, and said, “Pintooo.” The way he always said it. His voice was low, a little sad. I told him not to call me that anymore. Then the flood gates broke again. I just started bawling. He tried to comfort me again, but I didn’t react to his touch. I might have even pushed his hands away. He kept asking what he could do, and I told him “nothing” and that he should leave. He said he wouldn’t leave until I stopped crying, but I don’t think he understood that I couldn’t as long as he sat there with me. Not because he loved me, but because he felt guilty and pitied me. He asked if we could still be friends, and I told him “No” many times. But he finally got me to agree to keeping him added on snapchat. I calmed down a bit, and finally he got out of the car, saying “I’m sorry” for the 100th time.
I watched him walk away, and I cried. I don’t know how long I sat there. I know I ended up driving around and crying a lot more. Turning on my Sam Smith – Thrill of it all Album and crying to the perfect heartbreak songs. That was our end. We are still not together.
A few weeks later I told Keith we couldn’t be friends. I didn’t know how to act around him. It was impossible to not want to get back into the motion of touching him when I saw him or call him “Pinto”. So, I sent him pictures of some old letters I had written him, and I deleted him from all social media platforms.
In the coming weeks I went to the doctor, and I started taking medication for depression because that’s what I fell into. I didn’t have my best friend or my boyfriend anymore. I felt alone. I relied on Shane through this time. He was a good friend, and I was friends with his roommates, too.
A month in, I started to feel a little better. I think it was around later September. I was still upset about Keith, but I was going through the motions. I got used to the rotation of work and visiting my family or Shane. I even agreed to go on a date with Shane’s cousin, Rick.
The day of mine and Rick’s date was the day of a festival near campus. I had agreed to help work a stand there with my co-workers. This was a hard day. I was working the stand when I saw Rick holding hands with another girl. I tried to hide myself, but my heart sank. Although I didn’t have an emotional attachment to him, I was excited for the date. I spent that morning making my hair and makeup perfect. I picked out the perfect outfit for the date. Once they had walked past and I saw them leave, I sent him a message saying, “I cannot go on a date with you tonight, but fortunately for you. You can continue the one you were on today.”
Taking all this into account, my day was not going the best. Then I saw him. Keith. He was walking down the street of vendors. Holding a girl’s hand, and it looked like the girl’s mom was with them. It hit me like a dagger in the heart. I saw them at a distance, and they were heading in the direction of my booth. I immediately felt a numbness take over my body. I guess my body was protecting itself. I was helping a little boy color at our booth when they got close. Keith and I made eye contact, and I simply just gave him a small smile and a small wave. He acknowledged it with a head nod, and moved on. We didn’t talk at all, but I won’t forget the shock that took over his features when we made eye contact. His face went through many emotions right there, but I saw it go from shock, to guilt, to sad, then to a mask.
I was hurt, but that it what happened. I didn’t have much interaction with him after that, until I went to one of the fraternity’s parties later on. Where I said hey to him, and he gave me a pitying look and asked, “How are you?” I just said, “I’m good. Pretty good.” I knew right then that I never wanted to see that look from him again. I didn’t want to be looked at like that again. I didn’t want his pity anymore.