Amanda and I had been together for three years, but it was about to come to an end. Things have been getting worse for some time and it’s been harder for us to communicate with one another without it leading into a fight or, at the very least, some low-level resentment that would eventually turn into a fight. She had been working too much and I have been smoking too much weed. There seemed to be a mutual disinterest in making love to each other. It had been three months. The relationship was about to end. I was ready for it.
It was a cold day in Los Angeles when she told me we needed to talk and asked me to meet her at the patio at Salazar’s. It was where we had our first date all those years ago and I appreciated the dramatic irony of having this happen there. I spent the rest of the afternoon thinking about how to respond to the inevitable reasons she would give for why the relationship needed to end. She would say it was my fault, that I didn’t appreciate her the way she deserves. That may be accurate, but the truth is sometimes people just grow apart. I could have tried harder though.
When I arrived at Salazar’s she was already seated. She was anxious and when she stood up to hug me seemed to be shivering from nerves.
“Are you okay?” I asked as we sat down.
“Yes, yes, I’m just going through a lot,” she said. “How was your day?”
“Good, real busy,” I said even though I had only spent about 20 minutes on a freelance graphic design assignment and the rest of the day playing Madden. “What about you?” I asked to which she brushed off what I’m sure was a hectic day at the lab.
We ordered our food and sat silently for a few minutes. “What’s going on, Amanda?” I asked, wanting to get this started. The temperature had continued to drop and I began to feel drizzles of rain on my head.
“Well, I have been thinking a lot about us lately. About all of the years we had together, the memories we built, and how thankful I am for them. But it hasn’t always been easy…”
Here it comes. I can’t take it–
“We should break up,” I interrupted.
“That’s where you’re going with this, right? You want to break up with me?” I asked.
“Is…is that what you want?” she responded.
“I think it is,” it was the first time I said it out loud. The rain had started to fall harder but neither of us moved. “Amanda, we both deserve to be happy, don’t we? And you and I can’t have a conversation without it ending in a fight. I’m not going to fight you on this, I think this is for the best,” I said.
“I didn’t know you felt like this,” she told me, tears washed away by the rain. We were the only two remaining on the patio.
“Isn’t this what you want? Why did you ask me here to talk?” I asked.
Jeremy and I had been together for three years. It’s not a perfect relationship, but the two of us have fun together. On our first date he took me to this crappy Mexican restaurant called Salazar’s that he said was his favorite. “I love it because it’s not perfect,” I remembered him saying. And that’s Jeremy, you know, he appreciates the ugliness in things. I thought he would appreciate the dramatic irony of telling him we were going to be a family at the place where we first fell in love. I hope it doesn’t rain.
It hasn’t been great for us these last few months. It’s mostly my fault, I work too much and when I get home can’t seem to turn that part of my brain off enough to just enjoy his company. Still, he could help out more. We aren’t as intimate as we used to be. It’s been three months, but it was then when this happened. We had gone to Phoenix to visit his sister and, well, would Phoenix be a good name if it is a girl?
“You’re pregnant?” he asked me.
“And you want to break up with me?” I responded.
We sat another moment just staring at each other as our bowl of nachos finally started to overflow with rainwater.
“I wouldn’t have said that if I knew you were–“
“Then you shouldn’t have interrupted me, Jeremy! You’re always interrupting me.”
“I’m sorry,” he said. How long had he been wanting this? After all I’ve done for him he’s going to do this to me–
“How far along are you?” he asked over the sound of the storm.
“Three months,” I said.
“Can we start this over?” he asked me as if I could forget. As if I could ever forget.
“Sure,” I said. What choice did I have? I’ve seen first hand how hard it is when a woman raises a child on her own.
“So do you have some news for me?” he asked.
“I’m pregnant,” I said again, the rain finally starting to let up.
He said nothing. He just stood up and walked over to me and took my hand.
“It won’t be perfect, Amanda. But I’ll be here for you and,” he placed his hand gingerly on my stomach, “whoever is in here.”
The two of us, still soaking, embraced for a few minutes until the waiter finally came out and asked if we would like to move to a table inside.
“I think we’re good here,” I said, staring at Jeremy.
“Yeah?” he asked.
“For now,” I told him. “But actually maybe we should move inside, I don’t want to catch a cold.”