I knew it was over when we went to Tuesday Morning to pick out shams for my queen size bed at my apartment. My lease was close to renewal and she decided she didn’t want me to move back in after separating for close to a year. I felt I worked on and resolved the attitude related issues that led to the breakup over a year ago, but I guess it just wasn’t enough or she didn’t accept I had changed. She believes in the adage; the best prediction of future action is past performance. She weaved that line into a couple of recent conversations. I guess absolution is more theory than reality for her. Can’t blame her, she is a very practical person. Anyway, she said she needed time to get herself together, but I knew what that meant, and I wasn’t going push the issue. It was her decision to make and my only option was to accept. Sure, I could have played some Jedi mind tricks, but it really was just time to respect her decision and figure out how I felt about it. The toughest thing is to see an emotional issue through someone else’s eyes. I need to accept what I may never fully understand. Maybe she really does just need time alone to reset, but my gut tells me otherwise. It was close to my birthday last year when she decided that I needed to move out. I clearly remember the pain I felt. It really shouldn’t have been such a surprise because the signs would have been obvious to a blind man but I wasn’t blind, I was consciously ignorant. Clear communication was never our strong suit but you would have thought I got the message when she returned to her home state of Mississippi for both Valentine’s Day and her birthday. I think she gained strength from talking with family and friends and dropped the axe when she came back. No quibbling, no discussion, give me a date when you’ll be moved out. She even offered to help pack the boxes. While at Tuesday Morning we were able to maintain the fun, joking style we always did when running errands and such. While it was fun, it was different, and I knew it. It felt as if this may be the last time spent goofing off together. As I browsed through the aisles I realized she couldn’t commit to any short-term plans, even what she wanted to do for her upcoming birthday. She just learned my parents were coming to town and that usually led to a bunch of questions and preliminary planning but there was deafening silence. The inability to plan is a huge sign. It could only be more obvious if it was flashing red. Those reactions prompted me to reflect on our time together and I came to the banal conclusion that most relationships have a shelf life. Kind of like an expiration date on a carton of milk. And our expiration date was approaching. What makes things more complicated for us is that we dated for over five years. There’s no way to make a clean break after that amount of time. She is FB friends with over 20 of my immediate and extended family and other friends. I actually think most of my people like her better than me. For my sake a break means a clean break. No contact with my friends or family until I find my footing. It just helps me understand that it’s over. I’m not sure she’ll understand that and probably thinks I’m being selfish. She’s been a huge help with my girls but perhaps those friendship can be independently renewed with space and time. All of this hit me at about 2:10 one morning. I had a dream where her ex was explaining to me how she felt about me. As much as I tried to remember the details I couldn’t, but I did remember how I felt. He seemed like a nice guy who was just helping me understand what was going on. I vaguely remember seeing her standing in the background and sensed she was seemed comfortable with him translating her feelings. Kind of funny because I’m not even sure what he looks like and she told me he was a real asshole. It’s now 4:30 and I think I’ll try to see if these shams are comfortable enough to help me get some sleep. That bitch Alexa is going to wake me up at 6:00 and a new day with its own challenges will smack me in the face soon enough. Who knows? Maybe all of this is just an overreaction from a crazy dream and an unrested mind. I guess time will tell. I just don’t want a death from a thousand knife cuts. Peace.