We tried to make the best of the rest of his visit, but Awkward hung around us like a third wheel. We spent our last day clinging on to each other because we both knew the second he stepped into that taxi to LaGuardia, we would never be the same. I'd be the bitch who broke his heart twice. He'd be the best friend I'd always want a little bit more with. I was the crying girl in the middle of the street hugging him while he had one foot in the cab. He held me tight, and didn't tell me not to cry.
"We'll still talk. Things will be fine," he said, rubbing my back.
"I'm sorry I couldn't give you what you came here for. I'm so sorry, Will," I said between hiccups sobs.
"Hey, you can't force things. We'll be OK." And at that, he broke free of my hug and ducked into the cab.
"Be good, Kid," he said, closing the door.
I watched him drive away as I stood there on Avenue A, crying like an idiot. After a few minutes of watching the cab in stop-and-go traffic, I walked over to Tompkins Square Park and sat on a bench to think. Will had been my comfort blanket, my link to home. What would NYC be like without that? I watched a couple pass by wearing skinny jeans and holding hands. I thought about tripping them. I resisted the urge, but started to wonder if I'd ever find that. (No, not the skinny jeans. I doubted they made them in my size) Or would I always fall for the bad guy, the guy who doesn't hold hands in public, the guy who doesn't commit. I put my face in my hands and I cried.
At the same time, I hoped Will would move on. I hoped he'd find a girl he could walk hand-in-hand with, a girl who loved him back the exact amount he loved her. Will was a lover, and he deserved to be loved by the greatest girl possible. I just wasn't that girl.
But I just didn't have the balls to tell him to move on. As badly as I wanted to, I still wanted a piece of Will for myself. Sure, I'd told him I couldn't commit, but I didn't tell him to stop trying. I knew that deep down, Will was hoping I'd come to my senses. Hoping I'd wake up and realize how good I had it with him. And deep down in me, I knew that wouldn't happen. I just didn't have the heart to tell him. So I answered his call that night. And the next night. And the next.
I couldn't stop myself. I just wanted to tell him all about my day. In hindsight, I realize I should have just written in a journal, or hell, started a blog, instead of relying on Will. Every time I called him, I was giving him a fraction of hope. Of course, I was still out meeting people, and I told myself he was, too. But there was no one I'd rather talk to after a long day than Will.
I was being selfish, I know. I knew it at the time, but I didn't know what to do about it. I wasn't interested in finding a serious relationship in the city because I knew I wasn't in a serious relationship with NYC. New York and I were dating, but we weren't committed. I was making $10 an hour and paying $1,000/month in rent, so you might want to call it an abusive relationship. My heart was back in Texas with my friends and family, so it wasn't available for anyone in New York. That was actually my mom's biggest fear. "Oh, you're going to fall in love and never come back."
The guilt of what I was doing to Will finally became too much. It was too heavy. I couldn't carry it around anymore. I felt guilty every time I talked to another guy, and I was starting to resent Will for that, even though it was my fault. It had been about a month since his visit. It was almost Halloween. I downed a glass of wine and made the call.
"Will, we can't keep doing this," I said into my cell phone, pouring myself another glass of wine.
"What do you mean?" He asked.
"I mean this. We can't keep relying on each other like this. It's not fair to you," I knew I was being the unfair one, which is why I didn't say 'us.'
"Whitney, I'm fine with the way things are. I love talking to you. We're friends. I know you won't commit, so I'm not asking you to," he said.
"I know you're not asking me to, but that doesn't make this OK! This just has to stop. We're both clinging to something that's not there," I swirled the tempranillo around in my stemless wine glass and watched it cling to the sides. Watching the wine slosh distracted me from crying.
"Whitney, how about this. We keep things like they are, and if you meet someone you tell me, and if I meet someone I'll tell you. Then we'll let go of it, move on. Until then, I don't want to let go."
I knew that sounded like the worst idea ever. I knew this was my chance to come clean, break it off, set him free. All I had to say was, "No, we both know that won't work. This is over. I love you, but this is done." Easier thought than said. I couldn't force the words out. I downed the smooth red wine in three gulps and felt it sting my nose and the back of my throat. Liquid courage? Hardly.
"OK. Until we meet someone."