So it was official: I'd met someone. Was it something serious? Probably not. But that didn't matter. It was time to break the news to Will. It had been three days since drinks with Duncan, and we'd been texting back and forth. I'd see him next that weekend at the Gugg party. Alexa, Maleah, and I bought a year membership so we could get in free. Not to mention, we felt pretty intellectual saying we were members at the Gugg, even if it was only for the free parties.
I had a sick feeling in my stomach knowing I was about to break Will's heart for the third time. What had he done to deserve that? Nothing at all. He'd fallen in love with me, bought me a ring, and treated me like a princess. And there I was, about to tear out that huge, kind, generous heart of his and stomp on it with my $20 knee-high boots. I felt terrible. I poured myself a glass of wine and sat cross-legged in my sweats on our stiff black leather Ikea couch. Both of my roommates were at work, as they worked in the restaurant industry. I had the place to myself (all 400 square feet of it), so no one else would have to witness what was about to take place.
I sipped my wine while I tried to script a conversation in my head. I'd say hello, ask him if he had a minute to talk, then I'd just come out with it. But how would he react? Would he go off on me, call me a bitch, and throw his phone against the wall? Would he say he wished he'd never met me because all I've caused is heartache? Or would he say he understood? That he'd met someone, too? That it was time to let go.
There was no way of knowing how he'd react, so I quit trying to guess. I hit the speed dial button for Will and held my breath while the phone rang.
"Hey, boo," he said when he picked up. Shit, he was in a good mood. He called me boo. I melt a little when he calls me that.
"Hey, Will. Umm, do you have a minute?" My heart was beating a million miles a minute. I wished I could black out and wake up when it was all over. I was going to have to force the words out.
"Sure, is everything OK?" His voice rode the line between caution and concern.
"Well, you know how we said we'd be honest with each other and tell each other if we met someone?"
I didn't give him a chance to answer.
"Well, I met someone."
He was quiet on the other end. I knew he was probably shaking his head and slumping his shoulders. I didn't have to see him to know he wasn't smiling.
"Are you there?" I asked.
"Yeah, yeah. I'm here. So, who is he?"
"Do you really want to talk about this? I mean, is that going to make this easier or harder?" I hoped he didn't want details.
"I mean, when did you meet him?" He asked.
"Met him on Halloween, but didn't really start talking until a few days ago. It's all new, so I don't know if it's going anywhere, but we had a deal that we'd tell each other. So I'm telling you now, I'm going to pursue this guy." I held my breath and waited for him to answer. I wanted another gulp of wine but decided I should stay sober for this conversation.
I heard him take a deep breath before he continued.
"OK. We talked about this. We were both prepared for this. So, thank you for being honest with me. Thank you for telling me. So, I guess this is it, huh?" He didn't sound like his genuine self. I could tell he was trying to act casually, but on the inside he was probably fuming. I pictured him stabbing a mini Whitney voo doo doll right in the heart so she could feel what he was feeling. Or maybe he really was OK with this. Maybe he was looking for that excuse to move on and I'd just given him one. Maybe I was just confusing his nonchalant tone with one of relief.
"I guess this is it. Will, you've been amazing, and you know I love you to death. Thank you for showing me what it's like to be loved like that. It was an incredible feeling."
"I love you, too. Well, I'm going to finish studying and I guess I'll talk to you later. Goodnight, Whitney."
I hung up and tossed my phone to the other side of the couch. I felt a rush of relief. Will finally heard what he needed to hear to move on. Ending things with him meant I couldn't hurt him anymore. Breaking free from me meant he could make himself available to find someone else, someone who could love and adore him the same way he loved.
To tell you the truth, it didn't matter that I'd met Duncan. Even if I'd made the whole thing up, it still needed to be said. Otherwise Will would have held on, hoping I'd finally realize what I had right in front of me. Well, I did realize it: I had a wonderful, kind-hearted, beautiful man giving me his heart on a silver platter. But that platter was delivered to the wrong table. It was meant for someone who'd nurture it, give hers back in return on a similar silver platter. Not for me, I'd just stab it with a steak knife until all the love seeped out of it. Harsh, I know. But that's what I was doing, and Will didn't deserve it.
I slept better than night than I'd slept since I'd moved to NYC. I knew I'd hurt him with that phone call, but I also knew he'd thank me for it later.
But the call I received from him the next morning couldn't have been further from a Thank-You call.