We were sitting together after two years - the five of us. A few new people were with us as well. Time. And we were making farewell speeches cause who knew when we'd meet together like this again? We were talking about how much we've all changed and how much life had changed us. But strangely enough, it wasn't really depressing because for most of us happy things had happened. For others there was a happy clarity.
For someone who talks a lot when among real family and true friends, I really suck at making farewell speeches. It doesn't help that the moment makes me cry easily. Or that I laugh and act like a bitchy smart ass at the most inappropriate moments just so I don't end up crying. I cry anyway.
And when it comes to making a farewell speech to a man who is in so many ways an exact replica of one-self (including a tendency to bore others with whatever book/activity/ideology/issue fires us up at that moment), what does one say? Really?
I liked him from the moment he sent me his introduction mail and offered sweets. What girl can ever resist a cocky man who offers sweets? I went up to his desk. We chatted and laughed and realised we had a friend in common. Then one day after a particularly blue day when I had written a blue post on this very blog, he sent me a mail - full of love and empathy and most importantly with a hint of flirtation thrown in. That was it. We decided to have lunch together. All of us, a few us. We had unwittingly formed a lunch gang - he was the glue that stuck the gang together.
And we laughed hysterically at the same jokes. Often there was no need to even complete the other's sentence before we were in splits. It was like a blessing - understanding another person that well. So completely. And then we went out to a pub and I learnt the truth about his life. And realised the truth about mine. I was in love with him. For nearly a year, it was all about laughter and fun outings and sexual innuendos and an appreciation of great food. My first perfect date was with him.
When I needed to cry in those days, it was easier to do it on his shoulders. He'd not only wipe my tears but actually make me a cup of tea, or surprise me with my favourite pastry, or climb a stranger's tree to get me flowers that were just that perfect shade of purple. Or give me the most orgasmic foot massage I've ever gotten in my life. Not a single day went by when I didn't feel loved, cherished, or sexy. No matter how fat I felt, and even when I had bad hair days, or when my pathetic ex-boyfriend acted all weird again, all I had to do was spend a few minutes talking to him and I'd start to feel like a sex queen again.
And he was among the few who helped me with the difficult decision of quitting my previous company and joining another one. In fact, he was among those who insisted I forget the man I loved, forget about how much power I had in that place and just move.
We realised that we were meant to get married and decided from that day that I would always be the wife to his husband, the Karen to his Jack, the Grace to his Will. And the Edina to his Patsy. Our friends decided it was befitting and perfect.
He left soon after to pursue further studies.
And he was gone for over two years. A lot happened in that time. We fought, we made-up, we discussed new people and old friends. We saw each other through heartaches and break-ups, ill-health, and parental pressures. We briefly flirted with the idea of making a child together. But decided we couldn't do that to the world and importantly to our child. A child with our combined genes had no hope.
We were apart but in a very real sense, we were together.
And he'd come back after two years. A lot had changed. We had changed as people. We still laughed a lot, we were still kicked by the same conversations, the same TV shows, the same movies, the same books. We still thought alike. Emotionally too we had reached the same consensus about love, sex, and relationships. But it was still different. I had said hello and bye to another man. A man even he approved of and loved. So he allowed me to have two husbands. That's how much a man can really love a woman.
It drove me mad the little changes in him - his obsession with cooking, his refusal to party more, his new-found passion for all intellectual stuff and his need to talk about it incessantly. Like the fact that he now uses multiple exclamation marks. Like he now speaks with an American accent and veers a lot towards everything American. Like the fact that he is quieter and less obnoxious now and he even gets embarrassed easily. Like the fact that he shows me less love, but loves to torment me by being a great masseuse to everyone but me knowing that will really piss me off.
But there were great things as well. Like the fact that he stays brave and talks a lot less about depressing things. Like the fact that he will soon have a doctorate from a really prestigious university in the United States where he seems to be loved and respected by his peers and professors alike. And the fact that he took me to a salon and insisted I get a head massage. And that he paid for it. And that he'd bought me killer shoes with killer heels where killer is really a pun - that would always make me feel sexy.
How do you say good-bye to a man who is a part of you?
This seems to be a question I am always battling with.
With what words will you tell each other that you still love, that you still expect and want and desire certain things from the other person? That you know nothing really changes but things change nevertheless? That you will both have to make that effort to keep it going, to make it work? Which meant that if he didn't comment on my writing, I would be pissed. That he would be upset if I didn't give him the responses he's come to expect from me.
So I told him the only thing that made sense to me. I told him that we've changed a lot but underneath the change we were way too alike (even in our passions) that we couldn't act like the perfect husband-wife anymore.
And it was all fine. Because that's when karma bit me in the ass and the rest made jokes at my expense and decided that it was a really good time to tell me how I could become a better person and the things I could do to improve my existing life and how sometimes I cried way too much!
And so I got bitchy right back and we fought again as has become a habit now.
Last night, in bed, we watched the first episode of Absolutely Fabulous together like we'd done the very first time and fell asleep with smiles on our faces. This morning he woke me up with tea and bread-omelette. And then we continued to be bitchy with each other. And we even shared a few laughs.
When he left, I could hug him happily. And I knew there'd be more people we'd be amused with, more sitcoms that would always tide us through life. I was able to say bye with a lightness I haven't felt in a long while. And I didn't feel the need to cry. I was only thinking about how I would see Let Them Eat Cake and laugh new laughs with him. From the sublime to the ridiculous is sometimes the best of good-byes. And sometimes there's no other way than to say good-bye.