Scarlett is in the other room, putting the last of her things in the last of the boxes. This could be the last time I ever see her. She emerges from the bedroom holding the box, tears in her eyes. Neither of us has said a word since she got here. I watch in disbelief as she opens the door, about to walk out of my life forever. I have to say something.
“You know, you never did give me a reason.”
She’s halfway through the door now.
She wipes the tears from her eyes.
“I don’t have a lot of breakup experience but I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to give the other person a reason. I mean, those are the rules, aren’t they?”
“I think it’s fairly obvious, Will.”
“Probably. To you and everyone else. Clearly I’m fucking delusional because I was sure we were gonna be together forever, right up until you said we weren’t.”
Stepping back inside, she shuts the door. I brace myself because I know she’s going to hurt me. She might as well be holding a knife.
“If this apartment was the whole world, and there was nothing else out there, you’d be right,” she says. We’d probably be together forever. But it isn’t. There’s a whole, vast universe out there and you’ve made it quite clear that you don’t want to be a part of it.”
“So what are you saying? You’re basically breaking up with me because I’m shy? Isn’t that what attracted you to me in the first place?”
I can tell by her reaction that she didn’t appreciate my assessment.
“No, Will. I’m not breaking up with you because you’re shy. I’m breaking up with you because I’m sick of making excuses for you. I’m breaking up with you because I’m tired of getting my hopes up for nothing. I’m breaking up with you because I don’t ever want to hear the phrase “Where’s Will?” ever again.”
“You make it sound like I never went anywhere with you. I’ve met all your friends. I’ve hung out with your parents. That’s your problem. You’re never satisfied.”
“Then I guess it’s all my fault. I’m the evil witch that can’t find satisfaction in the bare minimum. The truth is, I can’t even believe I let it go on this long. I just kept thinking you’d make an effort eventually. It was just a matter of time. But that’s the thing: Time goes on forever. And I can’t give you forever.”
“It’s a shame you had to do this now. I’ve been reading this really great book on cognitive behavioral therapy and it’s been helping. I’ve been pushing myself out of my comfort zone. Things were gonna start to be diff — -”
“I can’t. I’ve been hearing that same shit for five years. Change is always right around the corner. But it never happens, does it? I’ve come to terms with the fact that you’re never going to come out of your shell. Which is why I had to make a decision. I could either crawl in there with you, where it’s nice and safe, and together, we could watch the world pass us by. Or I could leave.”
“And you chose the latter.”
She opens the door and starts to leave.
“Wait! What if I promised you that I would change? What if I said that I would do whatever you want, go wherever you wanted, no matter how uncomfortable it makes me? If that’s really the reason, like you say it is, then okay. Problem solved.”
I wonder if she can tell that I mean it this time.
Another tear falls down her cheek.
“People are funny,” she says. “They never give you what you want until you don’t want it anymore.”