Be wholly unprepared. Start in a position of confidence so solid, so complete, that you have begun to define yourself entirely by this relationship. Never quite realize how dependent you’ve become, how much you’ve come to rely on another person for your happiness, until it’s much too late. Only when you begin to feel them slip through your fingers do you start to think about how much they have come to mean to you. Realize that it is far too much, all at once.
Notice changes in them that would be imperceptible to someone who didn’t know them as well as you do. Watch the way they seem distracted over dinner, the way they laugh less at jokes, the way they avoid your eye contact when they touch you during sex. Realize that they always used to look you in the eye, but you never understood how important that was until it stopped happening. Start insisting on eye contact, on more touch, on more engagement.
Notice as they become palpably put-off by your need to be closer, understand that it is a cycle. They will back away from you in a thousand tiny ways, you will insist on your presence being something they feel and see and touch, they will be even more threatened by all that your presence implies. Start to understand that being in a relationship means a constant form of contact with someone — a constant importance placed on their existence and their happiness — and that your partner is no longer comfortable with that. Feel the way they want to get rid of you; cling tighter.
Know the day where the speech is coming. Feel it in your bones when they call you and ask you to meet them somewhere — somewhere public enough that you won’t make a scene. Want with every fiber of your being not to go to this place because it feels so much like walking to your own death, but know that the words are something that you can no longer avoid. Suddenly think of all the things you could have done differently, you could have been more or less of, and imagine that one of them would have been the magic formula to make them still be in love with you. Hate yourself in a way you’ve never before experienced.
Hear them say the words, but don’t really. It’s something about wanting to be alone for a while, needing space, change — but you have gone temporarily deaf. Try not to cry, but feel your throat catch every time you open your mouth to talk. Want to remain stoic about the whole thing, but reduce yourself to begging with only the tiniest bit of resistance. Offer things, left and right, as though you could somehow barter your way into someone’s heart again. Be ready to become anything they want, to lie about who you are and what you want, just to please them and convince them that they are making a mistake.
Want to physically hold onto their leg as they walk out the door, shedding every layer of dignity you came in here with. Think about the people you could call and talk to right now, the people who would understand and start to put this wholly incomprehensible situation into some kind of perspective. Realize that no one could make you feel better, no one could really understand, that you are entirely alone in a way you’ve never really experienced before. Want to just cry, cry until you finally fall asleep.
Hear people all around you tell you that things are going to get better, that they didn’t deserve you, that you have so many amazing things ahead of you. Want to tell them to go fuck themselves, even if they think they’re being kind. Know that the only person who could ever possibly make you feel better has no interest in talking to you, and wonder how in the world you are supposed to continue getting out of bed when such is the case. Let your friends’ words of inspiration wash over you, and occasionally glance at your phone, waiting for the right person to call. They don’t.