We didn’t know it was the end. We thought it was just another night, a mirror image of the routine that had become us. It began with a text, an empty hey and a colloquial proposal of you wanna hang out?
Hang out, chill – all stripped diction for existing in each other’s disconnected banality. We aren’t committed, we aren’t together. We are only sufficient for the spontaneous loneliness we feel. We are the provisional comfort for when independence loses its appeal. We are each other’s late night fixes, secondary characters and after thoughts of little importance.
Tonight is no different. I cross your mind at day’s end. It must have been a long and tiring day. You must have been tired of the monotonous 9-5 and the post drinks with friends. You must have met them at the bar three blocks from your work, frivolous at the idea of your day finally getting better. But your friends aren’t alone, they have their significant others. You walked in to the bar a little pissed. You miss the days when it was just the guys or at least that’s what you tell yourself. The true emotions are a mix of envy and longing; you envy their commitment and yearn for the same.
A few drinks later, you are reminded of your reality, your despondent situation and desperately search for gratification. The buzz is strong and it commands you to appease your solitude so that’s when you text me.
It was midnight when I saw my phone flash with your proposal. At first, I starred with hesitance. Did I really want to repeat this? Aren’t I supposed to have standards? Shouldn’t I have more dignity for the both of us? I know better and so do you, but we are too cowardice to act on our self worth. We settle for the unhinged wreck that we are, instead of claiming the potential we both deserve.
Sure, I write. Where? Yours? Mine? You pause for a few minutes, I know you’re battling internally too but the answer is always the same. I’ll come over, you reply.
And so you do shortly after. It began with a text, led to a knock and you walking in. The scent of beer filled the room as you stumbled to close the gap between us. We just want the sorrow to end so we cling to each other like all those other nights.
When dawn arrived, the guilt returned. I spoke nothing of it and the made the usual coffee. We both took our cups and we didn’t share much but just enough small-minded exchanges to warrant amicability. At some point you insisted on leaving and I didn’t object. I just answered you with a vague promise to see you around and you affirmed the ambiguity.
Weeks go by since that last encounter. There are no late night texts now, no follow up or explanation. We end like how we began, unannounced and unattached. Is it easier this way? Is it easier to just fade without a warning? Is it easier to just ignore each other until we accept the inevitable end? Is this how selfish we’ve become as a generation? Are we too fearful of acknowledging commitment? We’ve become so broken that we don’t even know how to say goodbye anymore.
Yet even goodbye necessitates the end of something meaningful and important, but you and I were insignificant. We were too afraid and too selfish to become anything substantial. We were just another hallmark of our generation, transitory and uncommitted.