As I was recounting break up scenarios with a close friend (who was planning her own) I started digging through the ‘break ups’ file. What gems I had to share. Starting with what is possibly the #1 bizarre break-up of my 20s.
I was in a relationship with – let’s call him Tom- for close to 2.5 years. Moved in together, talked about getting married, took multiple vacations, regular visits with the families. On the surface, exactly where you’d want to be at 25 (and indoctrinated by parents of the 1950s). Unfortunately Tom wasn’t exactly the golden boy. Our relationship was more ‘Sleeping with the Enemy’ than ‘Father of the Bride’. In-between lining up the cans and losing every excess pound to please him with miles and miles of running, hiding bruises and sleeping with one eye open, I finally got wise and decided to move out and move on.
How to tell him? How would he take it? Would he freak out? Would I freak out? The decision around when, where and how was harder than the decision to leave and I finally settled on that most traditional theater for English life – the pub. Plenty of people, liquor for drowning of sorrows, and limited ability for him to start throwing things at me (most English pubs specifically nail stuff down to prevent such occurrences). Plus I still had 20lbs on him, so I figured I could just sit on him if it came down to that (firearms not being part of an English upbringing). I’d even arranged a trip overseas so I’d be able to disappear shortly afterwards.
During the break up decision, I had been applying for a visa to come to the US, and coincidentally, had spent the afternoon at the embassy getting everything finalized for my extended business trip. High on my impending trip, I positively bounced into the pub to see him sitting there, glowering at me. The break up went, as they all do, painfully and yet with some relief (for me). I even filled him in on my planned 3 month trip to the US – to help ease our transition. His reaction seemed calm, considered and he seemed eerily pleased. As I headed off to the restrooms, I smugly considered how adult we both were. How rational. Apparently this is how adults end relationships. I was proud of myself, and heck, even Tom. Maybe he wasn’t as bad as I thought him to be.
I returned from the restroom to find an empty table. Completely empty. Of Tom, my purse and any sign of us having even sat there. I turned around – maybe I’d looked at the wrong table? – then caught the eye of the bar tender. He shrugged him shoulders, “Your boyfriend took off with your purse”.
Fuuuuuuuuck. What was this? “Take the Money and Run”? Literally?
My purse – my car keys, my new minted passport and visa, my cell-phone, the keys to my sisters flat, my wallet, heck even the Valium I so desperately needed right that second. All in my purse. All disappearing up the street with my now dumped boyfriend.
Luckily all that running he’d been forcing on me finally paid off and I took off down the high street, heading towards our formerly shared ‘home’. Nutter. Total nutter. What man steals his girlfriends purse? And for gods sake, why?
I arrived at the house to a locked door and silence. I tried the key but no dice – apparently he’d double locked the door. I started banging on the door, shouting and generally making a very un-English fuss. Neighbors started poking their heads out of their doors and tutting. I decided to call the police to assist the matter – either that or I’d have to wait until Home Depot opened in the morning and pull a ‘Here’s Jonny’ scene. And frankly, spending the evening on the floor outside my former home wasn’t the best scenario.
After begging entry to a neighbors house, and an embarrassed ‘awful weather we’ve been having’ conversation with neighbor Joe, the police arrived.
From the bizarre conversation between 2 policemen and a door that followed, I learned that Tom’s intent was to steal me back my stealing my purse. So I guess that’s actually how adults break up. Illogically, emotionally, bizarrely.
I recommended some ideas to my friend for her breakup. And told her to wear sneakers.