The Other Me
‘Life’s Short Interruption: Part II’
The end didn’t come with Allie. Not then, when I thought it was imminent. She changed – not drastically, nor permanently, but for long enough to convince me that the real Allie was still in there, although maybe that itself was just the nurture of a forlorn hope. You get in relationships, especially long-term relationships, and you put your faith in them and that they’ll work out, even when all the indicators suggest otherwise. If they were a stock, your broker would advise – given the signs – that you should dump it. But you don’t. You ride it to the crash.
Allie remained impatient for me to get somewhere. Her ‘normal people’ were, at my age, working, had financial security, and all the stuff I’d heard ad nauseam. She was frustrated that all that still lay ahead of me and my capability to make it a reality was still under question.
She also didn’t understand whether there was any future in editing. At school, they told us editing was becoming more and more freelance and that publishers were out-sourcing, but there were opportunities if you pursued them. Allie understood freelance because her ex was freelance, but didn’t understand it in the context of how it would apply to me. She’d routinely grill me. I’d answer as best as I could and it’d satisfy her, but in a few weeks there’d be another grilling about the very same stuff – literally, it’d be the same conversations, word for word. I became hypersensitive to the grillings and grew short with her.
There were other disagreements – the range of disagreements were few, but the repetition of them frequent. One regular issue was the difference in our goals. Allie took my lack of material aspirations to be commensurate with having no drive. I just wasn’t that material, especially after everything I’d gone through. Material stuff just didn’t seem that important. It had nothing to do with my drive.
There were plenty of arguments, plenty of mini-break-ups, although now I grew distant enough to not always play the peacemaker. Sometimes – usually when she felt me pulling away – Allie would chase me up, and we’d reconcile. Our ideals compromised temporarily and things were good for a bit, but once she was comfortable, there’d be another flare over the same old issues.
It became a pattern in my school life and there were occasions I’d stalk around school, brooding. I had to jolt myself out of these moods because when they ran too long, I’d feel like I was on the first step back down the stairwell to depression.
Often, though, it was like I was in a no-win situation. One of my new school-friends even said to me that when I was broken up from Allie she was worried that I’d ‘off myself’ and that when I was with Allie, she was worried I was going to ‘off myself’.
It wasn’t always bad with Allie, but the balance was wrong. While she was trying to work herself out, she was undermining me. I held on because of those glimmers of things being the way they used to be. She did, too, probably, and hoped things could be the way she idealised in her head.
Of course, dreams never work out that way.