We broke up. I’d say it was fairly mutual, though he brought  it up (and I don’t think I would have). I get upset whenever I have to tell people (and so I’ve not told that many). Each time, I harp on it being “better, and worse.” Of the now 3 breakups I’ve had, it was the best. And it was also more painful. We’re both very fond of each other, we both think the other is a great, capable person. We like spending time together. And we were both very sorry it couldn’t work out. We are, for now, incompatible. I could argue it was long distance, I could argue it was shit timing: I’m leaving for the Appalachian Trail soon (and I’m likely to change), he’s in that post-college what’s-next phase. But really, for now, we just don’t work.

I’ve also never dated anyone I was friends with before, and still hoped to be friends with after. He brightens a room by being in it, and I really was happy most of the time. So it was better, and worse. It was better when I got sick – as I do after breakups – and he held my hair and brought me a cup of water, and worse because it was a bit humiliating. When I told him that, he looked surprised. I’ve been through more breakups, and they were much worse. “We’re friends,” he said. “Why wouldn’t I?” I guess there’s not actually a good response to that. It was better when he made breakfast, like he usually does, like things were…and it was worse because it was another reminder. Both of us not being together, and of him being so sweet. God, he was so sweet. With what felt like very little regard for his own feelings, he was all about making sure I was comfortable. He offered to drive the 10 hours home that night, though it was nearing midnight. Before this happened, we’d actually had a very fun weekend. Outdoors film festival, getting him into a TV show I like, a roller derby, a sideshow with all kinds of freakish acts, an improv show.

After breakfast, we talked, barely, haltingly. Reminiscent of the night before – those awkward long pauses when no one knows what to say but sometimes saying something is better than not, because what other chance do you have? And when the things that come out aren’t “you should have” and “well why didn’t you,” but “You’re a really good, capable person” and “I’m so sorry we couldn’t work,” you know it’s a special one. This makes it better, and worse.

This post is becoming hard to write, so I’ll close here. With time, I hope we can be friends. It’s just a big heartache right now, knowing how great he is, how highly we regard each other, and knowing we just aren’t working.