Him & I: An Epilogue.
Artwork by Emma Darvick.
This series of essays was meant to tell the story of the beginning parts of the most recent chapter of my life.
It was never intended to be a eulogy for Him & I, though I often fear that’s how it was perceived.
Although it wasn’t some grand romantic love story like you might see in a movie, our shared story was sweet, subtle and just for us.
* * * *
It doesn’t matter where I am the world- if 4pm rolls around and the sky is overcast, I think of Him.
We would often find ourselves together at that time of day, so we created a bit of a ritual- the 4 o’clock coffee. It was over those coffees that we were at our best as a couple. It was when we felt the most like partners. We’d talk about the practical things that needed to be done like housework or groceries. We’d fill each other in on the gossip we had overheard that day, or we’d unpack frustrations we were feeling, but more often than not we’d discuss the things we wanted to accomplish or the places we had hoped to visit one day.
Dinners were great, breakfasts were nice, but mid afternoon coffees were perfect.
He is a die hard romantic. He’d leave me little notes, and buy me gifts for no reason. He was always trying to sweep me off my feet and prove his love for me through grand gestures. I am a much less obvious sort of romantic. I would show him my love by inviting him to join me on a park bench to read quietly while I did the crossword, or by drawing hot sauce hearts across the over easy eggs I’d make him on weekday mornings.
We would often disagree with each other when it came to the best practices of demonstrating love. He wanted to hear the words ‘I love you’ whenever we’d leave the house for the day, or before we’d hang up the phone. He was desperate to hear me to say it. I have rarely expressed love verbally- it just wasn’t something I was brought up doing. Don’t get me wrong, I love ferociously- so much so that the words don’t ever seem to do it justice. I would roll my eyes when he’d ask me to say it back to him and I’d usually wind up getting mad and telling him that if he couldn’t hear me saying it then he wasn’t listening hard enough.
And then he’d feel bad.
And then I’d feel bad.
And then we’d tell each other we felt bad.
And then we’d go and get a coffee and it all would all be alright.
We lived in the back of an old house in Halifax where it was perpetually damp and dark. On these grey north Atlantic days we’d seek refuge in our favourite coffee shops to warm up in the middle of the afternoon. We would walk through the misty air arm in arm, feeling lethargic from the weather and tired from the racket of being in our early 20’s. We had no idea what our lives would turn out like, but we would always manage to find some quiet amongst all of the chaos while we were together.
The conversations we shared over those several hundred cups of coffee have since been blended into one big foggy memory for me. I can’t seem to remember most of the specific details, but the sensation of comfort I experienced has been completely memorized.
I’ve rarely missed a 4 o’clock coffee since we parted ways. They are much different now. I am often by myself in a cafe I never visited with Him. I work through my frustrations, goals and dreams on my own. This is fine with me, but on days when it’s grey and misty and I feel lethargic and tired from the racket of being in my late 20’s, I can’t help but wonder about Him. Where is he? What is he doing? Is he having a coffee and thinking of me too?
But mostly on those colder, wetter days I find myself hoping that wherever he is and whatever he’s doing, he’s happy.