Ginny wished again that there was an easy way to do this. But there wasn’t. Especially for a person such as herself, who tried to live a life that she felt was good, to do the right thing when things needed doing. It was this philosophy of honest living that was responsible for her misery these past few months. She’d woken up one morning and realized that she no longer loved Gordon, probably never had loved him, in fact. It surprised her because she’d thought that she was smarter, more than capable of discerning between love and infatuation. From that morning until meeting Rebecca a few days ago, she’d been living a lie, carrying on with Gordon as if nothing had changed. That, she realized, suddenly reframing her perspective, had been the hard part; breaking up with him, because it was the right thing to do, would be easy.
Or so she fervently hoped. In any case, she’d cushioned things a bit for herself by securing a spacious duplex over on Geometry Street. The thought of Rebecca waiting for her there, moving in and setting up house, gave her strength. It was Saturday night and she entered the house on Euclid Street for the penultimate time.
Gordon, in the kitchen, turned from the stove and smiled as she entered. “Where you been all day?” he asked.
Ginny paused just inside the door. The look on her face scared the smile from Gordon’s. “We need to talk,” she said.
“Uh oh,” said Gordon.
Though there was a hopeful, almost playful tone in his voice, Ginny could tell by the troubled knit of his brow that he was worried. She wondered about her choice of opening line. It was so cliché, but it seemed the natural thing to say. She’d think about what that might say about her later. “I met somebody the other day, Gordon…”
His hand moved slowly up and gripped his forehead.
“At the Rolling Bear,” she continued. “I went in for lunch and came out in love.”
Gordon’s eyes grew wider. His hand remained on his forehead. “You’re breaking up with me…” he muttered.
After he said it, a great weight was lifted from Ginny’s mind and the situation became much easier, for her at least. “Yes,” she said. “In fact, I’m moving out tomorrow. I’ve already got another place.”
“You’re breaking up with me,” he repeated, unmoving.
“Yes,” she repeated. “I’m sorry, Gordon. I don’t want to hurt you but… I’m in love with somebody new.”
The hand dropped from his forehead and hung limp at his side. “I guess it doesn’t matter that I’m still in love with you…” It was not quite a question, not quite a statement.
Ginny shook her head and approached him from across the room. “Of course it matters,” she said. Only a couple of inches shorter than him, she looked up into his eyes. “But it also matters that I’m not in love with you. Not anymore.” Though the thought crossed her mind, she avoided the cruelty of adding, “If I ever was”. Instead, she apologized again. “I’m sorry,” she said.
Gordon just stared at her wide eyed and wounded. He didn’t say much else as she moved about the house, gathering up her toothbrush, a small brown journal, a pack of post-its, a ball of extra clothes, and stuffing it all into a green knapsack. When she stood at the door again, looking at him from the threshold, her bag slung almost carelessly over her shoulder, he said, “Oh, Ginny, I love you.”
She turned her eyes from his a moment. “I know,” she whispered. Meeting his gaze again, she said, “I’ll be back tomorrow for the rest of my stuff, around 11.”
He nodded his head, rather vacantly Ginny thought. She was relieved that he had not cried, and did not appear about to do so. She pushed the door open before her. “Take care, Gordon.”
She was glad to see him summon a smile up from somewhere. “You too…” he said.
Then she exited the house, leaving it completely empty.