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The Defining Phrase - Chapter 10: Change
The Defining Phrase - Chapter 10: Change
12/19/08 at 02:00 AM by cassusriff
Chapter 1: Complacency
Chapter 2: Unexpected
Chapter 3: Breakdown
Chapter 4: Passion
Chapter 5: Ambiguity
Chapter 6: Conflict
Chapter 7: Secrecy
Chapter 8: Familiarity
Chapter 9: Bliss

There is an end to all great things. A means to an ending that isn't always favorable. Nothing gold can stay. No love ends without some form of tragedy. Every great rise has a greater fall.

Sunday afternoon pleads for realization. I deny its request. I prefer to maintain my current state of ignorant bliss. There is no decision to be made. I'm going to live like this forever. Time will freeze on Sunday afternoon and all will be just fine.

But time doesn't freeze. Sunday evening comes simply and quickly. Football dominates my attention. My focus is on the things that don't plague my mind and my heart. Lizzy talks to me throughout the day, happy her Jets won another game. I get all my chores and errands done. I am a bit anal about having my life together by Sunday nights.

But that isn't the case this Sunday. I sit on the brink of a life-changing week.

The defining phrase is ambiguity.

Monday comes. Just two days from LA. One day from the election. My brother turns 25 today. November 3rd is a bittersweet day for him. Happy for his birthday, but devastated by the recent turn of events. He feels alone, betrayed, lost, and hopeless.

Strangely and quite unfairly, so do I.

Work is frustrating. I have nothing but the week on my mind. I can't focus on anything else. The weekend with Shelby was amazing, but I notice myself starting to push her away. I had been deliberating with my friends about what to do. I have had a war in my mind over it. I want to stick with my plan to give both girls a chance and then choose, but I feel like Lizzy needs a clean slate when I meet her.

So subconsciously or not, I start to push Shelby away. We make no plans for tonight. We text sparingly. Lizzy and I text and seem in shock that our meeting day is so close. I'm flustered and unprepared. I'm a mess and I seem to have lost control of any sound decision-making. I wish I could go home early and hide away, but I've used all my time off for the vacation I'm about to take. I don't even have enough hours to cover the two days I'm taking off, but I'm taking the pay cut anyway. I need to go to LA, even though it feels like a worse idea every day.

Work ends and I head home. I spend some time with Sean and try to relax a bit. I skip out on Accounting class. I'm in no condition to work with numbers or sit through lectures. I talk to Lizzy on the phone but she has to get to bed early because she has work tomorrow. I talk to Shelby a bit but don't see her. I head to bed, feeling alone and pained. Hating the big decisions I had coming up. I don't like to hurt people. I don't like to make a decision knowing I could regret it. I hate being an adult sometimes.

Tuesday morning.

I wake up with a sense of purpose. My first time voting. And for a historical election. I head to work, still flustered but more focused. I read up on polling numbers and various election coverage. I can barely find time to do work. I make plans to vote during my lunch.

I grab my keys, hands shaking, excited at the prospect of exercising democracy. As I head to my car I text Lizzy and Shelby, asking them about their voting plans. They are both excited like me. Strangely enough, they are both voting for the candidate that I am not voting for. Whoever said you have to have everything in common with people you are involved with?

I arrive at the polling place, ironically located down the street from my apartment complex. I walk in and go upstairs, following the signs. I submit my information and the guy hands me my voting card. I go to the poorly constructed polling table and begin filling out my incredibly lengthy ballet. Damn California and its Direct Democracy initiative. I'm proud of the fact that our citizens can propose amendments to undermine our state government and court, but when it results in 10 propositions it may be a bit too much.

I vote. Turn in my card and receive my snazzy sticker. I wear the damn thing with such bravado and pride that the sticker itself might have been a bit self-conscious.

I get back to work and pump my chest out to present the sticker. Most of the people didn't care much or had already voted. I follow the results for the reminder of work. I have to head to my Political Science class immediately after work. I scour the results until the minute I leave for work. I arrive at class about 10 minutes early and speak with my teacher, who had worked with the Obama campaign and even represented as a delegate at the Democratic National Convention. Needless to say, he was very excited. I'm extremely proud of how well he was able to focus on the class lesson instead of sitting with us refreshing CNN.com. The class was antsy, I was extremely perturbed at not being able to watch this event frame by frame at home. I hated being in class, even if it was the best class to be in during the election.

I look at updates on my phone. By the time I get out of class the election was basically in Obama's hands. I text Shelby and she is beaming with joy over the fact that she voted. She doesn't care that the guy she voted for had little chance of winning, she is so incredibly happy to finally be able to vote after waiting for years.

Lizzy posted every thought she had on Twitter and Facebook as usual. Unfortunately, she joined in the negative and sour statements made by many of those who voted for McCain. I, finding frustration with this, called her out on it. She immediately brushes me off and becomes extremely angry with me. I am boiling over. Tonight is historical, no matter the outcome. Tonight is the eve of my trip to LA. Tonight I have to say goodbye to Shelby, not knowing what we will be when I come back. I'm in no mood to deal with immaturity. Distaste and disappointment is allowed, but I hate immaturity. I boil over and tell her that if we can't get along on a topic like this that I probably shouldn't come down tomorrow.

She hangs up on me and refuses to answer when I call back. She texts and tells me that I have hurt her and she needs time to get over it. She's angry that I'm not being supportive about her fear of going on the plane tomorrow. She's angry that I yelled at her. She's just angry.

I'm understanding of her concerns, but I'm in no mood to deal with them. Shelby texts me and I project my frustration onto her to try to push her away. Before I can explain myself, Lizzy calls back. We talk through things somewhat, but she refuses to fully put it behind her as usual. She heads to bed dejected and worried. When I get off the phone I'm almost home and Shelby has sent me numerous texts. She is freaked out and upset. First I yell at her for no reason and then I don't text her back for 20 minutes. I call Shelby and explain myself, begging her to come over tonight. She is upset but agrees.

I get home, ripping at the seams. I'm almost completely broken down. Sean welcomes me at the door to celebrate Obama's victory. I shake him off to finish talking to Shelby. I go into my room and put my stuff away and Shelby gets on her way. Lizzy has texted me and isn't sleeping of course. She starts to try to infuse positivity into tomorrow. She expresses excitement at seeing me.

I go into my living room, shaken up from all the arguments and the frustration from missing so much of this historic event. I apologize to Sean from the way I treated him. I tell him how I've been waiting for this for so long and how I have had to comfort the people who are upset with the result and haven't had a moment to celebrate 'my guy' winning. We watch McCain's concession speech and my admiration and respect for him grows. We watch Obama's speech and I am inspired. Either way, the direction of the country is changing and I am hopeful and excited again.

Shelby comes over and we watch the speeches again. She makes a joke about Michelle Obama that is completely harmless and in jest. For some reason I can't handle it and go into my room. Whether it was me pushing her away or my frustration at the fact that nearly half the country was upset at that moment, I stormed into my room. Shelby comes by and stands at the door and looks at me with confusion. Just a moment before my friend called me and I was talking to him. While she's looking at me, her friend calls her. After we both get off the phone she sits in the living room. I text her and tell her to come in. She comes in with an angry stare.

She sits down on my chair while I lay in bed, unable to look at her. We start arguing. About petty things like the election and how I dealt with being upset at a joke she made and how I have been treated her with no respect the whole night.

People keep texting me. Lizzy keeps texting me. I throw my phone across the room.

Shelby nearly walks out and I tell her that I expected that. She says she is never going to walk out, that I am the one who is walking out. That I am the one who has already made my decision.

I begrudingly, but not completely agree with her. I admit that I'm trying to push her away. I admit that I have no idea how to handle this. I tell Shelby that I am leaving tomorrow and I have to give Lizzy a fair chance. We know this alll, we knew this day was coming. I finally sit up and she sits next to me on my bed. We hold each other and talk. We lie down and laugh together.

We do everything we can to live what are to be our last true moments together. We discuss what our relationship will be when I get back. We operate on the idea that we will have to hold back our true feelings. We prepare ourselves for a superficial relationship.

But for this last night, a night so ripe with change, we exercise familiarity one last time.

We lie together, and I get on top of her to give her a kiss. Her body is shaking, I feel wetness on her cheeks as I kiss her. I lie next to her and place her head on my chest. She cries and so do I. Suddenly, I realize that we hadn't managed to keep our relationship simple. Somehow we developed something real during our time together.

We relish our moment, but dread the ending. We try to play dumb as we get up and walk to her car. I kiss her as she leans against her car door. She opens it and gets inside. I stick my head inside to kiss her again. Our eyes are welled with tears. Our kisses linger, never wanting to end.

I feel a jolt. I need to break away or else I will never leave. We kiss and I abruptly pull away. I walk away to my apartment. I turn my head to look back, but I keep walking. She sits stunned in her car, wanting to run back to me. But she doesn't

She drives off. I go upstairs to my apartment.

It is over.

Like a bullet to the back of the head.

To Be Continued...
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