In the film “The Way We Were,” Katie and Hubbell break up. A couple of times, if I remember correctly. It’s been a while since I’ve seen it, because it was rather traumatic to watch something that so closely resembled my own relationships play out in movie form.
You know, minus the Communism and the selling out to Hollywood.
After one of their breakups, Katie is alone and sobbing, and the only person she can think to talk to is Hubbell. He was her confidant, her go-to guy, and the person she talked to when she couldn’t make sense of the world. He is the person she would talk to about a breakup, so she calls him. I remember being irritated by this scene, because to me, Katie was weak. The relationship was over. Deal with it.
That’s how I was when my relationships ended–at least until the boys contacted me, which most of them did. If we broke up, it was over. There were a couple of boys with whom I was able to forge semi-decent friendships with, after the dust had settled. But it was always at their insistence, never at mine.
In fact, after one breakup, when the boy said, “I really, really still want to be friends,” I said, “I’ve never done that before.” He asked if I would try. I told him I needed at least a couple of months, which he gave me, and we were able to cobble together enough of a friendship that he took me with him to pick up his wife’s engagement ring. (I wasn’t too happy about that particular outing. Note to the menfolk: if you ask a female friend to run “errands” with you, she probably assumes you mean Home Depot and Target. Not Zales. And not for another woman’s engagement ring.)
All of this is a long-winded way of admitting that I had my Hubbell moment. I hand-wrote a letter–a heartfelt letter that contained no angry statements and ended with well-wishes. I wasn’t going to send it. It sat, stamped and addressed, on my dining room table for three days. Both sisters said I should send it, so Monday morning on my way to school, I dropped it in the mailbox in the lobby of my building. I felt a little weak–not weak as in nervous or sickly, but weak as in I-should-be-so-much-stronger-than-sending-a-stupid-Hubbell-letter-to-this-boy.
I don’t expect anything to come of my Hubbell moment, and I am a little embarrassed that I wrote it, let alone sent it, but it’s out there, and I do feel badly for being a little weak.
But at the same time, I am glad I sent it, in a “go big or go home” kind of way. He will never be able to say he didn’t know how I felt. He will never be able to say he wasn’t sure I’d be open to knowing him again.
He will never be able to say he didn’t have a chance.