Nagging Whispers


This week, staff writer Dallas Fitzgerald discusses the situation of the wrong relationship and the nagging whispers we hear even when we might choose to ignore them.

 

About ten years ago, a punk-rock band called SR-71 released a song called “Right Now.”  While the song itself is unremarkable (cookie-cutter pop-punk riding the coattails of Blink 182’s success), the refrain contains a lyric that could be used to sum up the way I felt during at least a few of my past relationships.  The line goes, “I know she may not be Miss Right, but she’ll do right now.”

 

Everyone knows how it feels to be in a relationship that just isn’t going to last.  Sometimes this realization sneaks up on you slowly and quietly, like a nagging whisper; other times, the realization comes screaming out at you all at once.

 

One time, I was on my third or fourth date with a woman, let’s call her “L”, and we went out for drinks at a small neighborhood tavern.  “L” was loquacious to begin with, but with each finished drink, she talked more and more; faster and faster, until eventually I had to excuse myself to go the bathroom.

While I was in the bathroom, I made the decision to bail out the back door instead of returning to the bar to tell “L” that I was leaving.  The back door led to an outdoor patio that was fenced in, but there was a tree with low-hanging branches inviting me to climb over the fence.  I used the branch to pull myself up and over the fence, and I was six blocks away before she texted me and asked me where I went.  In hindsight, this was a classless move on my part, but I, like Jamie Foxx, blame it on the alcohol.

In this particular instance, the realization that my relationship with “L” wouldn’t last literally came screaming out at me, and despite my drunken lack of common decency in the way I removed myself from the situation, it was an easy decision.

 

It is more difficult to deal with the nagging whispers.  When I was a junior in college, I fell in love with a girl; let’s call her “E.”  We dated all that school year, and through the summer, but when senior year came around, I started hearing the nagging whispers.   She wanted to be a 1st grade teacher, and I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.  We had no future in common, but we both loved and cared about each other.

She must have been hearing the whispers as well because she broke up with me in December of that year.  The break up was hard on both of us.  Sometimes the weight of the future bears down on the present and can slowly dissolve even the strongest of bonds between two people.

 

The break up was by no means final.  We tried different arrangements in the ensuing months:  a pseudo-relationship (pretty much the same as a regular relationship except with the implicit understanding that there is no future for the two of you as a pair), a friends-with-benefits relationship (I messed that up by getting drunk at a bar and making out with another girl in front of her), and finally, a sleep-together-once-in-awhile-but-don’t-talk-or-see-each-other relationship (basically a futile attempt to stave off the inevitable while also satisfying each other’s sexual needs because, hey, the sex was pretty good).

As with most indefinite break-ups of this sort, there was no final good-bye, just a series of encounters in which we slowly drifted further and further apart until sex and communication just sort of stopped.  On one of these final encounters, “E” gave me a CD that she had made.  I guess it was a sort of parting gift.

On the CD, there was a song from the musical Wicked called “As Long As You’re Mine” (Sung by Idina Menzel and Norbert Leo Butz).   One of the lines from the song goes, “Say there’s no future / For us as a pair/ And though I may know / I don’t care.”

Listening to this song put my relationship with “E” in perspective, and I only wished that she had given it to me earlier.  It’s sometimes difficult to end things when you start hearing those nagging whispers telling you that there’s no future for your relationship, but it is not the ending that is important.  It is how you handle the moments that you have left.

During the dying days of my relationship with “E,” I found myself wondering where we had gone wrong and how we might salvage our relationship instead of allowing myself to enjoy the moments that we still had left.  Even relationships that last sixty-five or seventy years are built on a series of moments, so even if your current partner is not Miss or Mr. Right, enjoy the moments you share.

 

Of course, if those moments prove totally intolerable, then by all means excuse yourself to go to the bathroom, sneak out the back door and climb a tree over the patio fence, figuratively, of course.

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