"Ok. Start talking." I said to Brandon, who was sitting across the table from me.
We were at a sushi restaurant. Dinner was his idea, sushi was mine.
"I don't even know where to start." He said.
"How 'bout at the beginning?" I suggested.
"Ok... Well...let me start out first by saying that I'm sorry. I'm sorry I put you through all this. All I've done for the past few days is think about you, and what a huge mistake I made. I just felt...cornered, and I said all those things, and I didn't mean them. I realized that I've been holding back, and I haven't really been doing my part like I should have been, and that's what's been causing all our problems. And the problems we have are just...stupid shit."
He looked to me for a response.
"I'm not gonna say anything until you're totally done." I said, between sips of my iced tea.
"Ok, well, I just...I know what I need to do. I need to communicate with you more and tell you what I'm feeling, so that you don't have to guess, and you feel...better about things. And you know how you mentioned that wall that I put up? Well...that's gone now. I'm not gonna let anything come between us because...we could have a really great relationship, I've just been...screwing it up because I didn't want to let you get close."
"WHY??" I asked.
"I dunno... Because I was scared." He finally admitted.
"Scared of what??"
"I dunno...I just...I guess because in the past, I've done things right, and gotten stomped on. And it seems like every time I do the right things, and say the right things, the girl just...finds something else wrong, and breaks up with me. And it was never like I knew it was coming. It was just totally out of the blue." He said.
"Ok...well you can't punish me for your past."
"I know that. I know that. And I wasn't meaning to, it's not like I was doing it on purpose."
"Listen. If there's anything I've learned from my past relationships, it's that, you have to be fearless. Just because something goes wrong in one relationship, doesn't mean it will in the next. Just because you get your heart broken once, doesn't mean you lock it up tight so that no one else can get to it. You seem to live by the laws of self-preservation. You think it's either you, or them. In this case, either you get hurt, or I get hurt. And I was the one that got hurt. And I know why you did it. You were protecting yourself. But you can't do that! Because when you live like that, you end up pushing away the people that care about you, and possibly throwing away things in your life that could be really great. In life and in love, you have to be fearless. They go hand in hand. You can be the most successful person on Earth, but if you don't have anyone to share that with...it's worth nothing."
He nodded in agreement.
"You're right. You know, I didn't even think you were gonna meet me today. I didn't think you'd agree to come and talk to me. I just thought...'I fucked it up, and that's it'."
"Well... I'm here. Now I need to know what you want. What you want out of this, what you want from me." I said.
"It's not up to me, it's totally up to you." He said.
"Just tell me what you want." I persisted.
"I want to make this work." He said.
"Why?" I pushed.
"Because. I think it could be really great, and I care about you a lot. You're a good person. You have a good heart. And all I kept thinking all weekend was...How could I have let that go?"
"Well there's a couple things I need to know."
"When you look into your future, do you see me there?"
"Yea. I mean...I'm not in a rush to settle down right now, but I definitely see you in my future."
"Well define 'in a rush', because I'm not in a rush to settle down either, I just wanna find someone to share things with. I want someone to be there for me, through the good times and the bad times; somebody I can depend on. No matter what."
"So do I. And I do wanna get married and have kids someday, but there are just so many things I want to accomplish first, so that when I get to that point, I'm stable and ready for it."
"I understand. I feel the same way." I said.
"Well what else do you need to know?" He asked.
"Well, I need you to know a couple things. One, I will not do this again. If you want to be in a relationship, you can't just leave at the first sign of trouble. That's not how relationships work. When you have disagreements, you work them out, when you have fights, you work them out, you don't just grab all your stuff and chunk deuce. And if you ever do that again, don't bother calling me, or talking to me, because I won't speak to you. That will be it. This is the last chance I'm giving you. So you better not screw it up.
"Second, you have to stop telling me I expect too much from you. Because the bottom line is, even if my expectations were through the roof, which they're not, but even if they were, I don't think I should have to lower my expectations just so that somebody can meet them. If you really wanna be with me, then you should be trying your best to meet those expectations because you care about me. I will not lower my standards for anyone. And I realize that probably no one person is going to be able to meet all my expectations, but...as long as you try, that's what counts. And I don't even expect much!"
"Well what do you expect?" He asked.
"I expect you to be open and honest with me. About your feelings as well as everything else. I expect you to not only tell me, but show me how you feel. I expect you to treat me with respect. I expect you to not hide things from me. And I expect you to put in an equal amount of effort. I don't expect you to spend every spare moment with me. I don't expect you to profess your undying love for me, unless you truly feel that way. And I don't expect you to propose to me in the next year. Ok??"
"Ok." He said. "A lot of things are going to change. You'll see."
"I hope so. Because I remember how you were, when we first started dating. So attentive, and affectionate, and I liked that! But then one day, it just...stopped. And my mistake was, instead of demanding an explanation for your bipolar behavior, I acclimated to it. And I shouldn't have done that." I said.
"I know exactly what that was about."
"What?" I asked.
"You know what it was. Don't make me say it, I can't talk about it here."
"No, I seriously have no clue what you're talking about." I insisted.
"That was around the time when my...project started, and I just...didn't want you to become involved in that."
"Oh." I said, understanding just dawning on me.
"I still am that person, I've just been blocking it. And it will go back to being like that again," He reassured me, "But I can't quit now. We're too far into this for me to quit."
"I know, I know, I'm not asking you to quit. Even though I don't like it."
"Well it's almost over."
I was feeling much better about everything after our conversation. We definitely talked a lot longer and many other things were said, but those are the most important. He admitted he was wrong, he genuinely missed me, and he sincerely feels bad for what he put me through. And he's willing to change and put in more effort. After dinner, we went to a movie. He opened the doors for me, and took my hand when we sat down. He never stopped touching me through the whole movie. After the movie, we went back to my place and talked some more. We lay in bed and he held me, and finally, we kissed. And it was electric. Passionate. Not passionate like make-up sex passionate. Passionate like we've just overcome something great. Together. And it's made us closer. He stayed close to me all night, and we spent the whole day together today too. I feel whole again, and better than ever before. Because I know I don't have to be alone in this anymore. Our relationship actually stands a chance now that both of us are carrying it, instead of just me. And if he really has torn down his walls, who knows what could happen. I know they're not completely gone yet though, it will take some time. But so far, so good.