Snyder 3


It was too cold to be sitting on a stone porch in the middle of November, but there I was, wearing a bathrobe and some pajamas, slippers on and a stolen pack of cigarettes lying next to me on the step. I had my feet pulled in close to my body as I tried to preserve what little heat I'd come out with. I'd come outside to have some privacy, to get away from the ears of my roommates so I could have a serious conversation with my boyfriend. My Blackberry was pressed to the side of my face and I was desperately trying to make him understand why I was such an angry, emotional wreck.

It had all started when he'd been mad at me for sleeping until two o'clock. Now, my anger at him had blossomed into full-on rage, and I was at my breaking point.

"I don't know if I can do this anymore."

My honesty was met with a silence so profound I couldn't even hear him breathing on the other end of the line. I knew he was there, but for a minute I was terrified my words had actually killed him. I waited, hoping that he would say something to let me know he was still there, but all was quiet.


"Yeah," came his gravelly reply. He sounded hoarse even though he'd been speaking fine only moments ago.

"Can you please say something?"

"What do you want me to say?"

"Tell me what you're thinking."

"You just told me you don't want to be with me, Steph. All I can think about is how everything's falling apart."

I bit my lip.

"Not everything is falling apart," I said weakly.

"Isn't it?"


"Well, let's see. My parents are both dead, I work a shitty job for menial pay, I'm behind on every single bill I have, and the girl of my dreams just told me she doesn't know if she can be with me anymore."


"How can you tell me things aren't falling apart?"

"Ben, I'm trying to be honest with you. I'm trying to tell you that I'm afraid."

"And you expect me to be able to comfort you when you say things like that?"

I was silent.

"That's what I thought."

"You're not being fair," I interjected, trying to make myself heard.

"How am I not being fair? You just said you didn't want to be with me. I'm reacting."

Now I was angry. "I never once said that, Ben, and you damn well know it."

"You said you didn't know if you could be with me anymore."

"No, I said I didn't know if I could keep on doing this. I never said anything about not being with you or about things ending, I just can't keep fighting with you every time I try to tell you what's on my mind. You tell me that I can talk to you and confide in you, but whenever I tell you some of the messed up things I think, you just get hurt or sad or angry. How am I supposed to tell you stuff when this is how you react?"

"How am I supposed to react?" he asked. "Shit, when you say stuff like this, I panic because I can't tell what you're thinking and all I can think of is that you might leave me, and I can't survive that."


"I couldn't survive if you left me. Everyone else has left me. My parents are gone and my closest friends have moved away. I never see my sisters. What am I supposed to do if you leave? I can't even think about it. I feel like my stomach is bottoming out and I know I'll never meet a girl as perfect for me as you. I can't lose you. You mean everything to me."

A long silence stretched over the phone line.

"How can I mean everything to you?" I asked tentatively.

"You do."

"But how?"

"I don't know, Steph. I just know that you do."

The line was quiet again as I contemplated his words.

"I just don't know, Ben," was all I could say. "I know that I love you but I don't know about everything else."

"How can you not know?" he asked impatiently. "If you love me, what else is there to know? If we love each other, what else does there have to be?"

"I don't know!" I snapped, frustrated by my inability to communicate. "I just don't know if it's enough. There are so many other things that come into play and so many things that transpire to tear people apart. I just don't know if love is enough."

"It is enough," he said with conviction. "I know it's enough. I know that despite everything, despite all our fights and worries and financial issues, that loving you and being with you at the end of the day can carry me through. I know that by being with you, I can overcome anything."

"Love is not all-powerful."

"It can be. We only need each other and we can make it through the worst of this."

"I don't know," I mumbled, sensing that I would lose this fight whether or not I was right. His belief in the strength of our mutual resolve and love was endearing, but it was also childish. How could it be that a thirty-year-old man could still believe so blindly in love while I, a twenty-two-year-old romantic, couldn't? I had dreamed of love since childhood and here I had it in my arms. I had a lover completely devoted to me, a man who believed that together we could do anything. He was my other half, my best friend, my support when I fell apart and the glue that put me back together.

Why couldn't I believe him?

I came back to the present and realized neither of us had said a word for some time. I wanted to keep talking, to get him to see and acknowledge my side of things, but I didn't have the energy to form the words. I knew he was waiting for me to speak, but I couldn't.

Finally, I sighed.

"I'll talk to you later."

"Yeah," he said dejectedly, realizing he hadn't won me over. As he was saying goodbye, I hit the End Call button and hung up on him mid-syllable. I sighed again, sliding my fingers into my hair to pull at the strands, before loosening my shoulders to stand. As I turned to go into the house, I looked at the Facebook application on my Blackberry and made a snap decision.

I changed my relationship status to single.

I would force him to understand.