I was not particularly distraught by this realization. I had no delusions of together-foreverness; he lived really far away and it's not like we'd "done it" so there was nothing to be upset about. We didn't even love each other, though he said he "really liked me a lot. Like, a lot" so I guess you could say we were kind of serious.
This realization came about by two major factors: a phone conversation earlier in the week had me gushing on and on about the two roles I had in upcoming theatre productions that were SERIOUSLY SUCH A BIG DEAL and THEATRE IS LIFE ect. After gushing about how this was my whole world, the defining aspect of my life, greatest calling in the universe for my soul for ten minutes or so, his response was, "oh god, I hate plays. I guess I'll come if I have to. For you, I mean. Only for you, and I guess I won't fall asleep."
Aw, hell no.
There are a lot of things I can forgive, unattractive traits I can overlook. The Calzone Incident, for example. But listen to me rant and rave about theatre and brushing off my life goals as a tiresome obligation? I suddenly saw a glaring incompatibility between us. And when I become a breakout star on Broadway in just a couple years, I mean, I only get so many comp tickets. The nonbeliever has GOT TO GO.
Also Halloween was next weekend, and my cool friend JD planned to host a party with dancing and candy and cute boys. Cute boys I liked, who weren't half a coastline away. I mean, hayyy.
Whilst I was ready to move on and my eyes had started wandering, I was not brazen enough to cheat, or even flirt with other guys. But I wanted to, and lest I act on those urges and then forever be branded a scarlet woman and cruel temptress, this relationship had GOT TO GO.
Love is so simple when you're seventeen.
Time came for the nightly phone call (remember, seven hours long distance). I think it was his turn to call me. He didn't have a cell phone (these were the dark ages) and mine was prepaid with a few hundred minutes because my parents were, and will always be, late-adopters/laggards to technology (AW HELL YEAH PUTTING THAT PR TERMINOLOGY TO USE) and also frugal as all hell. So we made long-distance calls from our HOUSE PHONES.
I sound so old right now.
He was talking about... guy stuff, or something, whatever, only focused at the upcoming task of how-to-dump-him-effectively-but-painlessly. I had even surveyed my friends at the lunch table throughout the week. Had I access to technology, I would have made a google spreadsheet with the advice and tried to categorize it. The suggestions ranged from the cruel (tell him you're seeing someone else) to the passive aggressive (just stop talking to him and defriend him off of Facebook).
I am not cruel nor passive aggressive, but I am tactless. And blunt.
"Are you okay? You seem really quiet and uh stuff."
Now see, I am not one of those girls who answers "I'm fine" all huffily and wants you to guess what's wrong. I am much, much worse. You ask that question, and the floodgates come down.
"I don't think we should date anymore / I just um it's like I don't know it's really hard and uh stuff / like ummm the distance! / Yeah the distance is really hard and I can't visit all the time / and we're only in high school and so like um yeah / and we just don't have a lot in common and the distance is bad and I don't think it can work because I like you and stuff and you know, like like you but it's not working out and uh so yeah."
Okay? Okay?! I dump all that out and get a one word response? I was still really naive (again: see the Calzone incident) and expected to talk about our feelings and how we would deal with this and all the changes. I tried to prod for a little more reaction.
"Well uh, how do you feel about it?" Dumbest question to ask a guy, ever.
Oh god, he felt bad. I made someone feel bad. Instantly I felt like the most horrible person on the planet. I didn't want to be with him, or ever see him again or talk to him, but I wanted him to still like me. (Somewhere, a feminist is clawing her hair out at this statement. I am not so gooey anymore, rest assured.)
I was concerned. And naive. I didn't know how bad was "bad." I hung out with a mix of AP students and artsy freaks, and the artsy freaks were always having existential crises to attend to. When they felt bad, that usually meant a trip to the psych ward. OH GOD. What if he feels that kind of bad and it's all my fault? I had to make sure I wasn't leaving a fragile eggshell of a person to be smashed against the rough wall of reality.
Once again, with the tact and gentleness of a steamroller, I tried to find out if he was deeply emotionally damaged.
"You're not going to kill yourself, are you?"
"Kill yourself. I mean, you shouldn't, that's really bad. You're going to be okay."
"Why would I kill myself?"
"Oh uh..." Good question. "I heard people do that sometimes. When they get dumped."
"I'm not going to kill myself."
"Good! Because that's really bad."
We exchanged a few more pleasantries and the request to mail his sweatshirt back, which I never wore at school anyway because it smelled weird (LIKE POT), and within fifteen seconds after hanging up I changed my facebook status to "single."
I can safely say no one I've dated has died as a result of dating me. As for the frequent bumps and bruises and foot-in-mouth clumsiness, well.... that's just an occupational hazard you know going in.