Ben and Robin have been
sweethearts since high school. These have been the best years
of their lives, and it seems impossible for things to get better
than this. They certainly have it all. What more could they want?
Ben checked the clock again and looked at the unopened
menus on the table and then to the empty seat across from him.
Robins only a half-hour late and had mentioned being
in a hurry, he reasoned to himself. Robin had often been late
in the past few months, various meetings seeming to take precedence
over quality time with Ben. He wasnt bothered, however.
The passion from when they had first met in high school five years
earlier had changed into a comfortable familiarity, and Ben almost
relished this bond more than their frenzied inseparability of
that first year, knowing that what they shared now was built upon
trust and understanding and not simply teenaged hormones. Now
he thought it seemed that they knew each other better than they
knew themselves. Still anxious to see Robin, Ben tried to distract
himself by straightening his silverware for the sixth time and
continuing to occasionally nibble at the inside of his lip.
I hope Robins alright, he fretted before quickly
dismissing the thought. What am I worrying about? Robin has
always been able to handle problems without hesitation. I should
do so well, Ben thought to himself.
"Hi, Ben," said the only person he had loved since high
school, breaking Bens reverie and pulling back strands of
long blond hair before sinking into the seat across from him.
"Hi, baby," Ben smilingly returned the greeting. "I
was getting worried "
"Look, Ben we need to talk."
Bens smile faded slightly. These were not the words any
boyfriend ever wanted to hear. He swallowed hard but said nothing,
waiting expectantly for Robin to continue.
"I could spend a lot of time trying to ease you through this,
but it won't change anything. Just let me just say it Ive
found someone else. I dont want to be with you anymore."
Robin delivered the news dispassionately, watching Ben for his
For Ben this was not simply like the possibility of losing a casual
lover. This was a love of five devoted years. The unexpected revelation
caused Ben to shake slightly and grip the edges of the table with
both hands. His entire sense of stability, trust, and completeness
was being ripped away painfully and without warning. He looked
up at Robin, then looked quickly around the entire restaurant,
sure that all eyes were upon him. All of the happiness and comfort,
the contentment and the plans for the future everything
he had wanted and held for five years was suddenly in jeopardy.
Can I still save this? Can I hold on to Robin and survive our
first threat from an outside temptation? Will Robin listen?
Ben looked back to the unreadable face across from him for answers
and didnt know what to think.
I love you. I
We need each other."
"No, Ben. You may need me, but Ive found much more
satisfaction from someone else." Robin retained the same
detached demeanor and glanced away from Ben to the clock on the
"You told me you loved me," Ben continued, confusion
and despair contorting his face. "You said
what do you mean you found more satisfaction? You didnt
"Look, Ben, its not important. Its just over.
Its not like I hate you or anything; we can still be friends."
Ben's jaw tightened in anger and frustration. "I cant
believe you would say that you know I hate it when people
use that line." Ben began turning red through his whole face
and neck. As he grew more upset, his eyes developed a matching
hue from unshed tears. "You sleep with someone else and then
you think you can make it all better by offering to still be my
friend. Do you seriously think "
"Look, Ben, I have to go." Robin stood and glanced again
at the clock on the wall, no longer looking in Bens direction.
"Ill call you some time and we can talk more."
What? Ben thought. No offer of a shoulder to cry on;
no comment of "Im sorry" or "I didnt
plan on this;" no explanation of how this could happen? Just
the cliché offer of friendship without any sincerity or
honesty; an offer to forgive and then completely forget each other?
Is that it? No single emotion could account for all of this.
He shook his head to clear his thoughts.
Ben choked out a startled, "But
" but it was too
late to make a difference. The last five years of his life had
already walked out the door.