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Initiating Breakups: Where There’s Smoke

·303 words·2 mins

“Do you smell smoke?”

“Probably just the BBQ joint down the street,” they reply. “I bet the wind is shifting.”

Except you’re not so sure. “It’s awfully warm in here,” you say.

“Is it?”

The heat grows. You see a flame out of the corner of your eye. “Holy shit, the house is on fire!”

“On fire?” they say. “No need to worry.”


“Oh, we can work around it,” they reply, brushing ash off the table.

“Work around it?” you ask, incredulous.

“We’re lucky to have a roof over our heads,” they say.

“A roof over our heads? Not for long. The house is on FIRE.” You point up at the ceiling, at the flames snaking through the rafters.

“Don’t be so dramatic,” they say.

Frustrated, you grab their arm and haul them to safety.

As you call 911 from the lawn, they complain bitterly about your decision.

“Seriously? You gave up,” they say. “That was drastic.”


When You’re Always the One Initiating Breakups

“I’ve either been dumped twice or not at all, depending on how you judge things,” she says.

“Same here,” I reply.

We talk about what a relief it is to hear the other say that. I’ve worried for a long time that this pattern of always initiating breakups makes me a heartless bitch, even though I don’t feel cold or empty.

“You’re not heartless,” she says. “It’s not that.”

“You don’t think so?”

“It’s because we notice the problems first,” she says.

We  commiserate on all the times that we saw trouble in a relationship first, tried to alert our partner, and we were told there was no cause for alarm. And instead of fixing the underlying issues in our relationships, the flames ate away at the house until there was nothing left.




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