That’s not to say it was all bad. We had our good times, spooning until noon on weekend mornings, eating pancakes, watching reruns of Hogan Knows Best, road tripping to a cappella concerts.
And then there were the fights.
I’m not particularly prone to arguments, and perhaps it was emblematic of our level of intimacy that I got into some of the worst yelling-cursing-throwing-things wars of words that I’ve ever had with this woman. One of the worst of all came in the early summer, shortly after I had wrapped up my res life job for the year.
I don’t remember what the fight was about.
But I do remember the blood.
We had plans to give blood the morning after the fight. We next saw each other at the blood drive, where she looked surprised to run into me. We had a couple mutual friends there. Buffers, because we didn’t want to fight in front of them, so we played nice. And afterward, she let me take her to lunch.
And she passed out.
She had given blood a dozen or more times--certainly more times than I had at that point--and never had a problem. But something went wrong. We got subs at a food court. I left her to get drinks, and came back to find her slumped over.
I woke her. She lay down. I pulled the car around and got her back to my place.
For the afternoon to follow, it wasn’t just as though we hadn’t been fighting. It was though we were the best version of us. She lay on the couch while I waited on her. And it wasn’t as though I minded--I think I loved her more for it.
So what can one derive from all of this?
That it was an unhealthy relationship?
That each of us enjoyed it when the other person was hurting?
I think that relationships show their truest colors in less than ideal situations. In fights, yes. But also when people have to go to the emergency room. When people are in the process of moving. When people needs sleeves on which to wipe their noses, ears to vent to, even punching bags to verbally maul for a bit.
A little over two years after that day, on the far side of another summer, I ended the relationship. If I’m going to be completely honest, I haven’t really looked back. That said, at least from where I sit, the passage of time and changes in our life don’t make the love we once had any less real, or the memory of those moments any less poignant.