“I’ve reserved my ticket; I’m going back to Cuba on the Monday of Memorial Day.”
He continues on with details of the finer points of ticket pricing, as if I don’t realize – as if I didn’t warn him in the first place – that pricing just before the holiday weekend could be expected to be oppressive. It doesn’t matter. I’m only half paying attention to that part of it, because he just said he’s going back to Cuba in May. I don’t think he’s been back to Cuba since his parents came here several years ago; they were the primary draw that would make him brave a flight to his-home-that-isn’t-anymore. I know about his dad’s next appointment; I know he just misspoke. I’m still looking at him like he’s crazy.
“Going back to Cuba?” I ask him.
“Miami. Did I say Cuba?” he asks me, and when I smile and nod he simply shrugs and says, “Well, same sh*t.”
And because he’s Cuban (or technically Cuban-American) and lives in Miami, he can say that. If I said it, it might be considered offensive.
So there it is. Our neatly slotted expiration date. Not because I don’t think he’ll ever be back (he hasn’t cleared out his apartment) or that we won’t still be friends (we’ve known each other for almost a decade and a half, and I can’t imagine either one of us not still being there for the other in a pinch), but as long as he’s leaving for an undisclosed amount of time, there needs to be clarity established and boundaries drawn.
I have been asked why I have allowed so much lack of clarity for so long.
- Because neither one of us is quick to trust, so the fact that we trust each other so implicitly, despite the ups and downs of our relationship over the years, seems to imply something meaningful. You know, or not. Like I said, trust is not my long suit, so maybe I imbue simply feeling safe with more meaning than I should.
- Because it’s incredibly comforting to know he’s there, even if “there” is far away.
- Because I think it’s unfair to expect clarity from him on the nature of our relationship, when I am so conflicted myself about how I feel about whether or not there is or should be an “us” on any given day.
And so, true to form, I am conflicted. I want him to go. I want him to stay. I think we should break up. I don’t know that there’s anything to “break up.” I want there to be. I don’t want there to be.
In short… I need to get out of my own head. I need a vacation… from myself.