This post is part of “Getting Over Maggie,” a series about a guy whose girlfriend has moved out. Brand new to the Maggie Chronicles? Start here.
Before she left, most of the friends you made came from her. She was always rounding people up and bringing them along with her, some crazy ringleader, like the girl with the baton at the beginning of a parade. There were always new people circling. Even when she got tired of the old friends, someone new appeared.
The only person she would never get tired of was you.
Or so she said. And we all know how that turned out.
After she left, you made your own friends. Slowly. Mostly at work. And instead of starting fresh and embracing the new blank canvas of your life, you told your new friends about her.
“I don’t really understand why you’re so hung up on that Maggie person,” Chris said, drumming his fingers on the counter as Third Eye Blind played on the jukebox at the bar. “Instead of actually living your life, you’re walking around moping about her all the time.”
You realized it then:
Before, you were part of something, half of a couple, Dave and Maggie, and so much of your identity was wrapped up in creating that couple with her. In being a partner.
But now you were just Dave, and she was just “that Maggie person,” the girl you talked about sometimes whom you used to live with, who, frankly, sounded like a little bit of a jerk, or at least like someone who wasn’t very nice to you, especially in the end.
And maybe everyone secretly wished that you would stop talking about her. That you would just get over it already.
Perhaps they waited anxiously for the day you would stop talking about her, ready to content themselves with the idea that you were starting to heal so that they could stop feeling sorry for you and being witness to your pathetic grief.
That’s how it felt, anyway. But you weren’t quite ready to be done talking about her, and so you told Chris everything.
“It all sounds very incompatible,” was his assessment, that evening at the bar. “She sounds crazy! Like she starts a bunch of things and never finishes any of them. Grad school. The cat she left you with. The weird shelf in your apartment that only covers half the wall. That was her, wasn’t it? That was another project she abandoned.”
“You see?” he says. “She has no follow-through.”
You start to remind yourself that Chris has never met her, that, like everyone else, his opinion is incomplete, biased. And sometimes, life is just a matter of choosing whose opinions you are going to listen to.
Maybe you should stop listening to Chris.
But just then, he looks at you. He doesn’t blink. “You need to know this,” he says. His hand on the counter makes a fist. “There are people who aren’t going to leave you. They’re especially not going to move out wordlessly, with no explanation. There are people who wouldn’t dream of it.”