Break Up

by Carla Schwartz


You hear the news of the breakup,
second-hand. It’s your lover’s best friend,
someone you liked from the start,
although you thought he was shy
and passive, especially around his girlfriend,
who always struck you as matter-of-factly push-push,
a woman who knows what she wants and gets it,
a woman who fears a parking lot at night,
but can run a company.

You tried to like her,
but, when she sided with the prissy ranger
in a story you tell often ━ no one
sides with the prissy ranger, they side with you,
practical, efficient, unselfconscious you ━
that clinched it: You and she would never be friends.

But now she is on the receiving end of a hit-and-run break up,
after all the years, the vacations, the kids growing up.
Your lover says, Relationship fatigue.
You couldn’t have seen it coming for
the push-push woman and the pushover man.
But you’ve seen this before: Something rises up
in the man to say, I can’t take this anymore,
and then retribution, revolt.

Something inside you wants to reach out to this woman,
you want to speak up for all who have been in her shoes,
to tell her she is not alone. This is not the first wham bam
and it won’t be the last. But you stop yourself.
You remember you don’t really like her,
and you stare down at your own flimsy shoes.

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