She wanted to meet up one last time, and after all that I’d put her through, how could I not oblige her?
When I got to the bar, Sam was already there. She sat in a booth and faced the door, so as soon as I walked in, I knew where to find her. I approached and slid in on the opposite side, a bit afraid to actually look into her eyes.
“Hey,” she said. She smiled. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad.
“Hey,” I replied.
Yesterday, she had asked me over, like she usually did every few days. My normal response was to say ‘yes’ and then quickly head over to her place. There, she would cook for me, we would drink, and we would fuck. I’d fall asleep in her arms and leave in the morning; maybe 3 or 4 days later, this cycle would repeat.
But yesterday, it all changed. I was with “her,” as Sam not so affectionately called her. Her was Jaime. I had started dating Jaime months before I ever knew Sam even existed. Jaime was my perfect complement. We were both grad students at the same university, and held similar interests and opinions about everything. Jaime was safe and comfortable, and a nice break from my previous relationship filled with unwarranted jealousy and possessiveness. Jaime did not ask for much. And admittedly, I did not give much.
Then I met Sam. We were utter opposites, agreeing on a few things here and there. We argued – sometimes playfully, other times vigorously and with passion. But she could look into my eyes and see straight into me, and as hard as I tried, I couldn’t resist her.
I was dating them both. And I didn’t know how long this could last, but I was balancing so many things that I was bound to drop one.
I was at a concert with Jaime, a rapper that we both enjoyed. Jaime and I did things like this together. Go to concerts, plays, baseball games. Sam and I would have our odd public outing together, at the beach or a bar, but mostly, we hung out at my apartment or her’s, and fucked.
I must have forgotten that Sam had told me she would be going to this concert. But I forgot, and just before the show began, I felt a tap on the shoulder and turned around to see Sam and her friend.
“Hey!” she said excitedly. She threw her arms around my neck and I thanked God that she didn’t kiss me.
“Hey,” I said, and instantly regretted the tone of my voice. It was awkward, fearful, and I could see the way her eyes got darker. Her head turned in Jaime’s direction, who had a quizzical look on my face.
“Hi, I’m Sam,” she said. She extended her hand and Jaime shook it.
“Jaime,” she replied.
I cut in. “Excited for the concert?”
“Yea, I am. Remember I told you a few nights ago that it was going to be the highlight of my week?” Sam quipped.
I laughed nervously. Out of the corner of my eyes, I saw Jaime turn to stone.
Sam smiled again. “We gotta go back to our group, I just wanted to come over and say hey.” With that – with my whole evening turned to ashes – Sam turned on her heel and walked away.
The rest of the evening moved slow. Jaime would hardly speak. Instead of coming back to my place afterwards, she asked to be dropped off and told me she would talk to me later.
I kept looking at my phone, expecting Sam to text or call me to start a fight but there was nothing. Finally, she hit me up two days later.
“Hey,” I said.
“Hey,” she replied. “So, who is that girl to you?”
I sighed. “That is Jaime.”
“If you are asking if I am seeing her, the answer is yes.”
It was silent.
“Is she your girlfriend or are you just dating her?”
“No, she’s not my girlfriend. We are just dating.”
“For how long?”
“Almost a year.”
She chuckled. “Okay, well, I didn’t think we were exclusive. So I’m not mad or anything. I just needed to know that she wasn’t your girlfriend.”
We chatted back and forth, our conversation eventually ending with an invitation to come by. I did.
Sam and I continued on like this for sometime. And so did Jaime and I. I expected Jaime to say something the next time I saw her, but she was her usual self.
Until a few nights ago. Jaime was at my place, eating take-out while I graded some papers. She came and sat down next to me on the couch and the way she was staring at me made me put my pen and paper down.
“What’s up?” I asked.
“I want to talk to you about something.” I nodded, waiting. “We’ve been dating for awhile now and well, I think I’m in love with you. I want us to be exclusive. I want you to be my boyfriend.”
Those words. I knew it was wrong of me to have dated Jaime for so long and never really committed to her. She had met all my friends, my friends’ girlfriends, we had gone on weekend trips together, and for all intensive purposes, we were together. Except for Sam.
Sam flashed across my mind, and I wondered how I could do this. I wondered how was I going to give her up but then I looked back at Jaime, and the answer came to me: easily.
“I love you too Jaime. And yes, I want to be your boyfriend.”
She smiled and kissed me. I thought to stop her and come clean, to tell her about Sam. But instead, I let her kiss me.
The next night, my phone rang. It was Sam. I took a deep breath and answered.
“You at home? I’m in the area and I have food,” she said, not even bothering with a hi.
“Yea I am, but uhh, we need to talk.” Silence. I decided to keep going. “I can’t see you anymore Sam.”
“Okay,” she basically whispered.
“Jaime and I decided to be… exclusive.”
“I see. Well, I’m happy for you.”
“Thanks, I appreciate that. A lot.”
“Can we meet up one more time?… for drinks? As friends,” she said, with emphasis on the friends.
I didn’t know what else to say but yes.
So here I was, sitting across from the girl I used to date, quietly sipping on a margarita.