He was nice to the waiters.
I couldn’t have known he would break my heart with a text in the middle of the night while I was on assignment in Scotland and recovering after three days of asthma attacks. But there I was, alone in a foreign country, with a new reason to gasp for breath: He had found someone else.
I suppose it’s not too surprising in hindsight. I am a quirky, driven, take-no-prisoners kind of woman. I am a lot to handle. You must be up to the job. I don’t need to know who she is to know she’s my opposite — a Snapchatting, sexy, young, easy-going L.A. girl. Probably different than me physically. Also, and most importantly, she’s probably not someone who would commit the egregious mistake of admitting she wanted to have his babies.
He needed a break, I get it.
My only request was that he give the Brita water filter back. He wouldn’t.
If that doesn’t show the kind of person we’re dealing with here, I don’t know what will.
But what bothers me even more is the sausages.
Before the Nightmare Text, as I’ve come to think of it, my dad gave me sausages to give to him. They were Latimer family favorites. Iconic in the house I grew up in. They’re Polish garlic sausages, and there’s a special way to cook them so that the skin becomes crispy and flavorful. My dad went over it in depth when he gave them to me. I had never been told the secret before, and the whole thing felt like a proper step into adulthood.
I brought the sausages home and stored them in my freezer while I waited for the right time to surprise my guy with them. He was always a bit touchy about kindness, so I knew I had to catch him on the right day if they were to go over well.
When the Nightmare Text came through, they were still in my freezer: a thoughtful gesture that didn’t get a chance. Kind of like our relationship in general, but don’t get me started.
What to do with the sausages? I wondered this during the 12-hour flight home from Scotland. The thought of cooking and eating them myself seemed tragic. I envisioned myself silently crying as I tried to force them to my lips.
No, I decided. The sausages would be my act of defiance. I would give him the sausages if it was the last thing I did. He needed to see the good will he was spitting in the face of.
We met for breakfast shortly after I returned. I was early and got the waitresses on my team. They sat me in the window so I could stare out of it and cry if I needed to. One of them gave me her rose quartz crystal good luck charm to hold. She said it was good for my heart chakra. (An indicator of my condition in that moment is that I briefly thought I felt it working.)
He was making a mistake and we both knew it. So I didn’t ask him why, or who she was, or how. I already knew in my heart the answers to all of those questions. Besides, when someone you care about is making a mistake like that, it’s best to let them do it.
I gave him the sausages. It felt a little weird, sure. But it didn’t feel wrong.
“Make sure you tell them about the sausages when you write about this,” he said, “so they know what I’m dealing with here.”
The sausages are proof, in his mind, that I’m crazy. Him ditching me is proof to the rest of the world that he’s crazy. So I’m not sure it’s an even battle, which is why I’m fine mentioning them.
The sausages are the independent woman in me. The person who takes her hits to the face. The woman who has battled many storms and somehow always wakes up again the next day to find a new way to succeed. The woman who met one of L.A.’s best men, and fell for him; who wanted to spend time in his apartment and in his arms and feel safe from the world. The woman who loved sexy times and funny times and being dipped on the sidewalk and kissing for two more stoplights.
The sausages stand for the woman who waved goodbye gracefully to one of her favorite men, one of the finest men, an irreplaceable man.
So in that sense, yes, I am crazy.
“All girls are crazy,” I told him. “You just have to find the kind of crazy you like.”
If it were me, I’d go with the sausages.