"Why did we break up?"
I stood there baffled, dumbfounded, flabbergasted and completely fucking pissed. On the sidewalk next to my friends, the ones who pulled me through these past years, I was confronted by my ex and his family. I was concerned if maybe life was punishing me. It had been two years since he and I broke up. Two fucking years and yet here we are casually bumping into each other on a busy street and this motherfucker's second sentence to me after hello was the dumbest question I know. There he was with a girlfriend and his family, obviously capable of moving on, yet he didn't know why I left him.
Maybe life was punishing me…but maybe it was giving me closure too.
I slowly let my anger simmer and I exhaled thinking on exactly why my four-year relationship failed.
"What is your favorite Robin Williams movie?" The amount of confusion on this sidewalk was tangible after I had answered his question with one of my own. One could literally reach out and take it from the air.
"W-What?" He stammered.
"What is your favorite Robin Williams movie?" I calmly replied. He took a moment before answering. Clearly thinking his options over.
"Mrs. Doubtfire... I guess."
"You guess?" He once again seemed taken back by my response. "It's your favorite, you can't just guess. Have more conviction."
"Fine. My favorite Robin Williams movie is Mrs. Doubtfire."
"Why?" At this point, one could see his frustration and annoyance beginning to show through.
"What does this have to do with anything?"
"Just answer the question," Again he took his time. He began muttering and stumbling but I wasn't annoyed, this is exactly what I had expected. "Come on. It's your favorite! It can't be that hard."
"Because it's funny and I watched it as a kid"
"Why did you watch it as a kid? Why is it funny?"
"What – I don't understand what you're asking. Pau -"
"You know what else you watched as a kid? Huh? Cartoons! Sesame Street, Blue Clues, Teen Titans, Rugrats, and so on. Do you know what else is funny? Comedians, Jumanji, ROM-COMS, etc. Do honestly fucking think that's all there is? That that's enough? That some fucking childhood nostalgia and comedy makes it enough?" I was steaming and he began to draw back. I hadn't planned to get worked up but here we are. He was caught off guard and looked terrified.
"Have you heard of Dead Poet's Society!? Huh?" He just shook his head. "How about Good Will Hunting? What Dreams May Come? Good Morning, Vietnam?" I was almost yelling at this point. "These are movies about life and honor and war and suicide and what it means to be alive and you are going to stand here and tell me your favorite Robin Williams movie is Mrs. Doubtfire because it's funny and you watched it as a kid! How the fuck do you think that's enough?" He looked ready to run. This is what I hated the most about him. He never argued back and he never truly listened. Even now he was looking for his quickest escape because he couldn't handle what he asked for. But I wasn't done
"It doesn't matter what your favorite anything is, it only matters why. And, you could never give a good answer why for anything! Not for why you were going to college, not for why you wanted to be a doctor, not for any of your favorite things, not for loving me." I felt the air stiffen at my last line. You could hear the pain in my voice, tears were threatening my will and I wanted to forget the hell he put me through, but I needed to hear this more than he did.
"You want to know the difference between you and me? You take the path most paved. You followed the laws of society and the flows of others. You obey your parents and your siblings and your friends and your girlfriend and you never, for one goddamn second, ask yourself why. You never decide for yourself. You never take one second to listen to what lies within not what comes out of the mouths of others. You take every movie, every book, every song, every word at face value and never look for more. You are a coward. And, that is the difference between you and me. I. Have. Lived."
I drew out the last words, stepping closer to him with each emphasis. "I am broken and bruised and I wake up every day contemplating if I want to live another day. And, you did this to me! You drained me of all my passion and pride and power because you never had any because you were jealous. You never supported any of my dreams or engaged in any of my questions. You never showed interest in me or this world. But damn it, I lived. And, it makes my journey all the more worth it, because I make the decision to live and to look further into everything I do. I love the world around me, I have seen it in all its colors, not just the ones I open my eyes too. With every breath, I take, I know why I am alive. Do you?"
My breath was broken into pants and I could barely hold still. I took a step away from him and clenched my first to stop the trembling. "You will graduate med or grad school and marry a pretty girl and have three or four kids and within a few generations, your mediocre life will be forgotten. Not even your great-great-great grandchildren will remember anything you left in this world. Your ideas, your principles, your whole essence will die with your body. But, I will be different. I will carve my name into this world and burn my existence into its history. I will do great things, help many people, save numerous lives, and inspire countless because I strive for so much more than an average life, more than the path most traveled by can offer me. And, on my deathbed, whether I'm 40 or 98. I will know that somewhere, within someone, I will live on. In the lives of all those, I have helped and changed. I have lived now more than you will in two lifetimes."
"That is why we broke up. Because I chose to live."