Over the last few weeks, I read this beautiful and elegiac piece, dressed up for Halloween, and burst into tears in the bar area of Chili’s.
My boyfriend stared at me, unsurprised. I’d dropped hints this was coming: Staring into the distance in between getting sodium poisoning from Bottomless Tostada Chips. Shifting in my seat. Asking, “Where do all the books go?”, my voice breaking slightly.
We’d just sold five boxes of books at the Half-Price in Skokie. And smaller things have made me cry in public places.
I went on to blubber through some stuff about growing up in a house with too many books, which was terrible and wonderful, but the first part makes me want to lead a capsule lifestyle now (I’m failing), that I have so many shitty relationship memories, and I was thinking of this because a lot of previous Halloweens were ruined by an ex-boyfriend, who’d been really into Chili’s and that was why all these feelings really made sense right now.
He took a bite of his chicken sandwich. I wondered how I wasn’t single.
I was with someone for a long time who wasn’t into Halloween. He didn’t like costumes, or even dressing up at all. It was faking it, he said, pretending you were someone you weren’t. It was lying. Every year, we’d fight about going out and participating. He’d grudgingly put on something that was a costume, sometimes. It wasn’t even a half-assed costume. It was a quarter-assed costume, a walking reminder of how he didn’t want to do something and thought it was lame.
I ended up feeling terrible about something I loved. And there were a lot of things like that. I don’t begrudge someone for not liking something, but ruining it for someone else is pretty low.
Through exes, suburban chains restaurants, and “Learning to Measure Time in Love and Loss“, I realized that life is too fleeting to be with someone who hates Halloween. It’s too precious to convince yourself that what you love sucks, and you should apologize for it. It’s too important to date someone who doesn’t make you feel amazing, supported, and loved. And it’s way, way too short to salt your giant Diet Coke with tears of regret.
My black bean burger sat in front of me, their attempt at an artisanal bun glossy and golden. My boyfriend looked at me, his face open and concerned. I stopped talking and ate.