Anna: One Year Later

Previously: Anna

“I kind of hope she breaks up with me,” I thought to myself, waiting for her to arrive, because I couldn’t leave her and I wouldn’t dump her. If you leave a great girl like her, and have just one bad night anywhere else in the world, in a sausage fest club with mediocre girls giving you attitude, you’ll get angry at yourself for leaving. You’ll feel despair at trading real connection and chemistry for the mere potential of having it with someone else. But if she breaks up with me, I will be free of regret and what-ifs. She made the choice, not me. I was the victim, not the perpetrator.

Anna picked me up from the airport when I arrived for the second time in Odessa. My flight was delayed two hours but she patiently waited for me and we embraced in the airport lobby. What a lucky man I was to simply hit the un-pause button and resume where we left off from meeting nearly a year before.

She brought me little gifts every other date, small trinkets she came across. She bought a glass and painted a design on it with a big R. She cooked soup when I was sick. She brought me sweets. She was patient, kind, funny, emotional, sexy, smart, feminine, nurturing, honest—everything a man could want, but like with every other girl, I started to get bored. When we went on the beach at night to eat cookies and drink champagne, I was ready to go home after two hours. When we went to the dolphin show, I was watching the clock while she excitedly took pictures of the imprisoned animals. I dreaded phone conversations where she would ask me what I did during my day when it was no different than the one before it. Even sex become a chore, a job. I knew her vagina inside and out. It gave me orgasms, but there was no novelty, no excitement. I had trouble reconciling my boredom with her considering she was one of the most interesting girls I’ve ever dated who put a lot of effort in bed.

We were highly compatible both physically and emotionally. She would be overbearing at times and nitpicky, but nothing that was a deal breaker, meaning it was time for the relationship to take the next step on the road to marriage. At 24, she was getting old by Ukrainian standards, and needed to lock up a man to secure her future. At 35, I was drifting from one country to the next, using sex as a means towards enlightenment and meaning but wondering why it was providing me with neither. I couldn’t shake my opposition to commitment, even though I knew Anna was a perfect match for me. In the past, I’d pass on commitment in the search for more quantity or higher quality, but in this case I didn’t care about banging any more girls or visiting any more countries since my belly was sated long ago. I just didn’t want to reduce my freedom by being locked down to one woman.

I cared about her, would fly into a rage if anyone hurt her, but I didn’t love her enough to grow old with her. More than one month into my second visit I still had not made any declaration to stay longer than my three month visa allows. She must’ve known I didn’t want more than our mini relationship.

We scheduled a date for a Wednesday night. I sat on a park bench waiting for her. I had already taken her to most of the cafes in the center, and was trying to think of where we could go or what we could do before going back to my bedroom. “I kind of hope she breaks up with me,” I thought to myself, waiting for her to arrive, but I knew she wouldn’t since I still had over a month left in the city. We’d have to wait a little while longer for a sad goodbye I’ve done so many times before with so many other girls.

She greeted me with a small kiss and I mentally logged another three-hour date where we would pass the time, entertain each other slightly, and then have one or two orgasms before I put her in a taxi. The relationship was kept in a state of purgatory, and she was fine with it. Or so I thought.

“This is our last meeting,” she said. “We’re not friends and we’re not boyfriend-girlfriend. When people ask me what you are, I don’t know what to tell them. We’re in the middle and so I have no place for you in my life. I don’t want this to continue.”

“Are you joking?” I asked. My ego refused to believe I was being dumped, even though I had just fantasized about the prospect.

“I’m not joking. I had a lot of good times with you, but this is it.”

I stared off into space. I remember the time I asked her if she wanted kids or not. She said, “Of course, I’m a woman.” I joked about impregnating her but taking absences of indeterminate length, an idea she didn’t care much for. I ignored all her hints about wanting something more stable.

After composing my thoughts, I said, “You’re making the right decision for you. I know you want a serious relationship, marriage, and kids, and I don’t want that right now.”

I was ready to reminisce about our relationship a bit, relive the good times we had, but with a stern face I had never seen before, she said “So goodbye” and turned around. No kiss, no hug. We had known each other for a year, had traveled to another country together, had shared a hundred inside jokes, had sent a thousand text messages to each other, had exchanged over a dozen thoughtful gifts, had made love dozens of times, but now I was dirt to her, someone who had no more value than a random man walking past us. I couldn’t believe she was capable of being so cold.

I walked home and ruminated about our relationship. I put on some sad love music to force any emotion to the surface, but none was coming. I wanted to care about what just happened, but she had merely denied a future that I already denied in my mind. A feeling of relief overcame me that I could buy an airplane ticket to anywhere in the world and not feel like I had destroyed the relationship, not feel like I had made one of the biggest mistakes of my life, but soon enough I’d see my rationalization for what it was, that failing to commit to her was my choice entirely.

Even after this experience, I feel no more comfortable committing to any woman. The idea of love and living happily ever after is an abstract fantasy that becomes less likely with every passing year. I’m essentially re-living the same thing over and over again, running in the same hamster wheel but in different places with different women, and soon I will meet another Anna and let her go too. How absurd it is to be so capable of meeting good women but choose loneliness instead! It’s loneliness to some, but freedom to me, and I choose this freedom over creating a family, freedom over long-term relationships with good women. And I’m prepared, I think, to live with that choice.

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