So, Rory and I broke up. 

It actually happened a few weeks ago, but I haven’t been able to come up with any words other than “AUGH, I’M SO SAD” yet. And while I have a fair bit of creative freedom here, I don’t think my editor would accept a four-word column. Plus, there’s always so much busywork in breakups; packing and clearing and figuring out who gets what (and now I have to buy a new bookcase, armchair and television).  

And, if I’m being perfectly honest, part of me was hoping that maybe one of us would change their mind. So far, no dice. As I write, he’s moving the rest of his stuff out today. 

Those of you who have had the singular misfortune of following my column for a long time – or who have had nothing better to do than read through the archives while stuck inside on a snowy day – may remember that my last long-term relationship ended because we had different goals and desires for the future. What’s past is prologue, I guess. I have come to the unfortunate conclusion that I want to be a mom after all, despite all the perfectly good reasons not to be. I’ve tried not to want that, I’ve tried to be chill, and it’s gone about as well as when I tried to control my drinking, back in the bad old days. When my brain gets set, the rest of me just has to figure out how to go along with it. I can’t drag other people along with me, though. Rory has different goals and dreams.   

I’m mostly fine and OK as long as I’m busy. As long as I’m busy, I don’t have to look into the endless abyss. But despite its vastness, the endless abyss of darkness shows up pretty quickly as soon as my mind isn’t occupied. When I’m lying in bed. When I’m driving home at night. In the shower between the shampoo and the conditioner. The endless abyss says things like “You will die alone and unloved and Janey will eat your face” and “Actually, Janey is likely to die first, some unknown future dog will eat your face.” It turns out that a 30-minute commute is just enough time to start to spiral into hopelessness.  

Breakups are like surgery. Even if it’s necessary, it’s still painful and the recovery period is awful.


Also, while I’ve never had my heart actually ripped out, so I don’t know what it feels like, I can confirm that breakups are way worse than having a kidney surgically removed. Once again, my plans for the future have fallen off their axis. (I wish that would stop happening.) The best-laid plans of millennials and men oft go awry. I feel like a little boat whose anchor chain has been cut, floating around confused and adrift. Also the boat’s sprung a leak, the captain’s asleep at the helm and the first mate ate the navigational charts. 

I’m sad and scared and lonely. I went back and reread my columns about my last breakup, back in December 2019. And it turns out I was sad and scared and lonely then, too. And that time around, I had to move back in with my mom and immediately managed to break a screen door and a potted geranium. This time around, I’m in my own home, the screen door is fine and I don’t own any potted plants to endanger. I still have Juno. I still have Janey. The three of us continue to be a very weird little family: older and wiser and now completely housebroken!

As they often do in times of tribulation, particularly when men are involved, my thoughts turn to my grandmother.

She’s been gone for about 4½ years now, but every time I auto-deposit money into the Vanguard account that she showed me how to open, she’s right there with me. Grammy did eventually get a happy ending with the love of her life, but only after being widowed tragically young and then going through a divorce that left her a penniless single mother of three. Lois Fleming did not wallow and, honestly, would never be caught dead writing about her feelings in a newspaper.

Lois Fleming had far too much to do to worry about what-ifs. And I am Lois Fleming’s granddaughter. Lois Fleming’s granddaughter does not mope over any man. Lois Fleming’s granddaughter is increasing her weekly retirement contribution so that when she dies alone and unloved, at least she can pay for a home health aide who will hopefully find her before the dog eats her face. 

Victoria Hugo-Vidal is a Maine millennial. She can be contacted at:
Twitter: @mainemillennial

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