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So when he called this afternoon, I babbled endlessly about the trip. I told him about the scary golf club man at Waffle House and the Cheap Red Wine that I couldn't get enough of and that only one beaver was killed in the making of the party. I told him about The Starliner Diner and the lovely flames that the smiling gold man painted on my right leg.
He told me he'd missed me terribly, and I giggled nervously.

Three hours later, we were headed for Steak 'n Shake, heatedly discussing Rochelle, Thomas, and Michael. Rochelle is dating Michael and crazy about Thomas. Thomas feels the same. Michael is his best friend. We analyzed the situation from every direction and decided that Rochelle and Michael needed to break up. NOW. The parallels were startling.
I am good at looking at things from the outside.

At Steak and Shake, we both nervously shooed the waitress away. I fiddled with my ring, the pepper shaker, the menu... He fixed his eyes on me. They brimmed over with love and understanding, and I wanted to hide under the table. He asked to hear more about the trip. Three minutes later:
"Honey, I have no business being with you if your heart isn't in it."
"But..."
"Look at you. There's no way I'm going to prolong your agony. I do love you, after all. Do you think I want to watch you do this?"
"God, I am such a girl! Why am I doing this? You're right."
"If we don't do it now, you'll be more sorry later!"
"This is why I love you, Matt."
"Good. Then you're still gonna be my friend."
"DUH!"

We beamed at each other, and the air between us seemed to hum with the giddy silliness that had first attracted me to him. We laughed and smiled and he did the awful James Brown dance that I love. When we got up to pay the check, our arms naturally went around each other's waists. He bumped me with his hip, I bumped back, and we almost fell over with relief. Our waitress winked at us as she handed me our change. "Y'all have a real good night now, kids... Don't do anything I wouldn't do!" Matt cheerily replied, "We're already having a good night! I just broke up with this lovely and wonderful woman! Because I love her!" I tweaked his nose and chimed in with, "Now you don't have to pick up the tab anymore! Isn't this great?" The waitress grimaced uneasily. I handed her all our change. "Keep it! Go spend it on someone you love!" Matt punched me on the arm. "Don't you need the gas money, Jen?" I laughed and hokey pokeyed out the door.

When we got to my car, he grabbed me in a tight bear hug. I buried my face in his neck.
"The moon will be full tomorrow. It would've been three months."
He looked at his watch. "It's after midnight."
"Weird."
"Nah... Good things happen in threes. I'll miss you, though."
And I kissed him one last time. A guy across the parking lot hooted at us. Matt whipped around.
"This is our LAST KISS, buddy! Can you believe it?"
He tasted like root beer and friend.

I drove him home and we made plans to go buy him some new shoes tomorrow. He trusts my fashion sense, even if he doesn't understand my music. We talked about e2 and our previous breakups. We came to the conclusion that we are the smartest and most rational people in the world.
"Matt, can you imagine two best friends who are trading spit constantly, and then one day they decide to hate each other because they're not trading spit anymore?"
Right before we said goodbye, he looked me in the eye and said, "Promise me something."
"Of course."
"Node our breakup."

I love him.

This was the most convenient nodeshell ever made.

A terminal bells somewhere nearby,
And I'm drawn irresistibly to look.
These go off in my sleep now,
Sometimes even in my imagination while I'm awake.
If it was simply a matter of can't, it wouldn't matter.
I do not respect impossibility, I would find a way around.
But this isn't a matter of can't, it's a matter of mustn't.
It's like standing in front of a locked door with the key right there in your pocket.
She is there, and I am just two keystrokes away.
But I force myself not to look, it will only make things worse.
Every time I hear that bell, I hear her voice.
I'm cut off from the one I love.
The isolation is killing me.

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