Because as of Friday night, I won't.
I learned that I have a way of dealing with intense emotion that caught me completely off guard. A knowledge that grew into a full-blown understanding the very next day.
At a point in the conversation, I pointed at the door, saying that I knew that no matter what I said, we were over as soon as I passed through the door. And the conversation went on. About twenty minutes later, I was saying something (I don't remember what), and I looked at the door. The little part of my brain that processes emotion went to work, bringing in another part of my brain, the part that makes shit up, and tells me to put it on a page.
I averted my eyes, and started to cry for the first, but nowhere near the last time that night.
She laughed when I asked her if it feels the door was staring at me. I asked her because those two parts of my brain were working in concert, describing the world around me as I would describe it to a reader. The door stared at me, checking its watch every few seconds, as if it had somewhere to be . It comes across lame and flat now, but at the time it was a powerful mental image. It continued by building an elaborate metaphor with the situation and death, and culminating with the image of someone - not an old person on their deathbed, ready for Whatever Comes After, but a young person in the peak of health - sitting on a couch when their eyes glaze over. Their world became the door (still as a metaphor for death (you know, like the death tarot card, meaning a great change)), and the single spoken line, "It's dark on the other side." I broke down, hard, and all sorts of things started leaking. It was bad. Still is bad.
The scene played out in my head, and I realized that what I was living was actually happening. I was losing the woman I'd known for ten years, that I'd loved for eight. The woman I planned to spend the rest of my life with, help raise her kids, celebrate her successes, and mourn her failures. I realized that she wouldn't be with me when I started seeking publication for my book, she wouldn't be with me when I opened my first rejection letter, or my fiftieth. She wouldn't be camping with me in line outside of the bookstore on the day my book would come out. We wouldn't share cups of coffee together, or snuggle in bed chatting and exchanging kisses. I wouldn't come home to her, or her to me, after a long day at work. Once I realized that it was all real, my future crumbled, and I cried. I walked through the door, and we were over.
I have said for years that if I had the chance I would marry her tomorrow, and I still mean that. But for now, she and I have different roads to walk.