When I was fifteen, I broke up with my very first boyfriend. It had been a solid one month romance. He introduced me to ska music through his creative mix CDs. One time, in the back of our friend’s mom’s mini-van, we brushed hands. When I broke up with him over the phone after we attended Winter Formal, I wasn’t expecting his [very dramatic ] reaction. I can still hear the ringing dial tone in my ear, and later, his sobbing tears. Yeah, yeah…I’m a heart breaker. Whatever.
I’m facing another breakup. This time, it’s not romantic. This time, I’m breaking up with my Pakistani friends and they have no idea. Just like my frosh sweetie, it’s going to come right out of left field. They think everything is going so well. I show up on Tuesday nights and yawn only when they’re focused on their workbook. I psych myself up before hand, pray hard on the drive over, and smile wide most of the two hours. But underneath, I’m worn out. My introvert self has a hard time rushing home at 6:25pm, shoveling food down my throat, and gearing up for two intensive hours. My job is keeping me busier than it ever has before. The high schoolers are requiring more than just Wednesday nights. Something has got to go.
But I feel so guilty.
We’ve come along way, us three. Sajida passed her citizenship test, and on Saturday she leaves for Pakistan for an arranged marriage. She appears like a shy seventh grader would before her first dance. A little bit excited, but mostly very, very nervous. Which is why when I tried to break up with her and Khalida tonight, I just couldn’t do it. I tried to tell them that next Tuesday night would be my last. I tried to tell them that it’s been an amazing journey for me. I tried to say that maybe a new tutor will come, if the literacy office can find someone. I tried to apologize. I tried to tell them that it’s not them, it’s me.
But, I don’t think they’ll understand. Just like Nate didn’t at the time. And, he spoke English!
Since I couldn’t make the break right there in the living room, with kids dancing around my feet, and promises of gold bangles from Pakistan– I will resort again to an awkward phone call this week to “the husband.” It’s the easy way out. It’s the notbrave,totallynervous,feelingsoguilty way out.
What do I do to make it right? (really…I want your thoughts!)