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Hit the road, Jack.

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This week, he took a knee and said goodbye.  It’s done.

It’s weird to say out loud, but I’ve just let go of the longest relationship I’ve ever been in… short of friends and family, anyway.  It was a roller coaster from the start: we crashed and burned pretty literally just one month after we met, and after a brief stay in the hospital (him, not me), we reunited and gave it another go.  Years later, he actually moved cross-country to be with me, even though we were both terrified he wasn’t going to last through the trip itself, much less adapt to our new life together.  In retrospect, he was pretty amazing: he defended my honor all the time and carted me everywhere I needed to go, day or night, but damn if he didn’t grumble about it.

Truth? He was hot when I first met him, but over the years he kind of let himself go.  I guess I was partly to blame.  But he stuck by my felicitous, mostly unappreciative side for more than a decade, and I suppose that’s worth a proper goodbye.

The real trouble started last summer.  I got home late one Friday afternoon from a particularly rough day at work and dragged myself around my apartment, slowly getting ready to go out for the evening.  The moment I planted myself in his lap to get the night started, I knew something was wrong.  He wouldn’t speak to me.  He just sat there in stony silence.  Fine, I huffed, and went to bed.  I nudged him straight into therapy the very next morning, and in the weeks that followed, I thought he was getting himself together.  But just before Valentine’s Day (of course), the same thing happened.  This time, I knew he’d already uttered his last words to me, and if I remember correctly, they were lyrics to a song by Spoon.  Douche.

He was through, and so was I.  A hundred and sixty thousand miles of history, gone in one last sputter.

I can’t say I hold any ill will, nor am I even remotely surprised that he’s gone.  If we’re being honest, I would’ve given up on me, too.  I was reckless.  I jerked him around when no one was looking, and I cursed at him in a way that would surprise most people who think they know me.  I let others treat him poorly, too; the day we brought my new pup home from the shelter an hour from where we lived, little Bogey hurled all over him.  And my God, that same year, I let vandals pummel him and steal my laptop right out of his grasp, leaving him shattered and shaking on the side of the road, and then I made him drive me home — six hours — before I took him somewhere to patch his wounds.

And still, he stuck by me.

What an idiot.

No, he wasn’t.  He wasn’t an idiot.  He was valiant and brave.  He worked hard for his nickname, even though it was kind of given to him as an insult.  But he fought for it.  He lobbied.  I ran him into poles and curbs.  I made him do sprints up and down seven spiral stories, multiple times a day, for the couple of years I thought it’d be cute to live in a high-rise with assigned parking.  And he took it.  I let him get hailed on and sunburned and dirty and scratched.  I saddled him with tons of crap, and he dutifully hauled it around for me for months on end.  I’m pretty sure people would take one look at us together and assume we were insane.  I neglected him, and still he took care of me.  I’ll bet he got awfully tired.

Hey Hellica, you were good to me through thick and thin.  I know I complained — you didn’t deserve it.  Sleep, though?  That, you’ve earned.  So go get yourself some, and don’t worry about me any more.

Sweet dreams, buddy… and thanks for the memories.  Where you’re going, there’s nothing but open road, and you can listen to your music all you want. Just promise you’ll put on the Caddyshack song every once in a while, think of me and smile.

love,

a.