And in the end…

He tells you about the Japanese girl he fell in love with in his 20’s before he knew that love was precious. He left her in Tokyo because she didn’t take her job seriously enough. She needed to decide between banking or food blogging.

But he missed her and so went back to Tokyo for her. But she told him to go home. That she could never love him now.

And so he tells you he could never love now. You’re fine with that. As long as he gives you what you need…for the rest of your entire life, every day, every minute, or just crumbs metered out over long stretches of time. You know, just something casual.

You have a relationship. On and off. Or at least what eligible NYC men of a certain tax bracket call a relationship. He’s not one to text needlessly, so you don’t think about it when he goes dark.

Until you tell him you want dates to see him…the way you usually do. And he doesn’t respond. Which is not like him at all. So you text again.

He answers this time. He’s been busy. And in a relationship. That he’s in love. And the wind is taken out of your sails for a second. The thing he said would never happen and the thing you said would never bother you if it did.

You let him go, for your sake. You block his phone. You delete his pictures. But you can’t get rid of the thought of him. His name has resided on your tongue for two years, eager to slip out in any conversation. But he doesn’t belong to you and he never did. Which was actually the beauty of what you gave to one another. You gave him unwavering affection. And he gave you a second chance at life.

And then a couple of weeks pass and you click on an article in the New York Times about a Tokyo banker who moved to NYC and became a food writer and chef. And found love with a man who she’d loved once before, in her 20’s, who’d come begging for her after breaking her heart, but whom she’d sent away.

They ran into each other coming off the C train, on the way to apartments in buildings next to each other. They’d been living parallel lives for 1.5 years. Constantly near one another but never coming in contact. Until they did. And they just knew.

The story is so sweet you don’t begrudge the girl. And you’re happy for the guy. And you want to dance at their wedding. Because the love they have is real and someone, somewhere, should get to experience that at least once. Or, in their case, twice.

Their happy ending is your happy ending. Mazel, you say to yourself. He left you for something so wonderful you can’t help but feel touched. That is how sad stories should end.

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