Whoever said breaking up is hard to do was full of shit. Wait, I just Googled it…Neil Sedaka. Neil Sedaka was full of shit. Breaking up is actually quite easy. There’s no shortage of obstacles that can sink a relationship, whether it be personal, sexual, financial or otherwise. But for me and my fiancée, we almost broke up over pancakes. When I say we almost broke up over pancakes, I don’t mean that in the same way as someone might say, “we broke up over coffee.” It wasn’t like we were somewhere having pancakes and an argument erupted. No. The pancakes themselves were the fucking argument.
This all played out early last year, in 2013. Though we were living together, we weren’t yet engaged to be married. So basically, the only thing keeping us together during rough patches was our inability to afford a mover. It was a Saturday morning. I woke up like I always do — hungry. She woke up like she does three times out of every 30 days — PMSing. For those of you who think PMS is just an urban legend or a sitcom plot point, I’ve got news for you. Like dry land in Waterworld, PMS is not a myth…I’ve seen it. It’s a real physiological phenomenon, with real world effects. She told me that if we were going to have breakfast, we needed to have pancakes and nothing else. So far, so good. I have sex dreams about pancakes. But when I suggested that we go to our favorite diner, she declined. She was on a diet, and the pancakes at the diner would make her fat. What we needed to do was go to the grocery store, buy whole wheat pancake mix and sugar-free syrup, and make pancakes ourselves. This sounded disgusting to me, but I’d learned that in situations such as these, like a Hollywood producer to a Tyler Perry Madea script, I should blindly say “yes.” So, we threw on clothes and we headed to the store.
What my fiancée failed to consider is the fact that we live in Spanish Harlem. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed in between bites of refried beans and guacamole, but Spanish and Mexican cuisine is not exactly the healthiest. (And that’s the way it should be. Never change, amigos.) Naturally, we arrived to find that our neighborhood grocery did not carry low-fat, low-sugar foods of any kind. What happened next was something for which I could never have prepared. My soon-to-be fiancée started yelling and crying at the same time. I’d never seen anything like it. It was like thunder snow — two seemingly unrelated forces of nature coming together to form one perplexing, ominous shit storm. The words coming out of her mouth were endless and circular, like that drawing of all those staircases by that famous artist I don’t know. “I want pancakes but the regular mix is going to make me fat and I’m trying to stay on this diet and I’m trying to be healthy but I can’t even do that and there’s no whole wheat mix and this is bullshit and I’m trying the best I can…” I tried to console her, but my efforts were futile. She was like fucking quicksand — the more I pushed back, the deeper she pulled us into this ludicrous argument. All I wanted to do was leave her there in the store, to run away and just start a new life somewhere. All I could do was stand there as people began to stare.
Whenever there’s a guy standing next to a crying woman, people start looking for bruises. I had to try and calm her down before the staff started considering calling the police. The only way I was going to be able to combat her crazy was by doing something even crazier — like when firefighters start another brush fire in order to suffocate a brush fire. So, I put my hands on her shoulders, drew her in close and said something I still can’t believe I said: “You are the strongest person I know.” My uncle was battling Parkinson’s Disease, and there I was telling my fiancée — who was crying because the grocery store didn’t have the specific kind of pancake mix she wanted — that she was the strongest person I know. It was just crazy enough to work, and it did. She stopped, and I hugged her and looked into her eyes. I could tell she was really hurting, and I actually teared up a little myself. Sticking to a diet is tough, and I’m sure it’s next to impossible when your ovaries are melting (or whatever really happens when you women are about to have your periods). When I had braces as a kid, I couldn’t really eat hard shell tacos, so I could kind of relate to her. After I dried her tears, I convinced her that one day of cheating on her diet wasn’t going to break her. We hugged, we bought the regular pancake mix and the regular maple syrup, and we made our way home.
And that’s what true love is. Just two crazy people yelling and crying in the pancake aisle.
Featured image courtesy of thecynicalchef.wordpress.com