12/07/2012 10:20 am ET

My Superpower Is Being Alone Forever: Newly Single

Planning the end of a relationship is probably the closest many of us will ever get to knowing what it's like to plot a murder. Will they see it coming?, you wonder. Some of us are careless, impulsive relationship-murderers, and so the breakups happen spontaneously, the time and place as random as Clue cards. Others plan it all out, postponing, buying time until the perfect opportunity, thinking over the most humane method. Maybe you'll wait for the vernal equinox on account of your partner's Seasonal Affective Disorder. But then he or she might forever associate the sadness of the breakup with cherry blossoms and freshly graffiti'd "Nurse Jackie" posters, and who wants to do that to another person? The longer you wait, though, the more you have to pretend everything's fine, which is a fancy way of lying.

Oddly enough, the most honest moment in a relationship usually arrives once it's over. It's the "speak now or forever hold your peace" part of the wedding, only inverted. You tell the couple why they’re terrible for each other, and the couple is you. Suddenly, the preceding months or years have an air of unreality—like they never happened at all or turned out to be one long Christmas Ghost hallucination. When my last relationship ended, it didn't seem possible that, mere days before, I'd have probably dove into traffic to save a person I'd now dive headlong into a mound of summertime garbage just to avoid seeing at a crosswalk. Of course, being newly single sort of feels like diving into a pail of garbage all the time.

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