The Physical Impossibility of Breaking Up in the Mind of Someone Still Dating

13 students this semester, pamphlets in hand.

Gathered on the colonnaded overlook by the massive General Grant National Memorial, the lector begins boldly:
“On a cold, overcast afternoon Andrew, Our Glorious Predecessor in the Faith, met the First at this spot in the last month of his Freshman Fall. The honeymoon season was over, the realities of their differences became clear. It was the beginning of Andrew’s path. The First Move – a short hug. The Last Words – ‘I’m sorry it didn’t work out, it was fun.’ The Last Move – a short hug. She left, he stayed.”
“Thus!” came the response.
“Andrew broke free of the temptation to abide in the superficialities of purely physical relationships.”
“May our spirits move with his!”
“Truly it was a glorious and well-founded freedom he found.”
“We believe it to be so!”

The group moves across campus to the Barnard gates, stopping just underneath the gothic metalwork. The lector, now a little uncomfortable:
“On another cold day, Andrew arrives early during the first week of his Junior year. He has chosen Barnard College as the location for the Second, assuming he could without regret avoid this campus for the rest of his life. Anxiety is the dominant emotion; the Event is unexpected – he knows not the justifications the Third will bring. The First Move – they sit side by side. The Last Words – ‘I wish you would have been a little angrier with me.’ The Last Move – a handshake. She left, he laughed.
“Thus!” the small crowd squeaked.
“Andrew broke free of the temptation to attach himself to things ever-changing!”
“May our spirits move with his!”
“Truly it was a glorious and well-founded freedom he found.”
“We believe it to be so!”

A short subway trip downtown (116th to 59th on the 1 train) is followed by a Eastward procession to the Trump Wollman rink in Central Park. The ride and walk are observed in strict silence. The lector leads the group to the park-integrated bridge which passes over the rink’s sitting area. The half-circle reformed. The homily comes before the final Lesson. The lector, face red:
“Thanks for coming this year everyone. History repeats itself in the cold weather. My reflections will be brief; who dares say they believe in unmarried friendship between man and w*man? Boyfriend and girlfriend know each other best, yet it is most often a sickening perversion when they remain friends after the Event. The Last Words, which should impart a finality and serve as a starting point for meditation, are trampled upon and disregarded. I implore you, my brethren, leave the dead to bury their own dead! Make your moves quickly, both at the beginning and at the end, avoiding immediately and with all zeal the accursed ‘friendzone.’ Said zone, now unfashionable to mention among the allegedly non-cringe, is indeed a true reality, and we would do well to remember the ease with which one falls into the hellish pits of cold mediocrity and eff*minacy. Our society justly admits to its membership only those seekers who have tried and failed with a w*man – the friendzoned perilously experience again the pre-Awakened state, and must repent to take up again the path towards the Final Truth.”

The lector, arriving now at his favorite bit, with real sadness:
“On a December evening, the coldest yet, after a wonderful time ice-skating, Andrew and the Third walk to this spot. The final semester upon them, the Third had decided. Andrew had found his vocation. The First Move – sh* takes his hand. The Last Words – ‘you really weren’t all that into it were you?’ The Last Move – a kiss. They left.
“Thus!” the men cried.
“Andrew was the first to discover the Final Truth, and Path leading towards it!”
“May our spirits move with his!”
“Truly it was a glorious and well-founded freedom he found!”
“We believe it to be so!”
“Now we shall remember the fallen brethren of Fall Semesters Past, most especially calling to mind our latest to suffer, Jonathan M., class of ‘23, who lost his g*rlfriend last month, after she joined Zeta.”
“2014 December – Alex R., lost his g*rlfriend of 12 months at the entrance to Grant Tomb, due to h*r impending semester abroad in Paris. ”
“2015 September – Tom P., lost his g*rlfriend of 13 months in Riverside Park, a result of his infidelity.”
“2015 December – John R., was categorically rejected by a crush of 24 months outside the 115th street Shake Shack.”
“2017 September – Jonathan C., lost his g*rlfriend of 4 months in Morningside Park, after asking to move the relationship to a ‘new level’”
“2018 November – Nicholas I., lost his g*rlfriend of 20 months due to his strict standards regarding dental hygiene”
“2019 October – Paul F., was forced to reject a crush of 15 months due to learning of certain past sexual improprieties”
“Go forth and carry these examples forever in your hearts, and may God have mercy on our souls”
“As always, our Easter synod next semester will consider additions or subtractions to next year’s walk, and I ask you all to bro-code this and avoid mentioning it to w*men/the uninitiated. Great to see you all – anyone who wants can join me and Jake for some halal after the ride back.”
The whole thing’s a bit overworked, but it’s college right? So whatever, thought the lector – it was a good semester, a good performance, a good time to reflect, a good time to have a little fun.