A Heartbreaker and A Home Broker




(Illustration Mario Weddell/The Observer; Paul Schmid/Seattle Times/MCT)

It’s tough to dump someone. I’ve handed out my share of unhappy endings—I am a masseuse of misery. I’ve had tearful, sobbing breakups and screaming, hour-long ragers. I’ve done the measured-tones, apologetic breakup, and the silent, unofficial, time-has-passed-us-by breakup. I even had that embarrassing text message breakup years ago, when I received a message that read, “Are you going to dump me?” after she kissed someone else, and I learned that being honest and direct was the only way to make things final.

I texted her back, “Well, yeah.” Things weren’t going well anyway.

With years of experience on my résumé, I’ve realized breakups follow a pattern. My split this weekend was no different. Still, I was unprepared, because this time, I had to dump an apartment broker. And it wasn’t easy. Somehow, I figured a realtor would be better at coming to terms with reality, but the only thing real was his desperation to save our relationship: namely, his desire to have me (and my roommates) rent his apartment.

Our appointment was at noon, in Brooklyn. The roommates and I (who I will now just refer to as “I,” for clarity) stood outside the building for several minutes, waiting for the realtor (who I’ll now dub “Weepy”) to show us the four-bedroom apartment. But no one was there.

I called Weepy. No response—the first inklings of a shady lover, no longer gung-ho about maintaining constant communication. Okay. I would wait.

More minutes passed. I called twice more, and still he did not answer. I paced a bit, mentally. Had I been stood up? Maybe it was time to give up and leave.

It echoed those first weeks of doubt in a dying relationship. I knew I should end it, but the hope that things would get better kept me frozen. Finally, the harsh reality presented itself, in the form of a mustachioed tenant taking out the trash.

“Hey,” Mustachio said to us. “Are you looking at the upstairs apartment? Just so you know, the landlady is a crazy bitch. The worst landlady I’ve ever had. That’s why I’m leaving, and that’s why the first-floor tenant is leaving.”

That settled it. I had spent enough time waiting for Weepy to show me he cared, he was a bad communicator and my mother-in-law was going to make our marriage awful if we ever got to that point, anyway. I walked away.

Five minutes later, Weepy called me. He begged me to come back. I told him I had waited 20 minutes, and I had other appointments; there were bigger fish in the sea, I could do better. Sorry, thanks for your time, Weepy, and have a nice weekend. He understood, and wished me well.

A clean break. You finally catch your breath after you drop the bomb and think it’s over. But after the split, there are still the passive-aggressive arguments and the active-aggressive comments that keep it going—the radiation after the bomb.

Five minutes later, a text message from Weepy was buzzing on my phone.

“Mario Thanks for wasting my time I came all the way from queens to meet u and I was here at noon exactly there was no one outside so I went 2blocks away and u couldn’t wait??????!!!”

There it was—the desperation, the anger and the spiteful disbelief that I could be so cruel. How could I throw away everything we had together? Did our email thread mean nothing?

And, in typical heartbreaker fashion, I tried to keep things rational and mature. I had to keep emotions out of it, and I had to resist the urge to point out his hypocrisy (he expected me to wait 20 minutes, but couldn’t wait until 12:02 before wandering off). So I texted him back, to keep things cordial.

“Our intention wasn’t to waste your time. Sorry. I called 3 times to no response, and you could have called me. You got my number via email.”

So there it was. And I believed that would be the end. As one always believes, in naïve foolishness. But Weepy replied minutes later.

“I didn’t have it with me but I was talking with the tenant when you called U could leave me a message let me know that you’re leaving I was there at noon and u probably came few min after I was few blocks down Bedford,” explained Weepy.

It was the “you-led-me-on” response. I should have given him an indication that things were not working out. I should have told him how I felt at the beginning, so this would not feel so abrupt. How could he have known if there were no signs?

But of course there were signs. I had tried reaching out to him. When I tried to broach the topic, he was distant. He was unresponsive. So now, after trying too hard for too long, my decision was final. I had to be blunt with Weepy.

“Your lack of an apology affirms our decision to not do business with you. I don’t know what else to tell you other than this response was not appropriate. We felt we wasted our time too, and I already apologized to you. Why would you want tenants like us, anyway?”

It was a classic response, to tell Weepy that it never would have worked out, anyway. If he couldn’t handle a five-second breakup, how could he ever handle a lease-long commitment? And if I was such a terrible person, he should be glad we weren’t together.

Almost an hour later, Weepy pulled himself together long enough to send a short and sweet message.

“Well let me km now if u still want to see it It’s ok,” he replied. He was forgiving me. He was in denial. Maybe we could give it another shot, once I realized I needed him.

So, following the pattern of breakups, I didn’t respond. Maybe one day, time would heal our wounds, but not now; we were damaged goods. He had to move on, and I wasn’t helping by constantly responding. I cut him out.

And then, a day later, I met someone else.

He has an apartment in Harlem I’d like to rent.