The author is smiling now, but the pizzas her boyfriend brought came with a big surprise. Photograph by Christopher Leaman.
It started off a normal day. My boyfriend e-mailed asking if I was free for dinner.
Things were going well in our five-month-old relationship—he called when he said he would, opened doors and pulled out chairs, brought flowers on my birthday. We’d gone to the opera that weekend. I was still adjusting to the fact that he wasn’t a figment of my romantic-comedy-obsessed imagination.
I of course said yes and adjusted my schedule, running home briefly to shave my legs. Seven hours later, I called him to let him know I was leaving work.
“Is it okay if I just bring pizza?” he asked.
After some back-and-forth about toppings, I finally got him to choose. When it comes to pizza, I’m not picky.
I was sitting in my apartment watching Access Hollywood, pleased that I’d finished all my work in time to relax with him.
When he arrived, he put the two pizza boxes on the coffee table. They were still steaming. Then he turned off the TV and said the four most feared words in any relationship: “We need to talk.”
Thinking maybe someone had died, I asked about his family and friends while encouraging him to sit down.
“Feel free to kick me out, hate me, or hit me,” he began. “I feel like we should end things.”
There it was.
“You’re the nicest person I’ve ever met. I can’t believe I’m doing this.”
My apartment is really starting to smell like sausage.
“Don’t ever forget that you’re beautiful.”
“I want to still be friends with you, so please, when you’re ready, I’d love that.”
Wait, one box has to be the meat one. Is the other one veggie? It smells vaguely of onions. Or maybe that’s green pepper?
“You’re going to have so many babies someday.”
Maybe if I blew my nose, because I’m crying so much, I’d be able to figure out the smell.
“A lucky man is going to sweep you off your feet before you know it.”
I wonder if he’ll take the pizza when he leaves.
We talked a little longer—me caught entirely off guard and not saying much. He finally got up to open one of the boxes and grab a slice. Aha! Pepperoni and sausage.
As he was eating, I asked why he’d brought the pizza.
“I thought you’d be hungry?” He looked sheepish. “Maybe I should’ve brought cupcakes?”
Yes, I am a girl getting dumped. Cupcakes would be the wiser choice, but that’s okay—you’re a guy. How would you know?
We hugged goodbye, promising to be friends eventually. After locking the door, I walked back to the coffee table and thought: What in the world am I going to do with all this pizza?
I narrowed my eyes at the boxes, then shoved them into the fridge and immediately started calling my best friends.
“You’ll never guess what he brought me,” I said tearfully. “Breakup pizza.”
It took me almost a week to finish it, but I ate every last bit.
This article appears in the January 2012 issue of The Washingtonian.