Today, I came home from running some errands to discover Bobo the Stuffed Chimp like this:
The night before, I'd decided it was finally time to break the news to him that I'm engaged now. Actually, it happened a few months ago -- I just didn't want to make a big deal out of it, since Bobo and I have been together for so long. (Plus there's all that weirdness of a blog announcement, but after so long, it's weird if you don't mention it.)
At the time, I thought he took the news pretty well. He just sort of sat there quietly, as usual.
The tough part came when I explained to him that we wouldn't be able to sleep together any more. Suffice to say, he was dumbstruck. So I left him alone for a bit. I thought I should, you know. Give him some space to work through what he was feeling. After all, he and I date back to long before I met my fella. And even though I was always clear we wouldn't be together forever, I guess he just let himself get attached. (Chimps are always doing that!)
But when I found him like that, alone with a beer six times the size of his head, a little piece of my heart just sort of broke. The guy's followed me to three cities. He never said anything about expectations, but he was always there for me when I wanted a little body to hug and snuggle. He's not a bad stuffed chimp.
So I had a little talk with him.
"Look, Bobo," I said. "We can still see each other. It's just, there comes a time in a girl's life when she has to move on from these kinds of affairs where it's just about sleeping together."
That kind of left him speechless.
"It isn't that I don't care about you!" I added. "I do, and I always will. I'll always remember our times together... even though I was asleep for a lot of that... and I couldn't exactly introduce you to my friends or anything... But look, I really care about you, I do. We just don't have the kind of relationship that I'm looking for now. I'll always be so grateful for what you offered me, and for the way your widdle arms wrap about my neck in that adorable way. Just because I'm getting married doesn't change any of that. Okay?"
I think he looked at me with a change in his eyes.
"Come on, Bobo. Don't do this to yourself. Let's honor the times we've had together, and let's move on."
Still, there was silence.
"Look, I'll even clear a space on the closet shelf for you when I'm married," I told him. "It'll be yours. All yours, no strings attached. It's the least I can do for you, after everything we've been through.
"Even though you don't want to hear this now," I said, "I want you to know that you're not just any old stuffed chimp to me. You're my stuffed chimp. And no matter what happens, you always will be."
I think that made a difference.