It is truly a pitiful life I lead. Stringing myself up frailly between the minutes, the hours between the last time I heard him, saw him, touched him, and when the next time will come. I am a slave to my phone. I’ve always been abnormally attached, but the last couple weeks have been an excruciating game of waiting to hear from him. I think over the last days we spent together and I fight back the urge to cry.
This is how I am now. A raw, exposed wound re-injured at every turn at my own hand. Livid one moment, in tears the next. Convicted for a second, insecure at the next tick of the clock. This is what I’ve been reduced to.
I wanna hear your voice. Can I call you when I get outta the shower?
We talk for hours- at least seven- well into the beginnings of the next day. We have what might be our first argument, and I come to understand even better this creature I love so much. I understand his head, his heart.
And this is what makes this so much harder.
Maybe if I’d never stood in his shoes I couldn’t so understand the delicate tap dance. Maybe if I didn’t know what it was like to make a promise to someone that you love, that has given and sacrificed and bled for you, having no way of knowing that things would change and you would consider breaking your word. Maybe if I didn’t so reflect and revere the depth of his loyalty, this all would be easier.
I can’t call him a cheater.
This makes it harder.
It’s amazing how, if we close our eyes and wade out into the calm waters of the ocean, we are under water before we ever knew the bottom was too deep to tread.
I know my words are looping in circles, but this is how I live my life right now; wide, gaping roundabouts that all come back to the same inevitable conclusion. 360 degrees of confusion where there were once straight and clear lines, deliberate angles.
He’s changed me. Fundamentally, at my core. Knowing him, learning him, trusting him has changed me. I am not who I used to be. Therein, of course, lies the problem.
I am not the girl I used to be. I cannot bet my life surviving loving someone this way because losing is far too expensive. I cannot afford to pay. I am not the girl who once believed that conditions could be overcome, that things will work themselves out “if you set it free” and all that. I no longer have the luxury of being so passive.
I cannot call him a cheater.
That is what kills me.
I can’t be angry. He handled everything exactly as he should. If there were a rule book for situations such as these he would have violated no provision. He’s handled this all as well as anyone could have. For that I admire his strength, I respect his loyalty to his word and I’m even more in love with his character. The soul of this man has rendered me still.
I cannot move in anger. I cannot rage or cry or burn pictures because there is no reason to. In place of what might be a bitter victory is only a bittersweet epiphany. For the first time in my life I must learn to move in silence.
This is what I know.
I love him.
He loves me.
It is not enough.
So once I leave in the morning for work, that’s it… it’s over? Just…like…that.
We exchange things, the passage of tangible memories, solid evidence that, yes, we did in fact exist. I take with me his favorite shirt, a couple of things that are of him, remind me of him. I give him something precious to me, something I didn’t know I could ever bear to part with. When he asks me why, I tell him because I will need to get it back from him one day. We smile and kiss. He holds me in his arms and I think that we both know then that it will probably never happen. It is, at best, a long shot, a proverbial shot in the dark. I don’t want to hold my breath because I don’t want to suffocate.
The following morning, I watch him dress through slits in my eyes, pretending to be asleep, not wanting to disturb his routine, wanting to remember everything exactly as it was. I open my eyes to his kisses, over and over, hundreds of kisses on my lips, cheeks, forehead, shoulders. We go through our usual morning ritual and he stops short at the door. He turns and, without my contacts in, I barely make out him sticking his tongue out at me, a silly gesture we’ve done a million times to relieve the pressure of a moment too heavy. Monkey face. That’s what I call it. Because when he does it, he looks like a cute baby monkey. I don’t think he knows that.
“You have to do it back,” he instructs me and I do. He closes the bedroom door and after just a moments hesitation, I hear the front door close. In that moment I lie there perfectly still in his bed and wait for the tightness in my chest to subside.
I’m feeling the same things now because I know it’s time to close the door. Time to let this be goodbye, for real this time, before either of us ends up more hurt than we already are.
Knowing that it is probably best doesn’t make it easier of course.
I know I should say goodbye.
But I just can’t.
I do not want to be forgotten. That is what I fear. I do not want this whole affair to fade into the sunset of so many situations that didn’t work out the way your heart hoped it might. I want so badly not to be forgotten.
I know a time will come when I will wonder. Where I will see his face in those of men I pass on the street of the city we both love. My heart will double time until my mind convinces me that it’s not him. I know I will feel sad. I will feel sad for a long time. But that is one day.
For now, I want to be angry, to scream and cry and make a scene but the woman I have become won’t allow me to do that. Maybe I would if I was the girl I was, but that is not who I am anymore. I guess I owe him for that.
For now, I will not move in anger and only in minimal sadness because I’ve learned that doing what is right is not always the easiest. I release us and who we were back to the confines of my memory. I will no longer string myself up on the moments between our encounters because I am afraid if I do I will hang.
You don’t miss me now because this all too fresh, too easy to belittle as something you’ll look back on and it not seem as big a deal as it was at the time. But one day, when you realize what you’ve lost, you’ll miss me.
One day you will.