I fancy myself something of an emotional gravedigger for my past relationships.
I am appropriately reverent of the life that used to be, preparing to return it to dust. I grieve respectfully and I am fairly faithful to the ceremonies of death. Admittedly, sometimes I get caught up in the ceremony for far longer than I should, but for the most part, once I put them in the ground, I am done. Like any good caretaker, I stroll the grounds every once in awhile to make sure that no lingering issues have arisen from the dirt, that no bodies have made their way to the surface to haunt my waking life. But for the most part, I throw in the last shovelful of dirt, close the gate to the relationship cemetery and go on about life.
But death is funny that way. It so seldom is about the ritual as much as it is about the after. And bodies not properly buried resurface at the most unexpected times in the most unexpected ways.
Like, on the Twitter, for instance.
Imagine my surprise, expert gravedigger that I am, when without warning my best friend texts me to let me know, “You know your fuck ass ex is on twitter, right?”
Me being pretty, but not so smart at the relationships, I recognize that, well; this could be any number of fuck ass exes that I’ve left in my wake. I assumed it was my first love, who we shared much of childhood with and now a mild hatred of.
“No, La. The Great Houdini.”
Once, when I was in college, I got utterly drunk in the boy’s dorm across campus during a blizzard. Having not appropriately planned neither my Hypnotiq and Cuervo intake nor the choice to wear high heeled boots, while on my way to my dorm all the way across campus, I fell face first into a small mountain of snow on The Yard. I don’t remember falling or how I fell. I just remember the sensation of the ground giving way beneath me, my stomach hurtling to my ankles, and my face suddenly being cold.
Finding out the love of your life who unceremoniously abandoned you and disappeared feels a lot like that.
“Well,” I say with more venom that I probably should have, “he could have at least had the decency to be dead like I assumed he was.”
I don’t mean that, of course. There might have been a time when I was so heartbroken, so enormously devastated that I could make myself believe I meant that. But now, this side of mostly better and many years removed from that emotional murder, I can admit to myself (silently and only in my head) that I have always at least hoped he was well.
And maybe that is what I am feeling in that moment; a bit of bittersweet resentment at the fact that despite it all, I wanted him to at least be well, if certainly not whole.
I loved him that much.
I am also that incredibly nosy, so immediately I find the offending tweet in her timeline (a RT of a college friend she knows through me) and unabashedly (hide in the bathroom while I) go through his entire timeline. Being at least a little less crazy than I was in my younger years, I don’t bother reading into any of the cryptic ass subtweets that don’t seem to make sense. Because I am wise enough to know I probably don’t want to know. But he is alive and ok in at least some semblance of the word, and that is enough.
Until of course, after making my timeline private, I get a follow request from him late one Friday night. I jump straight up off my couch, like the post-Sex and the City cliché that I am, mildly panicked. “Omg! He’s online! Can he see me?!”
After a somewhat neurotic text to my QQ (who, channeling me, was ever so levelheaded), I accept. Because I realize, I can either be the girl who is terrified of letting her ex read her random 140 characters of fuckery, or I can embrace the fact that it really doesn’t matter all that much.
I choose the latter.
And, like any great illusionist, he reappeared as though nothing had happened.
Sending me lighthearted ribbing about football (he is a diehard Dolphins fan. I should have recognized then that his decision making was flawed). Responding to my frustrated tweets about the state of sideline hoes today. Calling me ridiculous for requesting a twitter boyfriend to come put lotion on my back.
Leading up to, of course, a DM with his B.lackberry pin.
I would be lying if I said it didn’t feel both uncomfortable and comforted; that him addressing me with the nickname he gave me made me smile sadly for a second, before really feeling the full weight of this intrusion on my life.
It was easier when he was just buried.
But, like the masochist I am, I added his pin, my heart thumping a like an HBCU drumline the entire time. It’s funny; even after all the time and pain that had passed, I could still hear his voice in my head saying the words he was typing on the screen.
That, my dear readers, is some emotional bullshit.
To his credit, he didn’t try to pretend nothing transpired between us, that we were
just old college friends who drifted apart and who were now getting back in touch via a little blue bird and a fail whale. Which, if I am honest, took a lot of the wind out of my sails. I had been all ready to be defensive and angry, but I hadn’t prepared myself to deal with his contrition.
Over the course of a week, we talked, sometimes about nothing, sometimes about our own relationship implosion, with me (mostly) keeping that tiny bit of resentment I admittedly still hold on to when it comes to him in check. As I asked all the questions I always wanted answers, got sometimes even the answers I didn’t want to hear, it occurred to me that everyone was right all those moons ago when I was caught up in the anger and the sadness and the grieving of burying us; the answers didn’t matter as much mattering enough to have a person stand before you and validate your need to know them.
How very self help book of me.
Around the 3rd day, our conversations growing easier, less strained and finally getting to the crux of what had happened to us, he finally admitted what he had been thinking that when he snuck out of my life while I was sleeping. And finally I was able to say the one thing I had always wanted to say, that I recognized made me maybe a bit weak and vulnerable but was the truth nonetheless;
I never would have left you.
And I wouldn’t have. Not for anything. That was the truth.
There was a weight lifted from my heart then, something I had been shouldering with no place to set down for three years. After that, I no longer felt heavy or angry or even anxious about his rising from the dead.
And God, how I had been craving that feeling.