In the Corner of My Mind

The question I get asked the most from readers is why do you write about Argo more than Dana? Your relationship was so much longer. To me, that question answers itself, but I will speak to it. The reason I write about Argo more than Dana is because our relationship was so much longer. Argo is under my skin, so close I can touch it. Dana is a river of emotion that reaches down into the depths of my soul and heart. The river is so mighty I haven’t gotten there yet. It’s going to take a long time for emotion to bubble up, and I’m starting to feel it, but it’s not there yet. I need time to process what happened with Dana internally before the writing begins, because right now, it is something that washes over me, every day, in pictures but not in words. I cannot describe them yet. My emotions are too deep, too entrenched for me to add words.

In a sense, being friends with Argo provided the catalyst I needed to leave Dana, because our relationship as a married couple was in so much trouble that I could see the writing on the wall. However, those feelings are in retrospect, something that I felt but could not put my finger on it. Hindsight is 20/20, and I am starting to see what a mess I made on the way out with both of them. I could have had them both as friends and companions for a lifetime, but my illness took hold of me and I said relationship-ending things that I couldn’t control with my loggorhea, a litany of hurt for both of them as I struggled with indoor voice and outdoor voice.

Loving Argo in my need was not a sin. Being in love with her crossed the line. I pushed her buttons in an extraordinary way, and it is something that I will regret for the rest of my life. She has the type brain that you only meet once in a lifetime, if ever, and the urge to get inside it was strong… never for malice, just for curiosity. I wanted to know how it worked, and she let me in. She now says she wished the relationship never happened. In my worst moments, I think that, too, because the pain is so great. In my best moments, I think to myself that walking in her inner world for a little bit was better than never having done it at all….. and I smile.

This is because I know for sure that she was fascinated by my mind as well… and who doesn’t like people who think that about you? As I told her, I mourn for all the lost conversations, all the lost stories, all the lost cheeseburgers, and all the lost Netflix. I knew I had the capability to accept boundaries, I just hadn’t gotten there yet, and, my apologies to Matt Damon, we’ve run out of time. However, because the intellectual pull was so strong, Dana just got this sense that Argo would eventually bend to my will. It was crazymaking. I knew the boundaries of my relationship with Argo, that having in love feelings was my shit to own and get rid of. Dana took it to a whole other level when we fought, saying that she worried that Argo was in love with my brain as well… that it transcended sexuality and gender.

As it turns out, not so much.

We both wanted to shake Dana until she remembered what was real. However, the shit I had to own provided Dana with a spectrum of emotional bombs that she created out of nothing, because they weren’t based on my process. They were based on Argo being a threat to her. In hindsight, I think she created those bombs because she was ready to part as well, but she didn’t know how to say it, so it was easier for her to latch on to the idea that she couldn’t compete with Argo.

But Argo was never in the game to begin with.

It also made Argo incredibly angry that Dana said things to me that should have gone to Argo directly, and I told her as much. Then, when Dana didn’t say anything, I went to Argo and said that Dana was too polite and Southern to bring up things on her own, so would you please check with her? I was trying to be a good wife. I really was. I thought that opening the dialogue between them was a good thing. However, it blew up in my face mightily when Argo checked with Dana and she said she was fine. Argo didn’t realize how loaded that fine was. She accused me of using Dana to manipulate her instead. I can see why she would think that- who wouldn’t? The problem is that I wasn’t. I was really trying to be open and honest and it came across as malicious.

I was mad that, in a sense, I felt betrayed. When Dana wouldn’t open up, it caused Argo to feel negatively toward me. I shouldn’t have ever said anything, because it was triangulation at its finest. I just couldn’t think of what else to do. I wanted Argo to give Dana the complete picture of our relationship, that she was a loving and open heart for me…. everything that was pure and right and good. I was the one who was struggling, not her. The mark that Diane left on me is that deep friendship and sex are the same thing. I don’t think it was entirely her fault. She is responsible for the choices she made, but I cannot imagine what was done to her to make her capable of doing so. I had to untangle my feelings about Argo one step at a time, and knowing that she wasn’t struggling with those feelings as well made me know for sure it was my knot, with frayed edges (I’m a frayed knot!). What should have happened was therapy, butt quick. What did happen was me thinking I was capable of doing it all on my own, because when you have depression and anxiety, the thought of going to a therapist is scary, especially when you’ve been to two really bad ones. You also have a startlingly poor ability to ask for help.

Now that it’s been long enough for me to have clarity, the in love feelings for Argo are a distant memory, but as I’ve said before, my writing life lags behind my real life as I get clarity on the past. You’ll hear what I’m thinking now quite a bit later. Now, I just want my sweet Argo back, the one that made me think of Lindsay at three years old, singing Somewhere Out There at a talent show on our summer cruise. Thinking of Argo and I sleeping under the same pale moonlight was comforting as we reached out with our words. Distance meant nothing in terms of emotion. It still doesn’t. I am closer physically, but the medium of connection hasn’t changed, and probably won’t. I have done enough.

It doesn’t stop me from praying for her, though. Every night, I ended our letters with the same prayer:

God of the Universe, protect my precious Argo……………. #prayingonthespaces

And by the way, I got the long ellipses from her, because every time she did it, I told her that it made her writing voice sound like Shatner.

I………….. was……… pleased.


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