The Day Off

I am not ready for Monday. I spent yesterday cleaning out my room, but it’s not completely done yet. I haven’t started the laundry, and it’s just sitting in baskets along the wall, taunting me. I’m at a Starbucks close by, drinking coffee until I feel I have enough energy to start, because generally, writing puts me in the mood to get shit handled. I’ve put away everything that’s been weighing me down, and I can move on. It’s definitely a win-win situation. I also don’t think I’m preaching today, but we’ll see. It’s Epiphany, which is a loaded Sunday for me that I would rather forget exists because I’m not at Bridgeport getting my star from SarahAnne, inside information that I absolutely will not give you because it’s far more worth it to show up and see what I mean, since some of you may read this before Bridgeport starts this morning. The only thing I *will* tell you is that one year, Dana and I had just been to the OB/GYN the week before, and my word was “expect.”

I miss Dana and our journey so much that sometimes I cannot breathe, and the best advice I’ve gotten so far since I sent her the e-mail asking if she wanted to get together and Counselor replied was, “you were trying to be a big person. Fuck them. Time to let her go.” Easier said than done as I see our baby in my dreams, wondering what he or she would have looked like if we’d managed to get past all of my abuse issues and how they changed me. It is so true that I am not the same person she fell in love with- not even close- and yet, I wanted her to be able to love that woman, too. It’s never going to happen, especially if Argo continues to be a part of my life, and she might. We’ll see. Nothing in life is certain, but our apologies to each other seem to have taken and I can only hope they will continue to bring us into a new light, one not tainted with anything, but light so bright that we’re blinded by it. Even if we never meet in person, I like being the person that e-mails to check in. We don’t live that far from each other, but as predicted, we don’t treat each other any differently. We’re still just those friends living in the sacrament of writing, and that is so okay with me. So. Okay. Writing to each other is a good thing, a way to establish new boundaries and to see what will take in the future and what will not.

All I can say is “God of the Universe, protect my precious Argo…” as I have said for many years now. That being said, a big part of my divorce from Dana is that she just would not make room for Argo and I to be friends on our own…. not that I didn’t deserve that level of scrutiny when I was in the middle of the mess, but at the same time, I kept saying that it would settle and it did…. However, what did not settle was Argo being my friend. There were things that Argo told me that she didn’t want shared with anyone, and when I broke that rule, there was hell to pay. I didn’t think there was anything she was telling me that couldn’t go to Dana as well, but I was so wrong it hurt. That being said, nothing that Argo wanted to share with me would have isolated me from Dana. It was that secrecy deserves honesty, but always respect. That’s a line from the Outlander series, just in case you’re wondering. In a way, sharing what Argo was telling me was disrespectful of our friendship, but I am a verbal processor, and in my need to talk about what was going on between Argo and me, I justified breaking our pact. And, to be honest, there was a point at which Argo told me that she was going to pull back on talking with me because she didn’t want to say anything that I couldn’t share with Dana, so some of the things I shared I thought fell under that agreement, and they didn’t. For that, I will always be sorry, because of course there are things that you share with friends that don’t automatically go to your partner. We weren’t sharing anything that couldn’t be compartmentalized into “Argo’s space” and “Dana’s space.”

If I was Dana, I would have been threatened, too, but surely there were things that she shared with friends that she wouldn’t have wanted to get back to me, either…. or secrets shared by her friends that they didn’t necessarily want passed on. It’s a two-way street. There are friends you have severally, and there are friends you have jointly, but that doesn’t mean there is threat involved. For instance, if Counselor was having a problem, I seriously doubt that she would have wanted Dana to discuss it with me, because Counselor’s secrecy deserved respect, as well.

When I crushed out on Argo, it was nothing more serious than the mark Diane left on me, and if you know Diane well, you know that I came by it honestly. I can think of several friendships over the years where Diane struggled with the same ideas I did, ideas passed on to the next generation without malice, just example. Being in therapy has totally changed the direction of how I feel about friendship, and what it is supposed to offer rather than the mistakes I’ve made with them. I am ready to be close to another woman in that women friendship we all hope for… sometimes with the same person for a lifetime, and sometimes different people at different times. For instance, I think Samantha and I will continue to grow together, because we live in the same house (sort of- I live in a multi-family home). Even though I make enough that I could have my own place if I wanted, I don’t. I enjoy that there are people around me that really care, that watch out for me, that listen when I am sad. I feel adopted, and that feeling isn’t going to go away easily.

I had that friendship with Dana, and that is what I miss the most. That I felt adopted into her family long before we became lovers instead of just friends. I had to take a long time to process that idea, because I didn’t know if my feelings were also a mark that Diane left on me, or what I felt for Dana was truly genuine. It took three and a half years to know the truth, that I loved her more than air. It eats away at me that I lost that love for good, but we have been so close over the years that I hope once Dana is done being angry, that this will not be the end of our movie. I have a lot to process before I’m ready for a friendship with her, too, because when we got married in 2008, my ovaries exploded and I wanted nothing more than for her to be my “baby daddy.” As it turns out, though, her sperm count is really, REALLY low.

I have to get rid of the feelings I have that we belong together, because while on a surface level, I have completely given up the idea that we’ll get back together, it hasn’t gone deep into my soul, the true knowing of it. Honestly, I believe that I am still in shock, even though we broke up almost a year ago now. Even that feels shocking, that it’s been almost a year since our ugly blowout and picking up our toys and going home. I’m not ready for a new relationship, and I won’t be for a long time, but I know for sure that my approach won’t be any different. I want to be friends for a long time before I decide whether I want to commit to someone. I want to know what contract I’m signing. And, God willing and the creek don’t rise, I want that person to give me my space with Argo, make room for her in their lives, because I don’t want her to go away just because I’m dating someone else that feels threatened by her presence in my life…. because there is no threat. Argo will be thrilled beyond belief when I find that person that truly ignites my soul, and I hope that person will know that they cannot be my entire world. I need my friends, both on the ground and in the cloud, so that if something happens and the relationship doesn’t work out, it doesn’t feel like my whole world has just crumbled into nothing.

I felt that way with Dana because I thought that we were interdependent, and after months to think about it, codependency reared its ugly head. My thought process changed the longer we were apart, because you can always recognize these things easier once you’re out of a relationship than you can when you’re in them. I realized how much we were responsible for bailing each other out of our problems, and how much we took on of each other’s lives until they weren’t separate anymore. We became DanaandLeslie rather than Dana and Leslie, if that makes any sense at all. People used to call us by the other’s name, and I used to joke that it was because we looked so much alike.

I want a relationship where my girlfriend/wife isn’t threatened by me saying I need my space. I’ll see you in a few hours without having to tell her where I’m going, because sometimes I don’t know. It doesn’t mean turning off my phone. I’m generally reachable. It’s just that sometimes I want to do specific things, and sometimes I just want to wander around DC with my camera and my notepad alone, without knowing where I’ll end up. I also want a girlfriend who isn’t threatened by me wanting my own bedroom, or even my own apartment, because I am solitary to a fault, and I want to invite her in, rather than so much togetherness that I give up my independence. It doesn’t mean that I don’t want to sleep together at any time, but it does mean that I want my own place to go when we fight, because fighting is just unavoidable. I also want my freedom in terms of making my own writing schedule, and not having to worry if I’m keeping her up with the click and clack of the keys.

In the words of an article I saw recently, I want to be single…. with you.

And on that note, it’s time to get back to work. There’s laundry to be done. Day off is now over.


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