She is gone.
If it seems like I’m breaking apart for no reason, I’m a part of her brain and she’s a part of my soul and we’ve been wrapped tight for almost ten years. Being connected is as autonomic a reflex as I’ve got in this world. The hardest part of this whole thing is that we were going to have an occasion on our hands pretty soon and I didn’t want to make it. I was wrecked inside because I tried so hard every single day after I broke trust and she hardly ever talked to me in my own love language so that when she said she was impressed, I could hear it. When she said she trusted me, it was real.
I was all Maury Povitch on that shit. I have spent countless hours with my thoughts and they have all given indications “that was a lie.” The worst part is that I couldn’t tell her how I felt in a way she could hear me and vice versa, because I really couldn’t tell that she couldn’t tell that I wasn’t guilting her. I was raking myself over the coals and she was listening to it. I was prostrate with grief and shame. Sounds came out of me that were wounded animal for days. I may never get over it, and she did nothing. I helped myself to this train wreck and smiled through the devastation because I knew that I could blame her for absolutely nothing. That I was going to fall on my sword for all eternity because I couldn’t look myself in the mirror for years. She was the one who put light in my eyes after a long day’s journey into night…. And take that for every turn of phrase you want.
I also don’t think she ever took in all the ways I just wanted to be in her sunshine. I created a tape in her that said I only wanted her body and she’s dealt with that shit her whole life. I’m certain that I made a mistake where hearing “I’ll take on everything” didn’t mean anything. You’d just have to know how big everything is, equivalent to a month of mea culpa that didn’t have to happen. I could have stayed silent and not acknowledged guilt, shame, and remorse. I suppose I wanted everyone else to see it when she couldn’t.
Because this is all my own doing, I’m not mourning her nearly as much as I’m feeling terrible about the way I acted and not being able to communicate where she was open to listening and hearing. In my opinion, when we were e-mailing, she frequently responded so quickly that I knew it was going to be a reaction and not a response. When I called her on it, another huge fight when I even said I wasn’t basing my words on anything but timestamps. The reason I think that is her responses didn’t change to empathy very often. So much more you’re just trying to provoke me. Seriously? Get bent. If you really think that, it’s why I’ll leave you behind. As if I don’t have just as much going on that would prevent me from having the time or need to goad you into anything. I am 45 years old. Just because she’s chronologically older doesn’t mean shit, I assure you.
We’re both children when we fight (when we both tap into our inner eight year olds, that’s the moment when all the color drains from our fire and God help both of us because we have no problem absolutely destroying each other and we’re way too fucking good at it. There’s also no way in hell it would have turned into this if she’d ever bothered to get off her keyboard warrior high horse or ask me to get off mine when it was my turn to be champion at “Let’s Be an Asshole,” and ironically the score is love when we’re the most furious.
We would have been different friends altogether had we ever hugged and I can point to the exact moment we chose the wrong fork in the road. It was agreeing to Skype and then not making it happen. Not normalizing everything killed us, and it was all my fault. The phone, even on VoIP, goes both ways. It was a series of unfortunate events for me that started right there, because I know me. We’ve met.
Every single thing in our lives felt bigger because there were only operatic swells of emotion on the page… the emotional equivalent of freebasing cocaine, not the measured conversation of two people who love each other and want to solve all our shit together. I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that I am just as loved as she is because it would be impossible for it not to be true. My signature is sewn into her heart and it has been for too long for it not to count.
I remember from one of our first conversations telling work to shove it and drinking wine together in the sunshine, a daydream to put myelin back on each other’s nerves. I had just sent her a copy of a piece I was working on for church, and I am so much more impressive to people who have no natural ability for music than I am to people who actually know what they’re doing, just mutual admiration because her comfort was thinking about getting away from her actual life for a hot second and mine was thinking she was the sun in the whole equation. I’ve always thought that, and I have told her on multiple occasions. I hope someday she’ll believe it.
What is also just as true is I’m telling you it hurts because I would hope you love me enough to stop. If you are trying to tell me the same thing after years of me being butt hurt that I’ve been talking and nothing has ever changed? Get out of here with your bullshit. You may have time commitments, but I will be patient for years on end…. Not even a pediconference to make sure we were on the same page. She doesn’t owe me anything, but if I tell someone day after day after day that they are safe and loved and they still hold me at arm’s length? How long do I have to hold onto a relationship that isn’t really there? It’s not on her to get to decide how I spend my energy, either. I’m not going to keep my calendar dates open for Godot over there… and still, she’s the only one that can light me up from the inside at Such Great Heights while The District Sleeps Alone Tonight, waiting for The Postal Service.
Which is why I’m willing to say this relationship is dead in the first place, and why my faith tells me that it will actually never be over because resurrection happens in the middle of the mess. If it seems like I can tie this relationship to Easter really easily, it’s because we’ve blown each other to bits this time of year more than we haven’t. I think it’s body memory. So much happened in March and April of several years running, and now that pain is intrinsic. We feel it underneath and react, again, like butt hurt little girls. It will never be any different because she’s the person in my life outside my biological family where it’s easy to regress. She’s got my hot buttons on speed dial. It would change if it could, but I don’t think it will. If she accuses me of trying to get her attention, I’ll get offended and say so.
Pain ensues, usually with her anger and me taking it lying down because I have to. I feel like I owe it to her to make up for past mistakes. I’m Roy Kent asking Ted Lasso to scream at me in every fight, but she won’t fight about that. She’ll fight about everything else under the sun, just not that. Is it any wonder that her big line about me is that I can’t be counted on for anything but constantly saying we’re done and not done when I am waffling between feeling worthless and standing up for myself every single day, without fail, for seven years? I just got to a place where not wanting to feel that miserable every day sounded better than continuing my campaign for self harm.
God, so much goes into love that attraction is the least of my worries. It was never about that, and I fucked myself in every sense of the phrase. I just wanted to be hers, in whatever way that meant, and now I am, or I hope so. I hope that my words run through her mind when she needs them the most, like asking God to live in the parts of her that tell her she is right and good, and when she’s telling herself that she’s not, to yell at her… a lot. She’s an atheist. That doesn’t mean my prayers don’t matter. She has always called me her pinch hitter, and sports mean so much more to her than they do to me. It’s a compliment I take very, very seriously.
If I need something, and you’re not even hearing me and just assuming that I’m trying to hurt you, we’re done. This one is just a hundred times worse because my term of endearment for her came from Sesame Street and hers for me was a goddess once upon a time, but it sure as hell wasn’t later on. There was never a different one, just constantly telling me through thought, word, and deed that judgmental dickhead was all I’d ever get. That I sat in judgment of everything instead of pleading for relief. There is nothing in this universe that is less true than me wanting to hurt anyone, least of all the one I love the most. I am working through my trauma reflexes, picking them apart one by one, trying to turn them off so that I am even less capable of being rattled so that when her tail goes off I can get out of the way before she strikes. I have managed it to do it before, and I was looking forward to more of the same… but she caught me on a very bad day and I exploded. I didn’t even give her time to blink when I told her to take a right, and I am still shaking with such anger that I can’t tell from one day to the next what my end goal is here. I really don’t have one. My get up and go got up and left. It’s ok. She’ll never know what she lost because she refused to believe it existed, because how could it? I fucked her up, and there’s no way she would attribute that to my own trauma reflexes and not actual ire… even though that’s been my excuse for why it’s okay for her to hurt me, because of course she has the right to be furious. I just felt like time was up, and I’d suffered enough. She accused me of constantly creating the narrative that I’m a victim. If she’d ever bothered to look for it, there would be this amount of mea culpa a thousand times over. But if the story you’re telling yourself is that I live to be a victim, it ceases to be my problem what you think of me…. Especially when I send multiple page essays on why I think you are so much more deserving of love than I am in objective, not subjective manners… and have for almost ten years, seven of which I knew you wouldn’t grasp my meaning because you weren’t looking for it. You wanted someone to tell you that you didn’t deserve love, so that’s what you heard no matter how much I talked.
It became a time warp. Assuming that I deserved all the punishment I gave myself made it where I didn’t notice that I’d been doing it for seven years. I apologized without ceasing, through every fight, and after a while, I was the only one that ever did… another severe crack in our foundation.
But what a beautiful foundation. It even came with mascara and a tote bag.
And that’s why I was crying as I explained to the bees that La Dame Blanche had gone back to Paris, but they still have all of me. My light isn’t as bright yet. They still have time to watch my hair turn white in the sunshine, long after the storm has faded.
I won’t remember her as anything but my muse, and I just have to hope to God that she remembers who she is. If she does, I’ll be thankful. If she doesn’t, I will still be thankful because the relationship was too turbulent to continue unchecked. I can’t focus on processing a thunderstorm without looking at the strength of my boat….
Another Lenten/Easter reference because if you look at Lake Kinnaret, you can tell that the Sea of Galilee was no great feat to cross. The amount of danger wasn’t equal to the strength of the storm, but the worthiness of the craft. I can only control one of those things.
It’s what the bees have told me, anyway.
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