I fell asleep sobbing last night, Friday, too.
I’m crying now.
I drank a bottle of sunshine last night, a cheap Chardonnay with a twist off cap. It prickled on my tongue as I nursed it over the course of 7 hours and it wrapped its languid arms around my shredded heart and whispered in my ear to just do it. No surprise that I am regretting all of it because the first thing I thought of when I awoke was The Neighbor. And then I cried with the rain in the early grey morning.
Late last night while lying in bed I discovered a photo of us together.
It was May 31st, a bright summer morning. The image is of me on my back in a white tank and The Neighbor is pressed against me, shirtless, his mouth is in a slight curve against my arm. His face is relaxed, serene, eyes are closed. His beard is red, he still has his hair. The arm his lips are kissing is holding the phone up and I am smiling softly, lips together.
I texted it to him and said, “Stumbled upon this just now. Kinda breaks my heart.”
As I looked at this image of two people in love the tears burst from me. I set the phone down on the covers and curled up and wailed. The dog and cat shook with me as my cries tumbled out. It was several minutes before I noticed he’d responded with a sad face. The long, lonely night behind me was like gasoline on the fire of my sadness. The other men aren’t going to help me feel better like I hoped.
He came over on Friday as planned. We spoke for some time before we watched our show. It’s not getting any easier to see each other — we are clearly both in a lot of pain — but I wanted to see him, to drink him in. I had a glass of red wine waiting for him and the vacuum cleaner to do his promised cleaning, but our talk ate up the energy to make that happen. He only sipped the wine and promised to vacuum on Monday when he comes to read to Peyton.
We talked more about how we were doing and I shared with him more of my thoughts, how it’s a struggle because I still want him. He asked me if I felt he didn’t want me and seemed hurt that I would. I pointed out that he’d broken up with me, but I guess it isn’t that black and white for him, either. He does still want me, there is just a larger governing force within him that thinks I’m not the right one.
He said he wants to be single for a very long time. It hurt to hear, obviously, but I can accept that. I can even accept that he believes I’m not the right woman for him. What is excruciatingly difficult for me is convincing myself that he is not the right man for me, because it never felt that way and it still doesn’t.
It was the best relationship I’ve ever had. The sex, the companionship, the trust. He made me feel special, even if I didn’t feel like a priority, but I know why now.
I don’t have a list of things he did that I can rely on to spurn my anger into resolution; I don’t have a laundry list of wrongdoing to ignite my fury. Every single thing he did that hurt me was at its core due to the one reason he left me: he didn’t want to be with me.
His occasional, odd shadiness, his unwillingness to commit, his aversion to blending our lives, his emotional distance, our dwindling sex life. All of it was caused by the conflict within him of loving me, but not believing I’m the one for him. Which in its own fucked up way makes this feel even more insurmountable because it was only one thing. It just happened to be a doozy. One ring to rule them all.
And I can’t be mad at him for that. It’s not me.
While I was riding the crest of that sweet, warm buzz last night I made a date with a tall, handsome eHarmony man. I gave my number to hot black guy on OK Cupid. I reconnected with Phillip who lives in CA full time now and no longer has business here, but who wants to see me somehow anyway. And I even reluctantly agreed to go on a date with an old high school friend who professed to having a massive crush on me for the last 25 years.
Those few hours of man-juggling before I stumbled on the photo of TN and me were like being suspended above ground and not fearing the fall. I felt beautiful, desirable, happy, invincible. I felt safely tucked away from the pain of his rejection, but it was relatively short-lived because I knew even as I cried myself to sleep last night that it had been just a fancy, frilly, empty façade. I’m not ready to be with anyone else, and this morning’s regrets confirmed it.
I can’t feel my fucking heart.
It’s not in me or even near me. Its absence is made obvious by the leaky sadness which oozes out of me nearly every moment of every day I’m not focused on something else, by the hiss of longing in my ear when I think of never having him in me again.
I can’t feel my heart because he still has it.
He’s trying to hand it back, but I don’t think he’s entirely prepared to do that, either. It’s half-assed because he does still want me and miss me and love me. So now there are puzzles to solve and terrain to traverse. I have to work to get it back with patience and understanding and know that it will be returned in pretty bad shape. I’ll need to let it catch its breath and heal, become stronger, before I try to use it again. The tall guy was understanding when I cancelled our date today.
TN isn’t hurting it on purpose, but one thing is for sure: the longer he has it the less opportunity I have to care for it. I’m just now understanding this. Somehow, I have to get my heart back.