In the depths of my fears I think of only one voice and feel only one set of arms around me as the storm slams against the shutters: his.
I long for his calm words, his thoughtful response, his bulldog ways. When I was broken he rushed to my side. Always. He was my safe place.
It’s been one year and 4 months since he showed up to my house to stay the night and instead asked for a break from me; 8 months since his tear-streaked face left my home for the last time; 6 months since he brought his new woman to my gym class; 5 months since he clutched her in photos and kissed her smooth, smiling cheek; and two days since he last looked at me online.
The knot of suspicion I carried with me like a baby clutched close to my chest left when he did. I celebrate its absence, dance on its grave each time I breathe with a lightness which eluded me when he was close and yet I pine and I miss. I miss him.
I am ashamed.
I am embarrassed.
My longing proves my weakness, my failure. The seasons have changed and I have not.
I have raged against the machine of men clamoring to get between my legs and bellowed at the one or two who have dared to acknowledge my heart. I have no safe place, I am unmoored and I have no one to blame but myself.
I hate that I miss him still, this soft and sad part of me. It clings to me like the scab that it is and I want it to be gone, to peel it away with a long, low sting to reveal the fresh pink of health below. But maybe there is no health beneath all of this. Maybe I will always be lost and stubbornly stuck in the rot of my life.
The gale of confusion and impersonal betrayal I experience in my dating life has worn me down to a bloody stump; doubt in men has seeped into my consciousness and it scares me. If I lose hope then who am I?
I scour the transcripts of my interactions searching for clues and force myself to put one foot in front of the other only to admit to my own subterfuge. I am abnormal, extraordinary. I turn an innocent afternoon of get-to-know-you into a mastermind game of deflection and redirection: do not get to know me, get to know what I’m willing to give you.
Sex is safe, I am not.
He will be leaving my life soon. All the way in the way that the internet can afford us, anyway.
I will no longer be subjected to his fancy black car parked neatly near his building. Checking my mail will be an ordinary event: I will no longer feel compelled to open the little brass door only if I am sleek and beautiful. Walking to the office, to the pool, living my life in my little square block will become an empty theater. My audience and potential critic will be gone. Not that he probably cared anyway, I’m sure.
Longing for his support when the clouds have blocked the sun is an outright betrayal of myself, of my determination to heal and move on. I recognize I have no control over how I feel and that this is [obviously] part of the process but I am moved to tears nonetheless. Why have I found nothing to fill the void he left behind?
I still feel the spring of the curls on his chest beneath my palm, the scratch of his beard on my face, his beautiful cock buried deep inside of me, his taste.
This is an extraction. Nothing will grow back. I’ll have to chew around it.
On occasion I find myself in that filthy sess pool we call Facebook. I slap myself with knowledge I have no right to know and grind on happy thoughts, toss darts on the board of Good For Him. I walk away stiff-legged and raw, armed with ammunition to continue my quick clip away. Thankfully.
This cycle of need, burn, and retreat is like the earth around the sun: there’s a summer when it’s hotly uncomfortable and a winter when I am cold and distant. How many times do I have to go around him? How many seasons must pass before I break loose and no longer taste him?
The gift of hindsight left a present at my feet: I have never loved anyone as much as I loved him.
When I loved him, when the loving was a thing I did every day, it became a part of my fiber and when it was stripped away I was left bereft. A tree in the dead of winter, naked and bare. Starving for a spring that has yet to come.
Instead storm after storm and a longing for a man who didn’t want me, who never wanted me, pounds at me. I foolishly throw myself to the wolves hoping one of them will recognize me instead of devour me. I own that. But I must rest. I must stop.
I must surround myself instead with my other anchors. The batwomen and sisters I rely upon, the one or two or three men who encourage me to be sensitive, the sister who now knows that I write and is proud of me.
To look at me you would never guess at my continued heartbreak. To read me you might not guess it either, but it’s time to be honest. It’s true: I am still heartbroken.
I still feel his absence. I still wish that things were different, that someone, anyone cared about me, but most of all him. I am terrified of attempting to find someone new. In fact I feel wholly ill equipped to do so. I am a big, fat faker. I only go through the motions because I derive some sick purpose out of it. I am a masochist to a frustrating degree.
Longing and heartbreak are the same as it was a thousand years ago. I am blathering on about nothing, as usual. I wonder what their advice was then all those long seasons ago.