I emailed The Neighbor.

I emailed The Neighbor two nights ago.

I’d had a glass or two of white wine, there was a late Spring chill in the air, Sinatra was playing on the record player.  Every sock drawer had been organized, every bill paid, all the laundry folded.   There were no hanging chads in my life, so to speak and it was as if suddenly I had nothing else to do but email him.

So I did.

As my fingers slid across the keys it was an out-of-body experience.  Was I really doing this?  It’d been a year and a half since we’d seen each other, more than two since he dumped me.  Why was I doing this??

Even as I wrote I knew it was an awkward stream of consciousness.  “I’m genuinely curious to know if you’re great or struggling.  After two long years apart I continue to work hard to trust and be open.  I basically trust no one; it’s almost a joke.  So, I guess I’m admitting to you that I’m not great.”  But I didn’t care and hit Send anyway.

The next morning I did a game recap with surprised friends.  Ann and Meredith were supportive, but both wanted to know what my hopes were.  Why now after all this time??

I had a toothbrush in my mouth when it hit me: breaking the silence I imposed upon us was for me.

My stoic acceptance of his decision to end the relationship without so much as a discussion about it, my reluctant agreement to be friends because that’s what he needed, my heartbreaking realization that I still loved him and had to say goodbye, my stifled, private rage at discovering a trail of lies and blatant dismissal of everything I’d ever wanted, my enduring pain at seeing his car every day and sustained, low-level anxiety of running into him while at home.  I did all of that alone — he bore not one ounce of the burden, not for one second — I kept it all.

It seemed to me during our few times meeting as friends in the 9 months after we broke up that whenever I let my pain become evident, let it slip out ever so slightly, he would cringe.  Whether it was from guilt, fatigue, or disdain I have no idea, but I was intent on buttoning up more tightly for two reasons: 1) I didn’t want him to have anything of me and 2) I didn’t want to hurt him.

As I wrestled with the leaching reality of abandonment and betrayal I believed that responding to it would be losing something.  I didn’t want him to get anything from me ever again — not one calorie of energy — even the pain, sorrow, and stifling lack of trust he left behind.

And even though he absolutely deserved to see the lacerations of his lies upon me I didn’t want him to feel badly.  That would be a direct link to my issue with ever being open about my real feelings about someone or something.  If my feelings hurt or upset someone then they are implicitly wrong, right??

And now it seems that what I did was create a void where all that feeling had no where to go but to me and so I have festered.  I have fucked, flaked, fought, and floundered until I am completely and utterly uninterested in not only men in general, but even sex.  Why bother when every time I let a dick get near me it literally disappoints me?  Think about the double entendre there.  It’s intentional.

He replied today, overly friendly to be honest.  How dare he call me his pet name after everything he’s done to me?  Should I list them all for you or just hyperlink like crazy??  The point is, the tone of my note was not familiar, so why respond to it in such a way?  It wasn’t appropriate.

He said he was saddened to hear of my trust issues because he can relate due to his own.  Not that he was saddened to hear it because he clearly contributed to them.  But because he can relate.  Well, awesome.  Thanks.

He gave me a better email to use and invited me to text, but I no longer have his number and I don’t yet know what to say to him.  I feel a volcano of emotion about to erupt, that needs purging.  I want him to know what the last two years have been like for me with his odd internet stalking of my AFF profile, seeing his goddamned car every goddamned day, and the anxiety of a run-in I carry with me despite my best efforts to exorcise it.  (It’s possible had I never run into him and his girlfriend at the gym that the threat would have ever crossed my mind, but it did and so it does.)

Some will think this is a huge mistake; I’ve already gotten closure, moved on.  It’s been two years! they’ll say.  Others will think there never was closure and this is a good path forward; Show him, girl!  Tell him!

But what do I need from this?  I didn’t write the first note expecting anything in return, but what I got was friendly in tone and communal.  It wasn’t bad.  But there was a sensitivity missing, a subtle nod to what that must have taken for me to finally write.  His response wasn’t somber enough.  This man broke me and he replied to me like a long-lost close office mate whose 9-5 life he once shared.

I’m still contemplating all of this.  What I want to do is not at all clear.  That stupid 150 word email has begun to peel a long-suffering scab atop a festering wound and I feel like a stranger in a strange land.  I only know how to be controlled and at a protective distance.  How do I do this whole This is the truth deal?

I hope there are still some who read me; any words of wisdom are more than welcome.  I need help.  I am at a complete loss.  But maybe this will be the end of it?

 

I remember a time.

I remember a time when you reached for my hand.  Your warm skin on mine startled me.  I pulled away.

We continued to walk towards the theater and I awkwardly explained my reaction.  That we were just to be friends; no hand holding is allowed in a friends with benefits situation.  You seemed to shrug and keep walking.

In the darkened theater our hands molded to each other’s thighs and dipped below belts and skirts.  That was ok.

But don’t hold my hand.

He haunts me.

It’s been roughly 2 years and 2 months since The Neighbor came over to stay the night and instead told me he wanted a break and ended our 3 year long roller-coaster relationship.

Two years and 2 months of driving past his building and seeing his car every. single. fucking. day.

Two years and 2 months of walking to the office or the pool or the gym and, knowing I could run into him, walked that stiff, cameras-are-on-me walk.

Two years and 2 months of never letting my guard down when I go out, of scanning every room quickly to assess his presence.

Two years and 2 months of keeping my head down while I grocery shop because it’s better to be truly ignorant than it is to feign it.

Two years and two months of him visiting my AFF profile and leaving a digital trail.

It’s also been two years and two months since I’ve had the kind of sex that made my body vibrate and weep with abandon.

Two years and two months since I laid my hands on a rock-hard, big, beautiful, long and achingly curved cocked.

Two years and two months since I thought anyone loved me.

Two years and two months is a long time.

The pain has faded, as it is supposed to do, but it’s like stale, lingering perfume.  No matter how much I’ve scrubbed it remains.

I’ve allowed myself to mourn, pushed myself forward, carefully kept an eye on what I need.  I go to therapy every week and write more words about heartbreak than I care to own.  And still, he lingers.

He lingers because I am not truly free.  His specter haunts me via his proximity, his fancy black car, even his downtown office.  And most of all, he haunts me because I feel violated.

I feel violated that he visits my profile and knowingly leaves the proof of his presence.

He could switch to invisible browsing at the very least (it’s how I operate the site) or he could just choose to leave me the fuck alone all together.

I blocked him for several weeks to give myself a respite from his stalking, to not see him in my visitor’s list, and it felt good, like taking my vitamins — this was good for me, after all.  And then I felt like I didn’t need it anymore, like, surely by now I’d be out of his regular AFF routine or maybe he’d have just realized how inappropriate it was and stopped altogether.  So I unblocked him.

But I was wrong.

Within 36 hours he visited.

And I was crushed.

I wanted it to be over, to not have to be the one to impose a protective shield.  I want him to leave me alone because he wants to leave me alone.  Not because I’ve blocked him.

It’s the difference between getting a restraining order and knowing there’s an outside force imposing reasonable thought to someone and your stalker moving on on his own.  One feels less safe than the other, I assure you.

The fact that he indulges in his curiosity — or whatever the fuck it is — makes my skin crawl and traps me in this static, hovering place.  I feel smothered, vulnerable, sad, confused, angry, violated.

Isn’t it enough that despite making 6 figures annually and having all the financial freedom in the world he chooses to remain at the gates of my life?  That he hasn’t fucking moved away?  I just signed my 3rd lease.  Surely his next will be the one he chooses to not renew, right?  Does he also have to infringe on my online world, too??

He could even be reading this blog and I wouldn’t know since I never tracked his IP address when I had the chance.  He could be one of the 20 or so local readers last week for all I know.  I hope he does read it.  At least here I feel in control.

I don’t know how to exorcise myself of him and I feel cloaked in his dysfunctional fog on two fronts: my life in general and my love life.

Will he be at this restaurant with a date?  My new gym?  Will I ever get to have the kind of sex we shared again?  Will I always know what I’m missing?

It doesn’t matter that I have told myself exactly what I’d say or do if I ever ran into him, I still have to think about it in the first place.  It’s a part of me I constantly don’t have; it’s always running to protect myself.

He is everywhere and I hate it.  And I hate that I hate it.

All in pieces.

 

It’s been 2 years.

January 27th, 2015 I wrote about our last time together.  Only thing was, I had no idea that’s what it was.

It was a tender moment between us — good sex, spectacular sex — and it wiped out the doubt and worry I lived with about him and had me hopeful for our future.  I contemplated what we did next with our relationship, moving it forward.  I was the girl who got all dressed up for the dance and her date had entirely other plans.  Somewhere else.

And then, the day after I wrote the words he walked into my house and left me.  Technically we ended it 2 weeks later, but the truth is he left me the night he said he wanted a break.  Perhaps it was the last time he was buried inside of me; a real goodbye fuck.

In the weeks that followed we cried together as I begged him for a reason why.  “I don’t know, Hy.  I just don’t want to be in a relationship,” he’d say wearing a sad, heavy face like a drama mask.

Spring turned into summer and our meetings were less tearful and more reorienting.  “If we’re going to be friends, then you can’t hide things from me, TN,” I’d gently lecture.  “I don’t want details, but friends tell each other when they’re dating someone.”

“Don’t worry.  I’m not dating anyone, I promise.  I have no interest.”

He was working out early in the mornings by then, bootcamp at dawn.  I couldn’t get him up before 9 am when we dated.  He’d said he wasn’t a morning person and never would be.  He did yoga, was kayaking, even hanging out with his workout crowd.

My birthday was in late summer and the night he took me out to a fancy dinner to celebrate he complained about how tired he was because of the hot yoga he’d done in the morning and when I pressed and asked if he was doing it for a woman he claimed it was with “just a bunch of middle-aged women” from his bootcamp.  “Don’t worry.  I’m not dating,” he’d added unprovoked.

The next day I ended our friendship amidst his protests and angry, mournful tears.  I was still in love with him and watching him change into the kind of man I’d always wanted him to be right before my eyes was too painful, a slap in the face of my ill-conceived sacrifice to accept him as he was.  What a fucking idiot I was.

That fall, a mere weeks after saying my final goodbye, I ran into him with a woman at my favorite gym class.  A class that I had introduced him to and which we had attended together for a year.  She was pale and pretty and he struggled to ignore me even as he paid her every ounce of his attention.

A couple of weeks later I stumbled on his Facebook page filled with pictures of him with the same dark-haired woman.  I was devastated.  Everything – everything – he had told me about himself was a lie.

Apparently he was the kind of man who went out to parties and concerts and yoga.  He dressed up for Halloween and brought her to his work events.  He was snapped kissing her and beaming a 100-watt smile at the camera with her in his arms.  And he allowed her tag the ever-loving-shit out of him on Facebook whereas I was forbidden from giving even the slightest hint of our association with each other on social media beyond friendship.

I was glad I had preemptively ejected him from my life based on not only my ongoing feelings for him but the deeply held, but as yet unproven belief that he was lying to me.  (Posthumously and accidentally discovering hidden profiles seeking alternative sexual relationships with women during our active relationship helped cement my feelings about him lying.)

I was left in shreds.  Barely myself.  I limped along month after month of 2016 fully free of him in my life, but was repeatedly reminded of his existence — both because he remained in our complex and because about every week or so he would visit my Adult Friend Finder profile, deliberately leaving a visitor trail.

Once.

It’s now nearly two years to the day he abandoned me out of a troubled left field and I still — still — miss him.

I miss our easy rapport, our shared politics, our chemistry, our love.  And by far most of all — because I’m beyond and round the bend of the other things — I miss his fucking cock. 

Since we’ve split I’ve had 20, 30 more and not one has come close in making me feel the things he did.  Bones was an approximation, David was massive and fat but didn’t have the curve and length, Remington never let go despite having a lot to work with.

Everyone else had curves, lengths, and girths that just didn’t compare and despite my best efforts to refocus, let go, really enjoy and embrace what was in front of me I was left with a bitter aftertaste which was decidedly not TN.

Regardless of the shape and size of the penis — truly — the bottom line is no one has fucked me like he did, like he could.

He was a maestro with our bodies, perhaps I was, too.  Playing each other like seasoned musicians.  Eyes shut, feeling the chords, the notes, and the symphony in our bones.

Even that last meaningful night when he had assuredly decided he was leaving me and was completely checked out.

I can’t help but ask myself how is that even possible?? How can two people have that level of connection and pleasure while one is utterly gone?

I am ashamed and deeply humiliated at my gullibility and inability to move on.  I’m afraid that no one will be able to supplant the memories with new and better ones.  I’m scared I’m stuck.

Two motherfucking years and I have what feels like nothing to show for all my work, all my suffering, all my tearful, painful meanderings through the tangled paths of my heart.

I’m ashamed to share the depth of my broken-ness, of my mistrust, my longing.  No one can penetrate the fortress I have built around my heart except for those whose proximity and viability are null.  Men equal danger.  They cannot be trusted.  They don’t listen to me, they use me, they are not safe.

Therefore I will use them, chew them like bubblegum and rub my mound on their parts until my juices burst and runneth over and the sticky-sweet bubbles pop on my puckered lips.

Twice.

I wonder if he ever thinks of me.  In general.  I know he must considering he visits my AFF profile regularly, but I mean in real life.  Does he have anxiety about getting his mail?  Driving in and out?  I’m long since past all that, but the ghost of his cock lingers in my psyche, my pussy, my heart.

I have fucked everything that walks in an effort to replace him and to heal and all to no avail. I’ve hoped love would find me and now I’m hoping to find love.

The only thing left to try at this point is not fucking at all except I’m failing at that, too — of course — but I’m hanging in there with the hope and the will to push forward.  If I found someone like him once, surely I can find someone like him (but better) again.  Right??

At least the thought helps me sleep at night.

 

Having feelings really puts a damper on casual sex.

Ok, that’s not exactly true.  Having feelings for someone other than the one you’re casually fucking sucks.

I eat, sleep, and shit Luke these days; he’s literally all I can think about.

We text and send video messages all day throughout a day as we juggle our respective responsibilities.  I cum listening to videos of him telling me about the errands he’s running and, chagrined by my constant begging, he sends me selfies and tells me how he thinks about me while he soaps himself up in the shower.

He says he’ll never leave me – though what that means is more theoretical than practical – and I choose to hit pause on reality and bask in the attention of a man I find to be incredible both inside and out.  I let the smoke of his words fill my lungs and infiltrate my system and, as I exhale slowly, bask in the high that someone says he sees me and won’t go away.  Crack, meet Hy, Hy, crack.

I’ve been out with a few men since stumbling upon Luke, but none can clear the room of his scent.  Brad is a loving father, intelligent, filled with Dad Puns which make me cry with laughter, and a nimble lover, but he’s ignorant to his second-chair status.  Kent and I met for dinner after five years apart and argued over whether or not Michael Jackson actually touched those poor boys and though he smelled delicious, I went home alone.  There was another man whose brand of sense of humor left me straight-faced and deeply unimpressed.  He never had a chance past “Hi, all my dates end up saying they don’t want to see me again.”  Franklin’s presence is more life-preserver and less love interest and his existence seems to reside within a conflict-free zone at the moment.  Thanks, Universe, for that small win.

I’ve been doing my Hy thing for so long I’d forgotten that there was more to be had, more to feel.  A friend who knows me as Hy laughed when I told him I was struggling with having feelings for someone.

“All this time you DIDN’T feel alive? Wow. It must be somethin’.”

Indeed, it is.

When I lived next door and slid into a sexual, playful relationship with The Neighbor I was also fucking other men.  He was one of many, no big deal, a young, furry, inexperienced yet exceedingly talented lover next door.  And then we began to talk and hang out more and the sex steadily improved until every man I met and fucked was being compared to him.  That new, next man had to meet or exceed what TN gave to me.

TN was unavailable (and never said he wasn’t), but our attraction and chemistry overrode both of our common sense and eventually, I threw caution to the wind and decided to take what little he’d give me and go all in.  I focused on the positives until it came to a sudden end and now, nearly 2 years later, I am still sweeping away the residue of his chalk outline.  We had something special and I felt a certain way.  That inexplicable measure where suddenly you are real, you are heard.

I haven’t felt so divided, so distracted by anyone else since that early time with TN.  When I tried so hard to find someone to replace him – a man who didn’t want me – but who made me feel alive just the same.  Luke has inadvertently triggered a reawakening in me.  Not unlike the stirrings I felt while in London with Ben, but more strongly.  Perhaps they’re building upon themselves like a snowball down a mountainside or maybe I’m just becoming more comfortable with my softer, open side.

Luke wishes me luck before my dates and asks that I text him at the end if possible.  If I don’t text him until the morning he wishes me good morning and asks me how things went.  He’s jealous of the men in my life much as I’m jealous of his poofy, 5lb dog who gets to sit on his chest and lick his face like a miniature lion.

I have lost almost all interest in local adventures; I can’t muster the energy to focus on a man who isn’t Luke and I feel like an asshole.  It’s not like anyone I’m talking to thinks they’ve snagged all of my attention, but last I heard the polite thing to do is to successfully not think about another man while one is inside of you.  Just sayin’.  I’ve reached new lows.

Obviously weird shit happens in the course of a lifetime.  I have no clue why Luke was thrown into my path or I in his.  All I know is that with him I feel safe to explore the vulnerable parts of me, the parts which are so closely guarded I all but forgot they existed, and the distance between us emboldens me to poke around, find my limits.

It seems the impenetrable Hy isn’t quite the cool Ice Queen she thought she’d become, she’s also a warm-hearted fool who wants to slumber and rise wrapped in her crush’s arms while high as a motherfucking kite.

 

 

 

I am a fisherman.

Here, little fishies...
Here, little fishies…

I imagine looking out over a harbor, the morning light gentle, the scent of the bay cold and familiar in my nostrils.  I hike my suspenders over my shoulders and step into my dingy.  I have to check my lines; one group of crab pots after the next, the water gently choppy, the sound of the boat engine a buzzing throttle beneath my hand as I steer.

I stop, pull the lines.  They’re heavy.  The little creatures inside move in what looks like slow motion.  I pull them up, open the cage and shake them out into the bottom of my boat, toss the pot back in the water and move on to the next.

It’s second-nature to me, these motions.  It’s part of my life, who I am.  I measure them silently in my mind.  Chemistry, cock, charisma.

I check 3 lines every day.  My AFF, Seeking Arrangement and Collar Space.  Each day I find creatures in my pots.  Each day I am overwhelmed with the vetting process.

SA continues to be a brutally unrewarding place, but I also continue to be in a desperate financial situation so I stay on in hopes that I’ll find that one man who can save me financially as I work furiously in real life to solve for it on my own.

Will, the sugar daddy of ill-manners, and I no longer speak.  He behaved even more badly in regards to how I spent “his” $100 and I told him it was fucking bullshit.  I don’t know what he expected from me, but a sugar relationship wasn’t it.  He thought $100 bought something.  Yeah, groceries and gas, asshole.

Collar Space is a tender spot for me.  I am inundated with thoughtful, sexy emails from submissive men, but I am deeply reticent after my most recent experience of being abandoned after a vanilla-esque scene.  I can’t put myself back in that position any time soon, though I yearn to.

I am still speaking with the first sub who reached out to me back July, but I’m tired of the “How are you?” texts and don’t have the energy to move it further along.

AFF remains my happy place, but last I checked I had five times as many new emails than usual.  Apparently late summer has caused the tide to shift a bit and suddenly I am more desirable than ever.  I haven’t had the time to sift through all the possibilities there either; the men just lay at my feet, arms and legs waving at me.

My harvest is immense, but my appetite is low.

In a week it will have been one year since I ended my friendship with The Neighbor.  One year since he was in my house.  One year since we sobbed together.  One year since he held me in his arms.

To this day every man I am with is measured against him, our chemistry, his cock.  I can’t stop myself.  Every time I pull a line and haul a man aboard I wonder if it will be as good with him as it was with TN.  When I invite him over and into my bed I pray I’ll feel what I always felt with him.  When the man leaves I hope to desire him again.  When he speaks I wish to be interested.

Though the answer to all of those things is typically No and I throw him back, head to the next set of pots.  The sun on my face, the salt on my lips.

Line after line I pull.   Tirelessly, not unhappily.  Always looking, always measuring, always the fisherman.

 

 

He is like an infection.

My insides were tight as I walked down the hill towards my apartment complex’s gym.  The Neighbor’s car has been outside of his building the last week and a half around 9 am; what if he saw me walk past as he left for work?  What if his new later hours meant he was in the gym??

I decided to chance it because I so badly need to run and lose myself in sweat and burning muscles and possibly tears.

His car was there just as I’d dreaded.

I punched in the gate code to the pool and pulled it open.  The reflections on the gym windows on the other side of the deck shimmered with leaves.  As I approached I saw the handles on an elliptical moving swiftly.  I froze.

I moved to my right, just so, to see the shape of the person on the machine and it appeared to be a closely cropped male head.  He’s grown his hair back from bald, I knew that much.

I moved to my left to confirm and could still only barely make out a thick-ish shape, but it was enough.  I couldn’t make my feet move one more inch forward.  I turned on my heel and sped out.  Fuck this shit.

I sat on the retaining wall by the mailboxes hoping he’d either be right behind me and headed up to his apartment or prove I was completely paranoid and drive by in his car.  Neither happened.

I sat there, feet dangling, and fought tears.  I just want him to go the fuck away already.  It’s been 18 motherfucking months and I feel like a prisoner in my own home.  Why is he still here??  He makes plenty of money — a move would be absolutely feasible.  I can’t leave.  I have a child whom calls this home and I don’t have the funds.

Why did he stalk me on AFF every week?  Why did he use my 2-and-a-half-year old Venmo invitation to join when he refused for months when we were together (Venmo is a banking app where you can easily transfer money to your friends who use it, too, and leave funny memos, such as he did for a beautiful co-worker, “You know what this is for…”)?!  Why did he take that woman to my gym class??  Why did he want to be my friend??  Why didn’t he let me dump him all those times I tried??  Why did he follow me here??  Why won’t he go away???

Why why why????

I’ve deleted his number out of my phone, I got off of Fetlife a year ago when I saw he was using photos I took of him as his new profile pic, blocked him on FB and AFF and even fucking Venmo so I don’t have to see why the hot girl and him are passing money back and forth.  I hold my breath every time I come home and leave, check my mail, go to the pool, and now I’m afraid of my own gym.

I am so very fucking tired of this.  So, so tired.  I don’t know how much longer I can take this.

I feel like I’m drowning, though I am the strongest swimmer I know.  How is this happening to me??  I’ve done everything right, taken all the right medicines. I’ve kept my head held high, left him alone, moved on, worked hard to feel better, find a new friend and lover, invested more in my writing and this life, focused harder on mothering.

I have done it all and yet because he’s immutable I am stuck being forced to go around the steaming pile of shit that is his existence at the very gate of my life.  The very gate!

I’m glad to see that his life is so easy that the thought of moving hasn’t occurred to him.  I know what he tells himself; he says, “I’m too lazy.”  It’s what he told me when I raged at him for updating his age on AFF while we were together, but not adding the fact that he had a girlfriend like I’d nearly begged him to do months before.  “I’m lazy, Hy!” he yelled back.  Mmhm.  “Lazy.”

He doesn’t see me, nor is he reminded in any way of my existence, and he told me many times over when he’d be critical of me noticing whether his car was home or not that he never thought of my proximity.  Well, good for fucking you, you ignorant asshole.  Unlike you, I’m aware of my surroundings.

I can feel the prick of tears, the weight in my chest.

I need to run.  I’m going back down again.  Maybe I’ll get further this time.

Fuck.

I wish a giant hole would open up under him and he’d disappear forever and get the fuck out of my life for good.

 

Avoidance.

Hy at night in shadow
Shadows.

At this point in time I fully admit to avoiding some things.

My fitness, for one, not to mention my creativity, my mental health, and my peace of mind.

I feel like I’m floating on a little raft of seaweed just past where the waves swell and form.  I can see the beach with my towel and my things, but my senses are consumed with salt, long, low pulses of waves crashing, and the tickle of the sea.

Peyton flew unaccompanied to San Francisco for a couple of days during my most recent custody period then went straight to my ex’s upon arriving back home.  Today they all leave by car for a family vacation and won’t return until mid July.

My phone remains mostly quiet except for my frantic checking of world news.  The list of heartbreaking things seems never-ending lately; it’s been a particularly brutal late spring for the entire world.

Knowledge is power, but it’s also paralyzing.  I feel overwhelmed as a member of our global society and even in my own little life.  Tributaries of thought and feeling merge into a raging river only to split off a few miles away.  I have a clear idea of what I need to do, but then remain sedentary.  Not taking care of my body is the main signifier.

I stain it with alcohol and lack of movement, my dietary choices aim to hurt, not nourish.

Yet meanwhile in the other parts of my life I am dedicated and driven.

My work continues to bring me significant pride and satisfaction and my Summer of No Men (or really, Summer of Very Few Men) has brought a sense of calm and balance I have never felt before.

I blocked The Neighbor from being able to view my AFF profile and with that single keystroke the weights attached to my ankles which threatened to drown me were gone.

He remains in my complex, but the sight of his car somehow bothers me less.  My empty, boring nights are a result of my choices and I feel empowered even as The Good Wife and a bottle of Casillero del Diablo keep me company.

I chat with Ben on occasion and have a couple of other irons in the fire, but they’re on low heat and I like that just fine.  My standards for a date seem impossibly high after London.  I want someone to look at me and think, “Fucking shit I’m a lucky man!”  Not, “She seems ok for now.”  Effort means everything to me now.

My avoidance of my physical and creative health is the natural reaction to my career and dating health.  I have yet to master all aspects of my life simultaneously and that has been a lifelong pattern.

If I’m working out regularly and my diet is on point, then I am making risky decisions with my heart.  Slacking at work?  Then I’m probably drinking less.  It’s like squeezing a balloon that won’t pop: it just squirts out somewhere else; I can’t hide it.  At least I haven’t had a cigarette since December and that seems unlikely to change any time soon.

The biggest question I’m trying to answer is why do I have this deeply driven need to balance smart, healthy decisions with their opposite?  Why can I not allow myself to revel in all the sun?  Why must I always be cast in shadows?

The immediate answer that comes to mind is I am not comfortable with that level of success and/or happiness and I’ll admit to that; it’s what I am working so hard to change.  I want all the sun.

The second I hit Publish today I will feel better.  It’s a very caring thing, writing, and I have been actively avoiding things I know will make me feel better.  It seems I want shadow in addition to all that sun — perhaps I need it, I can’t tell the difference — but I’m trying to honor the pull nonetheless and not beat myself up about it.

I’m supposed to see Remington tonight, a reschedule from the weekend, but I’ve asked if we can move it to tomorrow.  I’d like to see him in an old friend sort of way, but I’m content if it doesn’t happen.  Not quite ambivalence, more like acceptance.  That’s a sunny thing.

I’ve skipped lots of opportunities to work out this week, though.  Shadowy.

I’ve focused on my work and goals.  Sunny.

I’ve had a couple of glasses of wine every night.  Shadowy.

I’ve been highly selective about the men I interact with.  Sunny.

I haven’t written all the things I want to say: good v. bad sex, UDP (unsolicited dick pics), the strangely dangerous and beautiful world of IGShadowy.

My hope is that while my little one is away for so long I will get my sea legs and stop floating, overwhelmed by the current and unmotivated to move.  I’d like to honor my quiet mornings and my need to write.  The summer is short, though the heat is long, and I have to get my shit together.

The cicadas are chirping.  It’s time to get started.

Hy in the morning in the sun
Sun.

 

I was wrong.

He didn’t move out this weekend.

His fucking fancy black car is still there, mocking me.

My heart lurches when I pass him on the street, though I’m invisible to him in my new and unfamiliar car.  Lucky him.

I dread seeing him when I run to get groceries and have scathing, vitriolic conversations with him under my breath as I stride angrily through the heat from my car to the produce section.

“You should never have followed me to my complex.”

“You lied to me about who you were.”

“You are a cruel, selfish bastard for invading my home.”

I think twice about getting my mail.  Do I look good enough if I run into him?

I think twice about walking to the office.  Will he see me?

I think twice about visiting the gym behind his building.  Does he use it?

When I park at the bottom of the hill near his building late at night, laced with wine, and with a virile, good-smelling man I wish he could see me saunter up the hill.

When I go to the pool with my little string bikini I worry he might be there and even worse, be with someone who looks better than me.  Because that’s somehow important to the small woman in me.  I’m reduced to thinking looks matter.

The bottom line is, I was wrong.

I got his apartment number wrong — it’s not actually listed on our website — and it feels like he’ll never leave.  I have no idea when it’s going to happen.  There is no relief in sight.

I am trapped in Purgatory and forced to face my mistakes every morning, noon and night.  I ignored all the signs and focused on my love for  him.  His thoughtful sweetness, his throbbing sex, his delicious distance.  I have no one to blame but myself and when I once had power in the situation I no longer do.  I can’t make him go.

I struggle with the word regret.  It feels like I’m admitting I got nothing from my choice when that’s not true.  I loved that man madly and deeply.  I proved to myself I was capable of magic with another human being.  I unearthed parts of me I didn’t know existed.  How could I possibly regret that?

The regret I feel is for ignoring my gut that summer before he moved here — something was seriously amiss — and though I have no actual proof my sleepless nights and early morning searches for GPS trackers were enough for the jury of my heart.

I wish I knew why I felt those things, I certainly wish I hadn’t, but I did and I neither tried to prove or disprove them.  I simply put one foot in front of the other in total denial and love and hope and resistance.

And now I’m afraid to check my mail.

Because I was wrong.

 

Sometimes you miss the one who hurt you the most.

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.