He’s finally, totally gone.

Almost six years ago he came into my life and today, finally, he is gone.

I had an inkling that he had moved out a little earlier than the beginning of October like he’d told me this summer, but I wasn’t sure, so I took a little detour on my morning walk with the dog and found myself outside the back of his building beneath his balcony.

Gone were his bike and black and white patio furniture.  Could he really have moved out??

I don’t know what compelled me to walk up three flights of stairs, but I did.

The dog panted beside me and my breasts swung loose beneath my pajama top.  My hair was in disarray, no makeup, glasses on.  This was me at my absolute rawest climbing to confront the source of so much pain.

I don’t know what compelled me to turn the handle on his door, but I did.

Perhaps it was the many little carpet threads strewn about the hallway foyer, proof of new carpet installed somewhere on the floor.  Perhaps I just needed to see for myself.

And when the handled turned with no resistance and the door swung open I walked right in.  The door shut with a thud and my heart matched.

My chest felt tight, my breath shallow.  He was gone. 

New carpet was indeed being installed, evidence that it had been several days since his departure.  My breath continued to evade me as tears welled in my eyes.  I looked for remnants of him, any hint that he had been there.  I opened kitchen drawers, the refrigerator.  I remembered where we’d hung every picture and where I’d placed every piece of furniture and plate.

The refrigerator door was still on backwards and I laughed to think that he was just that lazy he couldn’t be bothered to call maintenance to switch the hinges.

As I walked into his bedroom I could almost smell the flavor of incense he preferred, sweet and foreign, see his cherry wood sleigh bed.  But it was just an empty room with bare walls and a new carpet smell.

In the bathroom the tears came.  This is where I took some of my favorite photos of him.  The one of him in the bathtub and the one that would later become his profile picture for many sex sites across the internet the summer after we broke up, the one of him standing behind his clear shower curtain, the striations on his naked body like horizontal pinstripes on candy.

I had bought little wooden letters for him – a T and an N – as a token of my love and of our little secret.  They had been on his counter.  I’m sure they had long since been thrown away, but I remembered them nonetheless.

There was nothing left behind, not even a scrap in a single drawer or shelf.  He wasn’t heree and so I left.

At the top of the stairs that once was the place of frolic and love I looked out and down below and remembered the last time I had been on those steps and felt another wave of emotion.

I had returned to retrieve the note on the bag of his things I’d put on his doorstep and left feeling triumphant.  Oh, how silly I was then.  But it didn’t feel right to leave just yet so I walked back in and stood in his kitchen at the island, a kitchen design nearly identical to my own, and looked out the windows still as a mouse, heavy as a mountain.

The dog laid down and waited as I put my head down on the island and cried.

I cried because I could and I cried because it was finally over.  I no longer had to brace myself when I saw him come and go or worry about running into him at the mailbox.  I cried because I hadn’t realized how much this would mean to me, this ending, this finality.

The last time I was there was the Wednesday morning he’d pulled me into his warm, sleepy arms, looked me straight in the eyes and told me he “Didn’t want to do it,” anymore.  “It” being us.

The last time I was in that room I had cried a river and raged and begged and fought and knelt down before him and admitted defeat.

The last time I was in that space he had ripped my heart out and shredded it with his bare hands and ever thoughtful words.

My heart was destroyed in that apartment on the third floor and I was transformed.  How could I possibly not come back and honor what had happened to me here?

I breathed in the air that was once his space, deeply and with much personal drama and quietly left.  Now this is the last time I will have ever been here.  With my dog, in my pajamas, fit only for my own company.  Real.  Healing.  Possibly better than before.

::

I don’t remember walking down the stairs, just that I thought, “Hey, he doesn’t have a mailbox there anymore,” as I walked toward the little house that represented each residence.  And then the other older black, fancy car just like his caught my eye and I thought.  “Well, fuck.” 

I suppose soon enough I will stop noticing that kind of car altogether.

 

 

Dating is the cruelest of sports: An open letter to the man who ghosted

I am crushed that I am reduced to emailing you what I am about to say, but I feel I need to nonetheless.

I am torn between two warring thoughts about what has happened between us.

On the one hand, I think you are cruel to treat me this way; on the other, perhaps I am a roaring asshole and deserve it.

I have poured over ever sentence, every touch between us that night in an attempt to figure out what I did to cause you to react in such a way to me.  Should I have not blown you under the bridge?  Been so eager to accept your invitation to brunch?  Was it because I wanted to hear you cum?  Because I wrapped my hands around your beautiful neck?  Or perhaps it was when I urged you to suck harder on my nipples.  No, maybe it’s because I used my vibrator?

Or, what my darkest voice suggests to me, it’s simply because I am a person of no value and so of course the beautiful, young man who had spent an evening (plus nearly 4 weeks) whispering sweet nothings into my ear would toss me aside like yesterday’s garbage, today’s biggest regret, because I am worthless.  That is what the dark voice in me says.

This is what I am wrestling with, because surely that can’t be true, and no one could possibly deserve to be tossed aside like that, right?  You have decided to do this; I didn’t bring it upon myself.  For only a matter of hours before you thought I was incredible and told me so. We made plans for Saturday and even Sunday morning.  You talked about taking me camping some time and teaching me to appreciate whiskey.

If I did misstep then why wouldn’t you say, Hy, you hurt my feelings or I didn’t like that so much.  Or even, Hy, I’ve had a change of heart.  At the very least, Hey, I need to talk.  That’s the man I thought you were.

When I have suddenly pulled way from someone it was because the sex was horrendously bad (I remember you saying it was the best – or did I imagine that in my own repulsive brain??) or because he assaulted me (I watched you closely as you closed your eyes and moaned and gripped me tightly, but perhaps you didn’t want to do the things we did) and even then the next day when that sad man would text me and notice a shift in me I would tell him I was no longer interested.  I was humane.

Why, why would you turn away from me like you have in such a heartless manner and leave me to spin in emotional turmoil flipping between rage and sorrow and worry??  Rage at your treatment of me, my sorrow – and humiliation – at being so soundly rejected, and worry that you might be hurt.

I mean, what if you’re in a coma and I would seem like a terrible fool for assuming you’ve done anything to me.  But I am a realist and the most reasonable way to approach this is to assume the answer is the simplest and that is that you have had a change of heart, not that you are injured.

August, I know we only knew each other for a handful of weeks, but I trusted you.  I breathed your breath and tasted your skin and I let myself go with you in both mind and body, beneath you and atop of you, and you have disappeared on me.  Not only that, but I spent hours upon hours of my valuable time writing to you and thinking of you.  How is it that I now find myself in this position?  Why would you do this?

I don’t expect an answer — seeing as you have made what seems to be your final move here with me — but I wanted you to know how it has affected me, someone you held close and who trusted you.  I was so filled with hope about you.

If I did something to hurt you I am eternally sorry, truly; you were like a beautiful beast crossing my path even if for a short time and my days were filled with excitement and hope because of you.  I’m only sorry it’s ending in so much pain and confusion.

– Hy

And yet, as horrible as it may sound, I hope you actually are hurt rather than the alternative because I don’t want any of this to be happening right now.  I wanted to know you for a very long time.  x

I sent it.

I sent the letter – a revision of the first – that neatly explained the things he knew nothing about.

  1. His abandonment of me has really fucked me up.
  2. I know he’s a liar.
  3. His proximity by virtue of remaining in our complex causes me great anxiety.
  4. I don’t appreciate him openly viewing my AFF profile.

I kept it as short as possible – and narrowly focused – so that my message would be received.  I wanted him to know that his choices hurt another human being, and hopefully not irrevocably.  I wanted him to know that I was still in pain due to all of the aforementioned things and, most importantly, I wanted him to know that I was making a choice to no longer hide or hold onto them.   I needed him to know.

I’ve set them down and I’ve backed away.  What happens next is entirely up to the Universe.

Thank God I see my therapist later today.

Here’s to moving the fuck past all this shit.

I finished the letter.

And now I don’t know if I’ll send it.

The world seems to be crumbling around us and I can’t be bothered to focus on my anger today.

Instead I’m focused on surviving, trying to pay rent, being healthy, my baby, just living.

But I’m ashamed to admit that a part of the reason I didn’t immediately hit send once I’d proofread it three times and signed my name is because I’m afraid of hurting him.  Even now, two-and-a-half years later, I’m afraid of saying something that will hurt him.  And I’m afraid he’ll say, “No, Hy, you were the asshole.”  But I’ll have to handle it, I want to handle it, I need to handle it.

He’s probably thinking that this is the beginning of us being friends and it’s that misinformed expectation that causes me pause.  I held no punches and described what the last couple of years have been like for me, which have not been pretty.  God, why am I so afraid of hurting him??  All I’m doing is sharing what my life has been like in the wake of our relationship, his lies.

I’m afraid of being wrong.  That’s all it is.  I’m afraid he’ll say, “None of that is true and none of your feelings matter,” just like I was always told as a child.  I have zero experience telling someone they’ve hurt me and getting a sincere and heartfelt apology back and this is even scarier because I don’t have a relationship with this man anymore; I don’t expect an apology, but I suppose I do expect a retaliation.  And I’m ok with that.

I am not expecting him to help me move on or bring closure. 

I’m doing that, that’s my job.  The creation of this letter is purely for me to send it, not for me to receive something back.  I am responsible for me, he’s not.

It would be a dream come true, though, if he came at me on his knees and confirmed all my suspicions of lies and deceit.  It’d be poetic because there’s something sick about having a gut feeling things are off, but being told you’re crazy and not to worry only to discover later you were absolutely right when your boyfriend of 3 years walks out on you one day.  A lot like that paper cut on your tongue as you suck a lemon.

It’s late and I have an early start tomorrow.  I wonder how the letter will read in the light of a Monday morning.

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?

 

Taking responsibility.

💔

Today it’s grey and drizzling outside and my head aches from the fender bender with a Jeep Wrangler up my backside on my way to take Peyton to school.  But it’s nothing compared to the ache in my chest.
At 4 am Sunday morning I awoke to ghoulish, choked noises from outside.  I ran to my window and peered towards the dark wood line.  I saw a cat-sized grey animal walking calmly in the shadows, but the noises had stopped.  

I raced outside and began to call for Faisal, my sweet, fat cat who loved to be outside and whom I’d let out at midnight when the dog needed to pee.  I called and called and listened for more noises, a rustle in the brush, but nothing.

My sad iPhone light illuminated only the density of the undergrowth.  It was cold and I gave up.  There was nothing more I could do at 4 am.

When the sun was fully up I put on long sleeves and a hood and trudged up into the woods looking for his remains, but calling his name all the same.  Branches and leaves crunched beneath my boots and the hood kept my hair from being dragged by the web of branches I ducked between while calling and calling.  Still no baby cat.

A couple of hours later I brought the dog and Peyton with me.  We hiked over the territory I’d covered earlier and farther in the opposite direction until it seemed we’d gone far enough.  This time I’d left the hood at home and my hair caught in the jagged net of branches and I almost welcomed the petty cruelty.  I deserved it.

Back next to our building we scoured the boulders Faisal patrolled and as each minute passed my heart sank further.  “Pey,” I said with a quivering voice, “I don’t think he’s ok.  I think a coyote got him.”

Peyton didn’t want to help me look at first, but I insisted.  “He’s our baby, we have to look,” I explained.  All geared up in rescue attire my human baby struck out with me wondering aloud if the noises I had heard the night before were Faisal crying for help.  I agreed that it probably was and hid a sob.

It’s been almost 36 hours and he hasn’t returned and I have lost all hope.

I cried all day yesterday and couldn’t sleep last night.  I’ve researched if cats are coyote prey, how they hunt, where they eat their kills.  I know to look for vultures circling.

At 3 am last night I poured over my Instagram account – my other one – and clicked on the hashtag I used for him and my other cat.  You see, “Faisal” is two cats; my strict No Personal Details Policy made them into one, but there’s literally no Faisal now, not figuratively or literally.  The “Faisal” I lost this weekend was the animal that made my little menagerie a family, the only creature everyone agreed they loved.  The dog, Peyton, the other cat, me.  We adored him; he was the glue.

If only I hadn’t let him out, I keep thinking.  If only.

But I know I can’t blame myself.  Peyton said I should blame the animal that took him, that I was only doing what Faisal wanted, and that I shouldn’t be ashamed.  I cried harder at the pureness of empathy coming from that little body and held my baby close.  We cried together.

My feline baby loved to be outside, but he rarely was out at night.  The night I opened the door never to see him again I was deliriously tired, painfully discombobulated.  Had I been in my right mind I might not have let him go out when the dog did.  But I did and here we are.  Perhaps it was inevitable.

After I looked at all the beautiful pictures of my lost kitty — the ones of him buried in my neck or loosely draped across the couch arm or stretched out in a sunbeam or being licked by the dog — I wondered about my surviving fur baby.  They were so bonded and the other half of “Faisal” lived in the sunshine of the other.  

And so I found myself researching if cats grieve, how soon is too soon to get a new cat, should I get a new cat?  Next, I was on a local shelter website looking and wondering what the fuck I was doing.

My entire life my cats have gone outside and survived; this has never happened before and I am gutted.  Yet at the same time I think, But he loved it out there, and I step back a bit from the recriminations.  It’d be like never allowing Peyton outside of the house for fear of death, never letting my child fly on a plane without me or ride in a car with someone else.  Life is death, isn’t it?  

We can plan for everything and still have what we love taken away, it’s the way of things.  We’ve gotten so used to never losing anything we’ve forgotten how commonplace and natural it is, how much a part of living grief is.

As the mother of an only child I have to choke down my stark raving fear almost daily – What if something happens to my baby?!  I wouldn’t be a mother anymore.  I don’t even notice that I do it anymore, it’s just a part of my DNA now.

Living a full, wide life, though, is what I do, it’s how I’ve always done it and I guess I extended that philosophy even to my cat.  You wanna go outside, lil’ buddy?  Ok, you go roll in that dirt with your bad self.  It’s not unlike how I give myself permission to do as I please, to suck all the cocks, to fuck all the men, to fall for a man who isn’t mine, to expose myself online over and over again, to laugh loudly and wrap myself in hedonism.

I never shirk the responsibility of my choices; I own them.  In theory, I’d much rather live in a bigger world like my little Faisal did — on his feline terms — than in paralyzing fear in a shrunken world.  Losing him, though, is quite a price to pay for such freedom and frankly it seems like too big a toll at the moment. 

I’m filled with doubt about everything now; maybe I’m doing it all wrong.  Life, love, career.  Maybe I should play it safer, slower, so I don’t end up with hair tangled in greedy branches on Sunday mornings with tears in my eyes or with random condom wrappers under my bed.

Despite being utterly hopeless, I will make signs and put them up around my building and at the mailbox on the off chance someone snagged him and decided to ignore his giant black dog tag with return instructions.  

My only thought left on this is that he heard me calling for him and knew I was there for him, even if I couldn’t save him.

And that hopefully I also won’t need saving someday.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

I miss you.

I miss all of you.  This life I once had.  Me, Hy, you, all of you.

Deep, lacerating pain singes along the pathways to the pads of my fingertips and painted toes like lit gunpowder.  The crevice where my hot blooded heart was now gapes empty and yawning.

This summer has grasped me by the ankles and wrists in two hands and twisted with no mercy, wringing every drop of me into the sea of loss below.

I am a fighter and have not given up.  My eye remains on you, on me and Hy.  My grip is strong even as I flap helplessly in the storm.

The depth of my own strength fills me with pride; others would have crumpled into an ashy heap of dried tears.  

But more than anything, I wish I had no cause for proving my Viking spirit still.  I wish it was done with me already.

I want to come back.  

With my hips gathered in painful fistfuls; with the slit of my body choking a greedy, begging face; with my cries and sobs and hot, wet, motherfucking tears welling in the shells of my ears.

I miss you.

I miss me.

I miss everything.

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.