Though rejection draws me like a flame, its burn is no less devastating.
I am a flawed, stupid, irrational human being a lot of the time. So are you.
The Neighbor and I are two idiots who happened to bump into one another by sheer luck. I didn’t waste a single second with him, but I’m fairly certain I’ll waste many seconds as I writhe in longing for him and thrash around in the viscous binding that is his walking away. His abandoning of me, of us.
There’s no explanation. Only a feeling. It’s a cloud moving across a sky. A moment, a shift, an evaporation. Poof, and it’s gone.
He is the only person who knows me. That is my own doing, obviously, but he knows about Hy, about the real me, my child and ex and family, all my friends. And he doesn’t want it.
It is so unbelievably painful, so Herculean of me, to not latch onto that inherent rejection. I’m fighting it.
He never truly submitted to me. He whet my appetite and begged for me to take the reins only to slip out of my grasp almost as often as he took breath. I gave up and blamed myself, let him set the pace of everything.
What if I had wrapped him up inside of me and turned him inside out? What if he’d come to me and said, “Please, open me up.” There is no taking, only the offering. And he never offered and therefore I never took. I never had.
He might find someone else to do that for him and it gnashes at my limping, thumping heart to let that thought pass through me, but he is allowed his journey, right?
He can use whatever tools are at his disposal; he owes nothing to me. He may turn my art into his bait because it was my gift to him and it no longer is a part of me. Though, I’m not sure I believe that’s true. That art is still me.
I couldn’t breathe, I thought of a tool to slash across my skin, but I refrained. I let the tears pour out, the breath to run ragged through me, felt my belly pinch against my spine in a nauseating tumble. Instead I reached out to those who care instead of inflicting a point’s bleeding rejection through my innocent skin. I wasn’t going to punctuate the betrayal.
You don’t know you helped me past that desire to slice into my tender whiteness — just enough to be colorful — but you did. I mourn the absence of fresh red marks upon my breast, badges of pain, each one of them, but it’s better. I am intact, saved from drowning in loss and abandonment and reminded that I have work to do. Tonight, in life, tomorrow.
This chapter is officially closed. I’ve started a new book.