The first day of my 40th year is almost over; less than an hour as I hit Publish.
Thirty-nine was a rough year, start to finish. Being a late-summer baby meant that I spent Year 39 Thanksgiving and Christmas in a relationship that left me feeling hollow and by the Year 39 New Year soundly dumped.
For months after I floundered, desperate to find my footing. I waited what seemed like a reasonable amount of time and then flung myself into dating to plug the hole that had widened over the course of the previous year, though it was like using a finger to stop the flow through a whale-sized hole. At least I tried.
Then July hit and the fissures in my heart tore apart completely and I was re-broken. I felt the loss of Sara keenly, the loss of The Neighbor, my father, my cat, just everything I’ve ever lost seemed to come rushing back up to me in a way that spun me around and hung me by my ankles.
Putting the brakes on dating was not only the logical thing to do at that point, it was the only thing I could do. Being trapped in drain-spiraling, half-assed dating “relationships” only highlighted what I didn’t have.
I wiped my slate clean throughout July and most of August then bumped into an amazing fellow whose boundaries precluded me but who also helped highlight my need to be both Hy and me with someone, and then boom, here I am back in late summer: September. This has been a lightening fast molasses year.
Today has been both ordinary and extraordinary.
I spent the day with the people who love me the most, my child and my parents. I worked my body in the early morning on dewy grass and relished the sting of sweat in my eyes as my muscles screamed. I thought about how I never give up, I never stop moving while a thick, muscled body is pounding into me so why would I stop moving just for me? And so I dug deeper into my lunges and sprints repeating, “I don’t give up. Fuck me, fuck me, fuck me!”
I also worked my ass off at the office, impressing my boss, then picked Peyton up from school with a surprise cheeseburger snack. We watched Part 2 of The Deathly Hallows and as we cried while passing each other tissues we also hiccuped with laughter at our emotional states. It was magical, no pun intended. Next was dinner with my parents which included balloons, chilled white wine, blistered shishito peppers, and lots of selfies. Finally, it was time to come home. But I was nervous: yesterday I came home and noticed some things were moved in my apartment again.
I checked with everyone who has a key and they all denied playing a prank on me, including The Neighbor. He kindly offered to help me if I needed him, so when I was a mile from home tonight I asked him to meet me outside my apartment.
We cased my place to make sure no one was there and he watched Peyton for me while I took the dog out for his bedtime romp. I asked if he wanted to stay for a bit and surprisingly he said yes.
On my balcony, changed into my pajamas of stretched out white v-neck and white shorts we caught up. He’s trying to be a different man now. He works out every day, sometimes twice a day. He’s making friends, he’s being social. I don’t really know him anymore.
I felt compelled to share how I’d changed, too. How I had withdrawn from the world over the past several weeks and liked it. “It’s like we’re switching places,” I said.
Why was I doing this?
He’d texted me a couple of days ago asking if he could take me out for my birthday. I’d told him I was too busy this week, maybe next weekend. I couldn’t bring myself to say No completely.
Sometimes hysterical bubbles well up and I want to just end this ridiculous 9-month long experiment of separation. I still love him, I miss him desperately, I want things to go back the way they were. But then the bubbles burst; I don’t want that old relationship or that man. He wasn’t a good boyfriend, I didn’t trust him and I was deeply unhappy.
I’m stuck in longing for something that never existed with a man who doesn’t exist. It’s like wishing for Santa to bring me a different kind of flying pony.
He stayed much longer than either of us intended and extended a hand to me to help me up out of my chair. His hand was warm and I was self-conscious as I took it.
We walked to the front door and he opened his arms to me. I walked into him and he held me tight — too tightly — hips to shoulders, my breasts crushed against his chest. I rubbed his back with flat palms as he wished me a happy birthday again, sweetly, intensely.
I broke away and wondered what it was he wants from me. He seems so happy to see me and hold me close, but it makes no sense; like a robot who can’t understand tears, I don’t think he understands his impact on me. I don’t want this anymore. It hurts too much.
My 40th year has commenced on a strange note and I am faced with an opportunity to shut the door completely on TN, to tell him how heartbroken I am and how painful it is to see him. I have finally decided I’m worthy enough to say No, I can’t see you anymore. You don’t get to have me while I hurt like this.
It’s odd even typing those words.
Hi, 40. I think I like what you’re puttin’ down.