It went out with a pizza.

Hours into dinner and deep conversation Elliot saw an entry point to go where he needed to go.  “It’s me, not you,” was the gist.  A glimmer of a swell building far off shore shortly after we met had now developed into a giant crashing wave of depression.  He’s drowning.

I went to his house full of curiosity.  I was going to tell him it wasn’t working for me no matter what happened between the two of us, but as the night progressed I was more convinced than ever that ending it was the right thing to do and anything physical was out of the question.

He was pinched and cut off, desperate for the air of solitude and quiet.  I was more than a little impressed that he could muscle through our evening as he did.  Despite my reason for being there, our underlying admiration for each other was strong and we easily talked and laughed for hours over the handmade pizza he’d cooked just for me.

I said all that I needed.  The important things I never get the opportunity to usually say and I got closure, something I never ever get.  He’s a brilliant, but tortured man, and I don’t want to be collateral damage.  I want a man who can handle life’s curve balls with aplomb and a positive attitude.

Perhaps had we been dating for more than a mere 4 weeks when this wave hit us I would find a way of working through it with him – perhaps he’d have wanted me to – but it was too soon and we both knew I didn’t owe him anything while he suffered alone in the dark questioning his ever even being open in the future again and wondering when he’d ever feel normal again.

I’m grateful to have met him and to have experienced what it feels like to melt into someone, to breathe his breath and feel so safe in it.  It was fleeting – a mere blip on the radar – but my hope is that this could be the start of a beautiful friendship.  Only time will tell if our tide will ever be high again.

I can still smell him.

I bet the carpet is still warm where he was sitting.

We hugged by the door, tightly.  “Did you have a good birthday?”

I played it cool.  “Good enough.”  I smiled.

“Well good.”

He let himself out and looked over his shoulder to say goodbye again.

“Bye,” I chirped.

The sobs came as I turned the second lock.

I wished that he’d forgotten something so he could see me like that: raw and hurting.

With every touch, every innuendo, every nice fucking thing he did and said tonight I wanted to break my face open and weep and let the torrent of emotion run out of me like hot diarrhea.

I told him I didn’t know him anymore, that he’s not the man I knew.  “You do yoga now, you hike, you wake up before 9 am.  You swore you’d never do those things.”

He shrugged and said I’d known a different version.

When I told him I was concentrating on inviting people into my life who treated me like I was important he said he was doing the same.  I left it alone, vibrating with fear that he was alluding to a new woman.

At the chef’s table, with the heat of the kitchen on my face and bubbly rosé in my hand, he told me again how he’d gone to hot yoga this morning with one of those people, someone who was positive and hopefully a new value to his life.

I finally took the bait.

“A girl?” I prodded gently.

His face blanched a little as he saw my meaning.  “Yes, but not like that.”

I didn’t believe him for a fucking second.

There’s a woman out there who has convinced him to wake up early on a Saturday morning and go to hot yoga.  I couldn’t even convince him to go to breakfast with me at that hour in 3 years of knowing him let alone fucking yoga.  I don’t care if he wants to fuck her or not.  It’s yet another example of how I wasn’t important enough to him on some elemental level.

I felt my chest constrict and my face fall.  “It’s also why I hang out with you,” he quickly added.  “You’re also a positive influence on my life.”

I stared at my drink infusing the liquid with my pain, leaching it out of my body like a magic spell.  I couldn’t fall apart there.  I nodded and smiled vacantly, but he seemed to buy it.

He’d stared at my breasts all night and flirted.  I looked good: thick, healthy, bouncy.  Men ogled me everywhere we went.  In the parking garage, the waiting area, the mini-mart on the way home.  My breasts felt heavy and I’d cum multiple times throughout the day with a sadness wedged between my legs alongside the vibrator.  I wanted him to reach out to me so badly, to touch my face, to cup a heavy breast, to feel his warm fingers on my neck and his sweet breath on my lips that I feared it was obvious.  But he kept his distance for every minute of the night.  Not one slip; a calculated, iron grip reigned supreme.

We played another game — one I’d win — once back home.  Naturally, he was tired.  I waited for something to shift, for a new attitude to indicate he wanted me back, wanted me, something daring, anything, but I couldn’t bring myself to say the words that burned in my throat.

“Is it natural for you yet to not touch me?” I wanted to know.  “Do you not love me anymore?”  But those words never left my lips.

My plan all along has been to treat myself with this last night together with him, as friends and former lovers, and to take my emotional temperature after.  How did I feel?  Was it excruciating?  Was it bearable?  If it was excruciating, I promised myself I would exorcise the source of my pain, but even thinking about saying goodbye to him forever guts me, draws me inside out and wrings me out.

I feel trapped between complete heartbreak and hope.  I miss him, I still love him, I still want him, but I don’t want that old relationship.  I want this new man wrapped around the good man I know he could be.  The shady, distant man I knew can go fuck himself.  The idea of him with another woman is so repulsive it proves that what I’m doing with him today is not a friendship.  I’m sleeping on our grave.  It’s a lie.

I can’t go on like this.  I can’t expose myself to this level of pain over and over.  I would advise anyone I knew to cut it off, but taking my own advice seems impossible.  Never seeing him again is raw loss, a primal wound re-exposed to the light that I can’t imagine bearing.  But I don’t see any other way through this.  My tears make it impossible to see.

I had the most excruciatingly wonderful night tonight.  He did everything he knew I loved.  We played games, he took me to a fancy restaurant, we played some more.  We talked about our lives as safely as we could.  He touched me here and there in a friendly platonic way.  It felt like lightening.

A sadness hung around us when I hugged him goodnight.  I don’t know if it was mine or his.  Maybe both.  Surely he knows this is hard on me.  Or maybe he doesn’t.  All I know is I can’t keep going.  I just can’t.  I have to end this.  The most sensitive parts of me are becoming blackened bits of shit.  When the tears are dry I’ll cry some more.  Love is the most important thing in our little lives.  I feel its truth in my marrow; it’s not true for him for me.   It’s time to scorch the planes of my aching heart and let it rebuild anew.

I didn’t know I could hurt even more, but I seem to be an endless pit of despair for unrequited love.

That must mean it’s time to say goodbye.

 

I don’t want to be alone.

The pain is worse than when I left my husband.  With him, I knew it was because we had no future. This time, I know there’s a future and it’s being denied me.  It’s like the death of someone who hasn’t yet lived their life.

He came and got his things just now and the look in his eyes — so ice blue and shut down — nearly took my breath away.  I choked on words.  Asked him how he was doing.  “I’m doing ok.  How are you?”

“I’m doing horribly, actually.”

He’d let himself in when I didn’t answer.  I’d fallen asleep and awoke to him entering my bedroom.  I asked him to stay and chat for a minute.  We sat down on our spots on the couch.  I told him how furious I was at my best friend for abandoning me and laughed sadly that normally he’d be the one I’d complain to about such a thing.

I asked if there was anything he wanted to say that he hadn’t already.  He said, “I pretty much said everything I needed to.”  I agreed.

He admitted he wasn’t doing all that well.  He was burying himself in work and video games.

He was wearing board shorts.  I asked him if he was going swimming.  He said he’d just gotten back from kayaking around downtown with someone, who, I didn’t ask.  I silently wondered if it was 4 am girl, but tried to push it out of my mind.  He’d told me he had no interest in her, they are only friends.  And really, it doesn’t matter anymore.  He can do what and who he likes.

Then he stood up to get his things.  I was hoping to touch him one last time, to feel his arms around me, to smell his sweet scent.  He gathered up the bag and movies before I could move into his arms.  “And you still think this is the right thing to do?” I asked.

His face was pained, slightly irritated by the hurtful question.  “Yes.”

“Ok.  Just asking.”

“I’m going to go back into my hole now.”

He moved to the front door and I opened it for his laden arms.  He walked out and looked back.  Our faces a reflection of each other.  Sad.  So sad.

I quietly closed the door and began to sob.  My body is betraying me.  My heart feels like it’s going to stop, my hands shake constantly, I burst into tears when someone innocently asks me how I’m doing.

I cut off 10 inches of my hair today.  He didn’t mention it, but I know he knows why.  It’s ritualistic, like the angry red gashes on the white undersides of my breasts.  Stripes of pain, a show of loss.  I have to feel this. Last time I stuffed it all away and it ate at my core.

Tomorrow is the 6th anniversary of my father’s death.  A bad man who hurt me, molested my sister, died alone and in utter misery.  It’s easy to remember the pain of his death because this pain reminds me I’m capable of being alive.  I am going to breathe this fire and cry and sob and do whatever it takes to expunge it from my depths because I don’t want it residing in me.

I texted him asking him the name of his softball team; I don’t want to play that night. He’s pitcher, I’m 1st base.  He said he’d bow out and let me play.  I texted him back that I regret nothing, but will miss everything.  Thank you for loving me in all the ways you could.

And then I texted and called everyone I know.  No one answered. My best friend has been too tired to come over any of these nights and today she decided to go swimming with another friend.  I’m struggling not to tell her to go fuck herself.  Internet “strangers”, people who have never laid eyes on me, heard my voice, or felt my hugs have provided more support.  Why am I so alone?  If I’m such a great person like everyone keeps telling me, then why isn’t anyone here with me??

This is the ugly side of a secret relationship.  I will be mourning and no one will know and my cries for help aren’t taken seriously.  What have I done?  What am I going to do?  How can I possibly handle more loss?  I feel extended to the max, stretched tight.  I have responsibilities and people who rely on me for support.  Can I get through the next few weeks without a ripple?  I will do my fucking best.

The outpouring of love and support from you, my sweet, secret friends, is my lifeline.  I don’t know what I’d be doing right now without you.  You keep me honest, you keep me present, you keep me from slipping away to numbness.  You are all so loved by me.  I hope you can feel it.  You’ve helped a lonely woman in great pain with your words.  I know you’re helping another woman through her pain.  You are wonderful and brilliant and are reminding me that relationships can be a fortress of love, not just an attacking army.  I don’t have to know your faces to know your friendship.

I don’t want to be alone.