It is over. It is finished. I have thrown it away. Packed memories in boxes. Lit fires to pictures (also deleted and emptied recycle bin).
It’s about time.
Hey, don’t you sass me!
I’m not talking about the actual “it”. I know that we can all agree it was over some time ago. For him long before me. What I am talking about is the residual. I held on to it. Somehow, I felt, if I let the pain sit and fester then it made it worth it. I needed it all to mean something.
For old time’s sake. I will tell you the story because after this, after tonight, it ceases to exist.
…Once upon a time in a land far, far away called Pennsylvania a girl left work early on a summers Friday to go pick up a fish tank from a friend. As she walked outside she beheld a boy. He, too, was taking advantage of the summers Friday. Their eyes met, they shared words, shook hands, and parted. She spent all weekend thinking of the boy she met (only to find later, he spent his time in similar fashion). From here a romance blossomed. The girl, ever wary of her heart, nearly pulled it out roots first in the first few weeks but the boy, completely smitten, stood firm. Promised he wasn’t going anywhere. Promised he was hooked. Promised it was a love he never knew. He f**king promised!
A few months into the fairy tale they had their first fight. It wasn’t so much a fight, but her being her snarky self. He called with a thoughtful suggestion, she bitched about how long it was taking him to arrive. Joke’s on her. He never did. They didn’t speak for 4 days. That’s when it happened, actually. That’s when she fell hopelessly for him. She’d never met a man who put her in her place. She’d never met a man to tell her “That shit doesn’t fly” because it shouldn’t. You don’t get to talk to the people you love as if they belong under your thumb. Equal partners.
They made it through that fight and every day after, she knew love like she never imagined. He made her feel beautiful. He made her feel cherished. He made her feel loved. He made her feel at home. At home in her skin, in her life, in their space. It was beautiful.
love on the side of a mountain
But these things are not meant to last. They spent a beautiful New Year’s Day together, he’d had to work during the EVE but came over right after, until he got called abruptly back into work. The next day he stopped. He just stopped. The phone didn’t ring nor was it answered. Days later he entreats her to be patient he just “doesn’t feel good” and so she waits.
Two weeks go by, he comes for dinner and a beautiful night together.
Then another two weeks of silence. A blizzard then another blizzard, no calls. Never asking how she made it through the storm alone in her cabin in the woods.
Four weeks go by, he comes for dinner and a beautiful night. “I love you,” he says, “I can not put into words what you mean to me. Your patience. Your not pushing me. I don’t feel right. I feel depressed. I don’t know what I’m doing but I know that I want you. I love you. I want to be with you when I get through this. Thank you for waiting for me.”
She would have waited forever. He made her feel that good. She never knew her capacity to love, he taught her that. He made her soft. He made her feel sweet. He made her feel beautiful. She would have waited forever.
She moved into the apartment he picked out for them. She didn’t put pictures on the walls. No decorations. No knickknacks. This place wasn’t hers, it was theirs. When he got there she didn’t want him to feel like he was moving into her place, but theirs.
Three months go by, he comes for dinner and to stay for a movie. “I love you,” he says, “We will make it through this.”
Three more months, she runs into him out in the world. “What’s going on?” she asks. “Am I still suppose to be waiting?”
He replies, “I can not ask you to stay but I don’t want to lose you. I love you.”
She responds, “My life is mine as are the choices I make. If you love me and want to be with me, then I will wait for you. If you do not and are ready to move on, then say so and we will do that.”
“I love you,” he repeats.
Six months go by. Thanksgiving has come and gone without a word. Christmas is next. Then New Year’s. Then Valentine’s Day. She comes upon him, again, in the world. “What’s going on?” She asks. “What do you mean?” He replies. “I told you last time we spoke, to move on. I don’t have feelings for you any more.”
“Oh. Oh, I see” is her eloquent response. Mortified and heartbroken but determined not to show him the shattered pieces of her heart, she turns and walks away.
So there you have it. A pitiful love story. I know it seems silly. It didn’t feel silly when I was being so very brave and true and loyal to the man who taught me what it is to love without question, unconditionally. When asked “Does it make you wonder if it was ever real to begin with?” I can honestly say NO. I can not speak for him, I never could, but I know myself and I know that finding soft moments of heart swelling peace while breathing in the smell of home gave me a comfort I have never known. I loved him with everything I had to ever give anybody. The fear I harbored that I did not possess the capacity to love, is gone. I know that I do. I know that I will. I have him to thank for that.
For me now…I go back to how it is in between. I am not afraid to be alone. I like myself. I enjoy my company. I make myself laugh. I find soft moments of heart swelling peace while breathing in the smell of home when Analaigh and Rose nestle at my side and I bury my nose behind a left ear.
I have loved. I can love. I do love. I will love.
And now, I move on. Forward. Without trinkets from a past, just the lessons I learned.
Turn the page. This chapter is over.