a reckless careening of emotions and actions

That’s how you described your­self, soon after your dad died. A girl lost in grief, try­ing to drink and smoke and work and fuck her way out. Living her life like she was the only one who had­n’t fig­ured out what to do with it.

It’s hard to imag­ine you being so sad once. Or sad at all, and secure enough to admit lone­li­ness. You even had the objec­tive­ness to know that you shrank from oth­ers even though you did­n’t make your­self hap­py. That’s why I keep going through these entries in your old blog. Not just a dream jour­nal, but a jour­nal of dreams. Before you became trapped in a domes­tic life and your heart turned into a lump of stone.

Yet seeds of mis­trust were already in bloom by then. You wrote about being hurt and angry when a friend left Japan with­out say­ing good­bye, but did­n’t have the com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills or con­fi­dence to voice that to her. And, fail­ing to grow or learn from those kinds of expe­ri­ences, came to expect aban­don­ment in every rela­tion­ship before mid­dle age.

Perhaps I should­n’t be sur­prised that the man you end­ed up with was so des­per­ate for com­pan­ion­ship, he pro­posed to the first per­son who did­n’t reject him. A man so scared of dying by him­self, he’ll nev­er leave you. Even if you can’t give him the fam­i­ly he wants. Even after blam­ing him for your infi­deli­ty.

I could­n’t under­stand why you decid­ed to be with a per­son who does­n’t give you a deep­er sense of ful­fil­ment, until I real­ized you’re both will­ing­ly ignor­ing your incom­pat­i­bil­i­ties to avoid being alone.

If only you did­n’t com­pro­mise your very nature for that sense of secu­ri­ty, or give up your pas­sions and plea­sures and poten­tial to cope with the uncer­tain­ty that goes along with a life worth pur­su­ing. To love is to risk not being loved in return, so you chose not to love — not in any pro­found, life-alter­ing man­ner — and became a vic­tim of your own fear.

That’s how I know you did­n’t shed a sin­gle tear after you dumped me. You were mov­ing on and mak­ing plans when I was reel­ing and sick with grief. Acting as if the deci­sion was mutu­al or equal­ly dif­fi­cult for both of us did­n’t make it true. I have to won­der if you took my polite­ness for abso­lu­tion and for­give­ness; by now, I’ve been through enough breakups to know how to leave the room with a lit­tle dig­ni­ty.

Still, every day is a strug­gle to keep you out of mind after sur­viv­ing for years on the affec­tion we shared. You made me a pri­or­i­ty when I des­per­ate­ly need­ed to be impor­tant to some­one, and I final­ly found an appro­pri­ate out­let for all the love that nev­er had a place. I can’t help but miss you when you were a habit I indulged for so long. Now I feel fool­ish for think­ing those moments meant the same thing to you. For believ­ing you’d be in my life for­ev­er.

That’s why I keep com­ing back to these old entries, when you rocked that bob1, and still had some child-like sense of vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty. It’s eas­i­er to for­give myself for being so blind when I remem­ber how cap­ti­vat­ing you were when bar­ing your­self to some unknown audi­ence. At one point, you even wished des­per­ate­ly for some­one to know every­thing about you; most of all, your needs and wants and sex­u­al pro­cliv­i­ties. The pos­si­bil­i­ty that it may nev­er hap­pen left you ter­ri­fied, but being afraid meant you still believed it was pos­si­ble.

My cri­te­ria for a mean­ing­ful life are: to cre­ate some­thing (and be rec­og­nized), to do some­thing that has­n’t been done, to advance human civ­i­liza­tion, or to become rich.

No won­der I believed you were meant to be and do more. You once had astro­naut ambi­tions; now you’re a slave to your cer­ti­tudes, while the most basic parts of your life remain a strug­gle. That’s why I look for refuge in the words of the per­son you used to be. A way of remind­ing myself of the hope I saw you. In us.

After all, it was nev­er a mis­take to love you. You were a risk worth tak­ing from the start, even if you did­n’t believe so your­self. It only would have been a mis­take to keep lov­ing you after you expect­ed me to set myself on fire to keep you warm.

  1. You com­plained about it being too short, but I think it was adorable, and wish I had got­ten pic­tures of my own. Also the rea­son why I’ve been crush­ing on the dark-haired cutie from this music video ever since I came across it. []

2 comments

  1. Hey, I’ve been a long­time read­er of your blog. I hope you’re doing okay.

    • Thank you, I appre­ci­ate your con­cern.

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