Bent Words

Bent Words

October 17, 2010

So The Boy has met A Girl.

Just as I thought.

"Low key," he said. "Have to play fair."

I have no idea what that means, the playing fair part, but since it took him three months (or, rather, three months for me to ask him directly) to let me in on the reasons for his absence in the first place, I think I'll not pursue this one further. He can have his 'fair game.' I think I'm done playing.

The initial confession left me with tears in my eyes.

I had a good cry when I got home from work.

We lived together for two years, parted on somewhat congenial terms and have been hanging out together one or twice a week ever since. We've enjoyed bike rides, late nights playing darts, ice cream, race weekends, fish fries and crappy movies. But that's about it. A cure for boredom, an easy gathering, a convenient getaway. And I'm not knocking any of this -- I had a great time and was happy to have him around -- but compared to what we were when we were living together, well, there just isn't any comparison.

We used to be straight up happy. To be around each other, to do things for each other, to be a part of the other person's life. He created fantastic meals and I wrote Cloud 9 stories. He bought me flowers when I was recovering from surgery and I bought him new helmets and filters and gloves for his birthday. He convinced me to cuddle and I convinced him to kiss me. We even talked about marriage and babies and houses...

But it didn't take long for things to deteriorate.

Despite being, for the most part, an open book, he could not help looking for things. Anything that would exonerate me from the pedestal he had put me on. He ran through my emails, read through my stories, browsed through my history. At first he found little things to fault me for. Each of these things were like little weights being added to my ankles each day. So slow was the accumulation that I didn't even realize I was dragging. I tried to remove these weights, I tried to compromise (perhaps not as eagerly as I could have) but then came the big boulder. The one giant weight he placed on my shoulders that I just could not shake off. And it seemed, after that, I was much too heavy for him to replace me upon that pedestal. There was simply no way for me to retain my spot upon that high place in his mind -- I had fallen in his eyes.

I tried to regain my former position. I wanted to once again look over my shoulder to see him smiling at me with pride and joy. I wanted him to still get irked when I neglected to greet him at the door with a giant hug and a kiss. I wanted him to talk to me as he used to, discussing all sorts of everything, from the smallest details to the grandest dreams. I wanted him to be the man I fell in love with. But all of that was so suddenly gone. He had put up such a grand wall between us that, no matter where or when or how often I looked for a crack, there was just no getting through.

Occasionally, after I asked him to move out and we had had some time put between us, I would see glimpses of his former self. He would come over with a pile of groceries upon spotting the bareness of my cupboards. He would take the car to get an oil change and surreptitiously leave money for me in my change jar. He would even take hold of my hand in the middle of the night or smile innocently (without an ounce of the disdain hiding deep inside that I had been accustomed to) at me from across the room. These reminders of the beautiful person I know him to be kept me going. But they were barely visible through the dark clouds of accusation he held knit in his brow most of the time. And it became painfully apparent when I compared the way he spoke to me, with thick overtones of recrimination, to how he spoke to others, with softened and inviting features and without an ounce of invective.

I felt always judged, always looked down upon, always taken for granted. No more did I feel in any way esteemed or regarded. No more did he call to inquire as to how I was doing. No birthday greetings or "hope you're feeling betters" when I was sick. It wasn't as though he wanted to be with me -- it was just as though he didn't want to go out to dinner alone, spend a whole weekend by himself, play darts without a partner, sit solo in the theater. I was just a warm body who would unfailingly relish whatever he had to say about himself. And he would hold onto that quite nicely until someone else, anyone else, sat down next to him to occupy his attention.

And how is that fair?

Why should I feel so badly for having lost that? I'm not, really. I'm sad for having lost the person he once was, not the person he has become (with me). I'm sad I couldn't get that person back. I'm selfishly sad that I won't be asked out to dinner. That I won't be able to see him sitting at my computer with that kid grin spread across his face as I round the corner. That I won't be attending the next race with him and the crew or have an answer when someone asks how he's doing. I'm sad that I fucked up but even more sad that he couldn't find forgiveness in his heart.

But I'm not remiss for the daily judgments. The unbending and adolescent selfishness of his form when he doesn't get his way. His refusal of sucking up, for another's sake, the things he doesn't like and the list of things he doesn't like changing on a perpetual whim. I won't miss him borrowing money for toys when he makes twice as much money as I do. I won't his condescension for the foods I like, the music I enjoy, the people I care about, the activities I'm open to. I won't miss his 360 from nice guy to dumb dick (because, really, babe -- you're wrong -- you don't get more by being a dumb dick). How he somehow turned everything around as though strictly to hurt me. How he mysteriously went from insisting that I cuddle with him to not wanting to at all, how he went from needing kisses to not liking to, how went from needing me to show him I need him to not needing anything himself. He made his point, over and over, that he could hurt me despite being so betrayed that I had hurt him, without intent. So I won't miss that, my biggest pet peeve, the hypocrite.

But I do hope it's different this time. I hope he finds happiness. I hope he keeps his heart and his mind open. I know he can initially open the door to let in the possibilities but I hope he can keep it unblocked by past pains long enough to find true contentment. I hope he can compromise and empathize, live and let live, accept that which he cannot change. I hope, above all, he can climb the hills despite the (at once) seemingly impossible struggles to see the beauty on the other side. I hope he reads the story thoroughly, without only picking out the errors, and reads it all the way to end.

Because, if he can, that Girl's gonna be one lucky lady.

Written at 9:42 a.m.