I went home today to start cleaning up the glass. I noticed you still had a load of laundry in the washer and another in the dryer.
I walked around desperately searching for clues to the fight you believe we had on Thursday morning. A fight which never happened, because I was never there.
The truth is I will never know what this imaginary fight was about. I’m trying to make peace with “not knowing”.
I knew anger would be one potential reaction to my withdrawal. I knew, whether you admitted it or not, you would feel abandoned by me. It didn’t matter how many times I said I wasn’t leaving you – I was leaving the situation. It didn’t matter that I kept checking on you – almost every night. Except that night.
I knew you would be expecting me. I knew you needed me there – even if you never asked. I knew you were scared about your meeting the next day, scared about your future. I knew you would do whatever you could to numb yourself. I didn’t anticipate you would believe I was there anyway.
I should have been. I should have been there.
Of all the mistakes I’ve made (and there have been many), not listening to my gut that night may have been the worst. The other night you apologized for starting “the fight” with me back in October. A fight we continued to have in various forms for the next 4 months. You said you were sorry for doing that – sorry for ruining us.
I’m sorry too. I’m sorry I wasn’t there when I knew you needed me. I’m sorry I let you deflect vulnerability with humor or anger. I’m sorry I wasn’t stronger.
We haven’t lived together in 21 days. In the last 3 weeks, I have spent one night in my own bed. You have spent one night here in this bed with me. Beyond that, we have only fought. You have said horrible and beautiful things in equal measure. You have attacked me personally with words so sharp they cut like diamonds on glass. And, at the same time, you have said the things my heart longed to hear.
I haven’t hurt you with words. But I have hurt you with my actions. Your mother told me recently “He is allowing himself to risk vulnerability…that is huge because it’s very frightening, especially to someone who most often chooses to numb out against the fear and pain that comes with living”. I was not a good steward of your feelings or of your vulnerability. Not because I didn’t care, but because I was confused by what would be in your best interest.
Saturday I was scared and bewildered. Scared because the last time we were intimate – you freaked out. I told you I wouldn’t – I couldn’t go there with you again. Even if I wanted to. I was too afraid of what might happen next. You told me you had thought about things for a long time. You apologized for pushing me away, for that first terrible fight months ago. I knew it wasn’t safe. I knew all those feelings would be too much for you. Still, I went there with you.
I’m not sorry for that night. I will never be sorry for any moment spent naked in your arms. I am sorry for repeating the same pattern of “perceived abandonment” in the days that followed. I tried to overcompensate for my actions with emails declaring my love and support. I hugged you as long as I could on Tuesday morning as you were leaving for work because a part of me knew in all probability it might be for the last time.
One of the reasons I never say the kind of cruel things you say, is because somewhere in the back of my mind I always know whatever I say could be the last thing I ever say to you. Granted, tomorrow isn’t promised for any of us. With you though, every moment feels like…has felt like…life or death.
90 days. I sent you an email telling you I would go no contact for 90 days. That this is as much for me as it is for you. I have issues of my own to deal with. I don’t want you to be reminded of me – so I took the steps necessary to make sure you wouldn’t have to encounter me – even by accident.
In the meantime, “Thank you for a frightening, confusing, strange and dangerous time. What more could a girl ask for?”
I love you Coleman.
P.S. “Why do we have to take something so far that it can’t be taken back? I’ll tell you why – because we’re young, and when you’re young, every little thing seems so big.” — C