I was interrupted several times with mundane things. I have no idea how long this took me.
If I could do it again...
I'd have told you what was on my mind, really on my mind, when I left. Our relationship, I'm sure you would agree, had been in fizzle mode for a long time. Remember when we were really in love. We were. I tried to deny it later, but what kind of idiot would I have been to have spent nearly a decade with you, if there hadn't been love. I'm not an idiot. We loved each other. We, I'll say we, were weak perhaps, unable to deal with the rigors of life and sustain that love, but once we did love each other.
When it seemed like love faded, we were still friends. As we felt the relationship change though, we still knew it was special. And even though we were strangely phobic of any official commitment, we treated the relationship as an entity to itself. To which we were committed, even if we didn't call it that. But we knew it had value even when we were slipping away from what we had in the beginning.
Later, when we'd suffered to many unresolved diagreements, and there was too much anger for friendship to survive, we still had respect. What kept us together? I tried so many times to break up, to accuse you of inattention, lack of caring, neglect that was too mindless to even be callous. I'd get to your apartment, irate because you hadn't called for days, and I'd find you in bed, with a fever and chills. A highly esteemed professional with chronic recurrent mono, able to function fully when work needed you, but at many other times, you were struck with fatigue and fever. Every single time I took the elevator up, planning to break up, I'd find you prostrate.
Except for the time I was again, plotting the end of us, and I ended up in the emergency room, death standing just beyond the circle working around the table on which I lie. When I was recovering, you carried me to your bed and cared for me like a precious treasure. So again, I changed my plans, and decided to stay.
I guess I needed a good kick in the butt to end things. And finally, you came through. I said nothing when you did what you did. I knew then that the respect was gone, and the relationship was truly over. I had an early morning and a busy day to follow, and was leaving for a conference after that, so why would I stay up deconstructing, when the only purpose in deconstructing is to prepare for reconstruction. Besides, for the first time since I was 9 months old and spoke my first word, I was speechless with disbelief over what your betrayel. The malice hurt much more coming from someone I'd trusted years of my life to, than from a stranger. It was truly over, over, over. All I wanted to do was get away, and when I was there, I would figure out how to end it smoothly and definitively. Even though you hurt me deeply, I felt no need to hurt you back. All I wanted was the end.
When I got back from my trip, I called you and said I had to talk to you about something. That way, even if you were sick, you would know I had something to say. That also bound me in a way, to keep me from chickening out. I mentioned that several times as we talked over the week. I also found out your exact schedule for Friday, well, as exact as it could be considering they abused your work ethic and always kept you more hours rather than send someone to relieve you. We talked Friday afternoon, here we go again, “They think I have testicular torsion. I talked to a friend in urology, and he said, if I'm not better by later tonight, I should call him to meet me in the ER.”
Well, I figured, I'll go to the ER with him, but I'm breaking up with him first.
Evening came and I took a big bag onto the commuter train. I scheduled my arrival to be before you got back to your apartment, so that I could clean out the relatively few posessions I had there, considering we'd been together 9, yes nine, years. By the time you came home, my bag was packed and I'd been waiting awhile. You were almost doubled over, walking with a limp, hand to crotch. You looked so pitiful, not just the testicle thing, but your hair was uncombed and you were dressed sloppily, and I realized how much weight you'd gained of late, though your nordic track was quite busy – holding your clothes. This job is killing you, I'd have said if I wanted to get off track. Stand up to them. Leave! Take care of yourself. Get a life!
But I wasn't there to rehabilitate. So I got to business. I have to tell you something. When my brief statement was over, he looked at me, and said, sounding disappointed, “I thought you were going to tell me you were sick.”
I was incensed, how could he sound like he was hoping I was sick?? That I should be sick rather than for him to lose his good time girl.
I suceeded in being succinct and I was heading for the door, big bag over my shoulder. “I'll walk you out,” No thanks, I'm fine. “Tell me what you want, and I'll do it.” I kept walking. As if it was that simple, and if it was, yeah, for about 5 minutes until you have me back. Now that I'd really had the fire lit under my butt, it took me 9 minutes to end 9 years.
Why didn't I say what was on my mind? Why didn't I tell him what the last straw was on the back of the feeble camel that had been our relationship. Because it was pointless to discuss it, it was done, and it wasn't like I wanted to work it out. Because I didn't want to give anything that faintly resembled a signal this was negotiable. I didn't want to give him any loose ends he might try to call me to pick up. I didn't give him credit to understand what I was feeling, and it was pointless to end up trying to explain. I didn't want another minute in his company.
Years later, after I'd long forgiven him, forgiven myself, I wonder if I'd have healed faster if I'd at least vented to him. Then, even if he hadn't gotten it then, it might have hit him later.
Maybe, in one of the many nights that has passed in the 12 years since this happened he has, on his own. I've only been feeling that way since my recent revelations. I'd thought him angry with me, angry with our lack of communication, angry at my independence, angry at where the years had taken us, and I felt he lashed out at me in anger he could no longer hide in detachment. Now I know that may well have been true, but underneath his anger there may have lay grief over what was, and an unconscious desperation to push our relationship another way.
He didn't think I was going to tell him I was sick. He thought I was going to tell him I was pregnant.
Just weeks ago, dreams in the safe place of my husband's arms brought me to a time long before. Now I realize that I was very caught up in your not understanding what I would say. But the truth was, I didn't understand what to say. Had I said any more than I did, my words would only have fallen on the the angry man, not the spirit within.
Now I would know to speak to both, though the angry man would argue with me on technicalities. He would say that I completely misconstrue his motives, and grossly distort his actions. But perhaps the spirit would have heard me.
I would not have cringed at sitting close to you. I would have truly reached for you from the heart, instead of out of ceremony. I would have said ...
... and it would have fallen on incredelous ears. You'd have thought me delusional. I was right to do as I did.
But I can say it now. The spirit can still hear me. And maybe your spirit will tell it to you in a way better than I ever could, so that you will understand and begin to find the peace that escaped you.
I remember our fierce love. It slipped away so slowly, we didn't notice. One day it was just gone, and we never told it goodbye. So slowly, I began to turn from you. I am so, so sorry that life failed to deliver what seemed to be glorious promises - again. And that made everything for you futile. I know you reel with anger at the injustice. I also know you have unfathomable grief at what you've lost, and lost again. Inside, you were dying, and you made a desparate grasp for life. You weren't acting out of malice, you were doing the only thing possible, within your humanity, to take your family back.
Now I feel that I could have held you one last time as I said goodbye, close enough to let our tears mix before they fell from our faces.
Then I move back from him. My voice turns hard.
But none of that, none of that, and I am screaming now, I am in his face, pointing an accusing finger, none of that, gave you the right to rape.