It’s better this way

Two years ago today was the last time I saw my last girlfriend in person. We continued to talk for another six weeks, but the pandemic would have other things to say about that. It’s hard to believe it has been two years. I think many of us feel like those two years have been robbed from us.

That isn’t why I’m posting tonight. I decided to post for other reasons, but I looked up at the date on my computer and noticed that it was March 13th.

She and her parents and brother were supposed to drive to Tucson to see her son, who was in the Air Force. It was the beginning of lockdowns and I had been invited to go, but they weren’t supposed to come back until the middle of the following week. I was expecting my son to come back and I didn’t feel comfortable with letting his mom keep him for another couple of days. Give her an inch and she’ll take a mile.

As it turned out, my ex-wife kept him for another two weeks because she convinced herself that he had Covid. Back then, it was called Coronavirus. Of course he didn’t have it. Only a small percentage of the country had it back then. It was supposed to be two weeks to “flatten the curve.” She just had a convenient excuse to fuck with me. Probably the only thing that ever motivates her to get off the couch.

My former girlfriend and I had to cancel our trip to the UK that May. The 1940s Ball was also canceled. She had just bought an adorable dress from British Retro. It was a Way Out West with a flamingo print. We broke up on April 30 after a couple very long phone calls. She didn’t see any other way around it. There was a lot of drama in my life. Right person. Wrong time.

The last night I saw her in person, we watched TV together. She lay her head in my lap as we sat on the couch and I brushed her hair for about an hour. It was getting late, and she had an early morning to get up and drive a thousand miles to see her son. It was starting to snow that night and she knew I would worry if the roads got bad; it was an hour drive home for her.

She learned that lesson the hard way when she had driven home one night from my place and didn’t call when she got in. She had gotten intercepted by her parents (she had moved back to Colorado and was living at home again) and didn’t have a chance to call me to let me know she was home. She wasn’t picking up her phone either. An hour and a half had passed and the weather was getting bad. So, I got in my car and started driving down to her place. About halfway there, I got the call from her, apologizing for not calling me right away. I told her I was glad she was safe. I turned around and drove back home. I would have driven all the way to her front door, looking for her car in a ditch the entire way.

I’m that kind of boyfriend.

This night, March 13th, 2020, as the snow fell like slush from the sky, I kissed her one last time through the window of her car and watched her drive away, those red tailights winking out as she turned the corner from my house, headed to the highway. I never would have thought that would be our last kiss. We talked on the phone every night for the next six weeks. At the end, I could feel a change in us. She began to pull away. She had her reasons. Reasons that it has taken me nearly two years to come to terms with and accept as valid.

It still kills me that was our last goodbye. One of the last things we said to each other was “I love you.”

My life has been an adventures since then, with many changes. People coming into my life and leaving again. I have tried to open my heart again since then, but it didn’t work out. I’m sorta done, to be honest. I write my stories. I work on my career. My mental health. I’ve been published since then and moved. The place we had our last kiss is now someone else’s house. The park bench is still in front of my old house where we used to smoke cigars and listen to music in front of the firepit.

Tonight, melancholy has its grip on me, but in a good way. After all, I write stories that will break your heart. I remember one day, she had read one of my blog posts from 2019, writen just before we started dating. She had gone back and read almost everything I had written by the time. She knew me in ways I would never get to know her back. At least she knew my writing, which has a certain measure of artistic license. It is an aspect of yourself. Personal in some ways, and total bullshit in others.

She told me the post she had read made her cry. I didn’t look at this as a way to throw on the brakes, but as a good sign that I had touched someone emotionally, deep down inside. She told me it was beautiful, but heartbreaking. Maybe I shouldn’t have written it. In getting to know others, you leave yourself vulnerable to them. You risk handing them a part of your soul and maybe one day, that last long kiss farewell turns into goodbye and you don’t even know it at the time. They keep that piece of you, and you keep a piece of them.

I wonder at what point will I give everything away of myself and have none left. Tonight, I think I’m coming pretty close.

The last time I kissed someone was July 4th Weekend, 2021, and I made a fool out of myself. I kept coming back for one last kiss until she finally told me to get in the car and go, scolding me a little bit and trying not to laugh. I had a long drive to get back home. It was the last weekend where anything made any sense. I won’t get into it tonight, but after that, the rest of my world came crashing down. She was gone too, not long after.

The world is full of nightmarish absurdities, regrets, last looks, and such clarity of hindsight.

I don’t have much hope for finding someone anymore. I’ve been lucky to have loved hard and with my whole heart, even if it didn’t last. To live in that moment is something that words cannot capture. And I should know, since my job is to catch dreams with words and make them tangible.

If there is a Heaven, and I’m lucky enough to get in, I could think of a few perfect days I would like to live over and over again. Maybe that is what I’ve been doing, since even during those last moments, something deep inside of me was whispering “Enjoy this, Clinton, while it lasts.”

The rest is just filler, preamble, to let you understand and appreciate those moments that get to last forever.

4 thoughts on “It’s better this way

  1. This was rather heartbreaking to read. Don’t ever stop being vulnerable. The last person who truly broke my heart wouldn’t open his because he wouldn’t allow himself to be vulnerable. Don’t ever stop being you, Clinton.

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