Feel free to continue scrolling if you aren’t into nostalgic bits of melancholy.
A couple years ago, I was still reeling from a breakup with my first post-divorce relationship. It had been an on-again/off-again affair that tested me to the limits of my sanity and then some. It was probably the definition of trauma-bond if I had to put a label on it. There were lots of “Hey, you up?” and knocks at the door late at night on the times when we were off-again. We all know how that goes. But she couldn’t commit because she needed time and space and “had to process.” She explained how she had been part of a couple for twenty years and needed to find herself. She would probably never get married again anyway.
We had said our last goodbyes in January, after a three month period of distance, silence, and excuses. Her dad had gotten sick and from everything she had told me, she needed to devote her time to being with the family. Too busy to call/text/make plans. I was diligent, however.
Until I wasn’t.
At Christmas, I was tired of the excuses, and made a hard decision to say goodbye. As part of her Christmas gift, I gave her a framed picture of the two of us I had on my dresser for a while, because I couldn’t stand the sight of it anymore. The push/pull was awful. That’s an understatement, but I refuse to let her have as much credit as nearly destroying me.
Six months later, I stopped being self-destructive and I met someone.
A couple months later, on a Friday, the woman who was officially my girlfriend was waiting at my front porch for me to come home from work. When I arrived at home, I found my GF sitting on the bench outside, and a gift bag hanging on the doorknob of the house.
“You didn’t have to get me anything!” I said.
“I didn’t.” Absent was that big smile that was usually plastered on her face.
We went inside and I opened the bag. In it were two DVDs and a note in a familiar hand.
“Thank you for letting me borrow these movies, I found them while moving!” The note was signed. I had forgotten I had even let her borrow them. Two movies that could have been fished out of a bargain bin at Walmart for about $15 together.
I had a brief conversation with my GF and she could see I was upset.
“Is that from who I think it’s from?” she asked.
“Yes. And I’m pissed.”
I got that big hug I had been waiting for and an even bigger kiss.
I didn’t respond to the On/Off girl. I had no idea why she would choose that day to drop something off I didn’t want, much less remember I had. What did it mean?
Shortly after that, I found out from mutual friends that she was engaged. Had been for a couple months, which would have put her engagement at about four months after she walked out of my house for the last time. She was married a year later.
Since I am a student of the human condition, in particular her patterns–you have to be when you are trying to read someone’s mind and anticipate what you are doing wrong so they don’t ghost you. I knew that for her to get engaged, she would have had to be dating someone for a year, and the engagement would last a year before marriage. Which meant she was likely already dating this guy before I was officially out of her life. For several months, probably.
When I found that gift bag, I thought, “Here we go again” and wanted no part of it. But then I learned a whole other phenomenon. It was some odd form of closure that I’ve seen repeated again. It was a message.
Sometimes I wonder if its a cry for help or some last big hurrah. I haven’t figured that out yet.
A part of me had been optimistic, even though I was happy in my new relationship of two months, and still healing from that situationship that had been nearly four years of anxiety-inducing madness. But it meant the opposite of what I thought it did. It really meant “Look at me! Now that you looked, fuck you.” For somebody who prided themselves on not having a “Potty mouth” it sure felt like a giant “Fuck you.” It hurt, a lot. It’s hard to articulate it really. So, now I know that sometimes words have two meanings. Gestures have two meanings. And you can read them in a few ways. And even though I have been known to keep my hopes up, I also know that hope is my kryptonite.
Words should mean something, and we only get this life once. Make them count. Try to make them beautiful. Even if they are dripping in pain.
Just some thoughts for a quiet Saturday night. Still working on that peace, though I find myself alone again. Some days are easier than others. Anyway, this song sums up that feeling a lot better than I can tonight. Enjoy.