It wasn’t an exaggeration when I told The Guy that I have thought about him every minute of every day. It was the absolute truth, and it is disturbing. It’s been fourteen weeks. Only fourteen weeks. All of fourteen weeks. Fourteen very short, very long weeks.
I can offer no explanation for my behavior. There’s nothing I can say that would tell anyone why I let him touch me the way he did, when he did, where he did. There’s nothing to justify allowing him to convince me to sneak into the never used stairwell at work to experience the first kiss with a man in my adult life, though, I suppose that experience helps to explain why I allowed him to convince me to do it again… and again, and again…
Certainly there’s nothing I could say that would make any sense out of the fact that I really did fall in love with him after just six weeks of not dating. We spoke every day during that time. Flirted at work, had short private conversations, hours long text-athons in the evenings. Back then, we really talked… or so I thought.
I tried to really explore where that feeling could be coming from. I wanted to be the first to disprove it. “I can’t love him,” I tried to tell myself, “It’s just the newness. It’s just that he’s the only person to express interest. It’s just that it’s my only shot at this.”
None of that bore out.
It had long since stopped feeling new to me. (Honestly! Has it really only been three and a half months? It seems like it’s been years.) It wasn’t that he’s the only person to express interest. It would have been more in character for me to discourage his attraction and to do my best to turn him off, than to reciprocate out of desperation, or loneliness. I thought long and hard about the fact that this was my only shot at this. I had to know that I wasn’t allowing that to affect my thinking on the subject. I had to be certain that my feelings for him were based in something more real than fear of losing my one shot. And the day I realized that I already knew I would be none the worse for the wear when this ended, that I wouldn’t have lost anything that I had before it began; that was the day I knew that what I was feeling, however absurd it may seem, however little logic there was in it, was, in fact, genuine love. And really, who says there’s any logic in love anyway. How you act on it, sure, but the feeling? Not so much. When I knew I wasn’t going to run away from this, just because it was destined to end, I knew that, for me at least, it was real.
And I still stand by all of that. But at the same time, it makes it really tough that it’s still true, even though it’s over; even though any hope that once existed for a miracle has been killed. The hope? It is bloodied and broken and lies helpless and alone in the corner of some alley where reality and certainty ganged up on it and kicked the crap out of it, before leaving it for dead. Even as I type these words, hope is breathing its last breath as it watches the puddle of blood in which it is lying, spread.
So knowing all of that, why is it that I still spend every minute of every day thinking about him? Why do his words continue to waltz across the stage of my mind, reminding me of all the questions that went unanswered and that fact, ignored. Why do I continue to search for, and yes, ask for, clarity where none can possibly exist. I know I cant trust him to give me the truth. Not that I think he sets out to be deceitful, but one minute, he’s ashamed of the truth, the next minute he doesn’t want to hurt me, the next minute he wants to push me away so he tells me things that might be the truth, but how can I be sure, because later he tells me they weren’t, that he just wanted to push me away. And really, if he wants to push me away… Why am I holding on so tightly?
This afternoon, even as I was sitting in the theater with Lil’B waiting for our movie to start, I was thinking about my conversation with The Guy on Friday evening and I thought about how badly we have communicated this entire time. He says things that are cryptic, and I don’t always ask for clarification because I know that his hold on the emotional gravity of the situation is already tenuous at best. He misinterprets my words, (which I always think are clear, but apparently are not), and rather than ask questions, he goes off on an internalized tangent of what he thinks I mean and how he should react, to satisfy me, or to push me away, depending on what seems like his best course of action at the moment.
I made my usual, pre-movie trip to the bathroom, because apparently the 11-year-old has better bladder control than I do, and I won’t make it through the movie if I don’t do my best to empty the chamber before the movie starts and then I’ll make a mad dash for the restroom again after the credits, while he stands in the corner of the restroom and waits, (after having consumed an entire vat o’ Icee). This restroom run, also gave me the opportunity to shoot off a “quick” text to the Guy wherein I established our poor communication and that I needed to be sure I had properly understood something he said on Friday. I told him to tell me the truth, because it won’t change anything at this point anyway.
“You were being dishonest with me when you said you had not ‘done anything in months’, right? You are still actively having sex with anybody who will, on a regular basis. And when I started working there, you hoped I would be one of those people. That fact that I was not going to be one of those people has not slowed you down. Did I understand you correctly?”
“No,” he answered, “I never wanted you to be in that category and I have given that life up.”
He told me on Friday that all he wanted to do was have sex. That he doesn’t want relationships or dating. Just sex. Now he says he told me that to push me away. He wasn’t after that with me. He would have pursued me differently if he had… I can’t even imagine what that would have looked like.
When I pressed him, he did admit to having had sex in the last few months. He says he has “an arrangement that is fizzling out.” but that he hasn’t pursued anything new with anyone.
Like a sucker, I listed the contradictions he’s presented on this issue, asking him what I’m supposed to believe. I wanted to know just how much of a fool I have been.
And then I told him never mind. “There’s nothing to be gained by continuing to hash this shit out.” I know how much of a fool I am. The degree of my foolishness is directly proportionate to the number of breaths hope has left. Except, it’s like someone has found hope and is attempting to administer emergency care. Hope flatlines, and gets revived and flatlines again. Some good Samaritan, determined to save hope’s life, is only prolonging the agony. Hope’s inevitable demise is still on the horizon, it’s just taking longer than it should to arrive, and I continue to be slave to the foolishness that is my heart, imagining the possibilities of something that just becomes more and more complicated and seemingly impossible by the day.
I genuinely do not know how to put a stop to it.