*this one is going to go through many drafts – the love is different and I can’t seem to figure out how to capture that – it’s not in-love-still love – it’s the because we loved so intensely the love never quite goes away kind of love; and neither of us is trying to reconcile or do anything with it… so, apparently this one is still hard to share because of the strange loyalty I have to this man, and I don’t know how to balance the act of turning away from someone who caused legitimate pain, with the reality that I do know he’ll always feel a certain way about me, and I about him, and we are both finally in places (I think) that we are fine with that – we both choose that…
(Brandi Carlisle – The Eye)
Sometimes loving you is like being stuck in the frozen ruts of Laurel Ave, in the cold, cold winter night I know I’m stuck and my tires can’t turn away. And no matter how many years, how many empty self-promises mixed with high-potency secret pleas, I never seem to get out of those ruts. The seasons change and I have an illusion, apparently, that I can drive wherever I want. And all I crave, from deep down in my bones, is to live my life and find a love that would make Rosetti proud… Free to come as free to go… even when I meet these magical men that fly the skies and rarely share my timezone, it’s not enough, it’s not real, and that damn vulnerability has always been there. So when you come close and my heart starts to freeze, my tires get locked in that rut and I’m stuck. Going 7 miles an hour, looking straight ahead at that brick wall. And I try, I try really hard, to find the specific kind of strength and meaning to change course. But instead I close my eyes and I swear sometimes I can see the life we almost had. It catches my breath and now I pay extra close attention to who’s around me because I know they all know…. All the lovelies whom I’ve begged to keep me strong and protected. They look for those signs, like my breath getting caught and my hand sliding across my heart, ever so slightly. They listen intently to each of my words, trying to hear any signs of the love for you creeping back in.
And here is where I betray you, so when you read this or when we have those conversations that remind us of just how permanently connected we are and will always be, you know that I did leave you and I have closed off so much of me to you. I don’t want you. You are not who I chose or who I would choose. And in reality, you – not my work or my son or my dogs or my house or my insomnia or my Cancer-crab crabbiness-are the reason why I turn away from any man or almost-a-man who needs me in the way you needed me. You suffocated me. You took me for granted and you never believed in me or my dreams. Everything was you, always just you. And me? I participated in it. I lost myself. I threw pieces of me so quickly into your fire that mine nearly completely went out. I went from this wild and magnetic strange-girl who danced too much and cracked dirty jokes and could walk into a room with ease and start a conversation with whomever I wanted, to some dull, crippled closed-off robot who flinches when someone tries to touch me with any sort of meaning or emotion. That all went away when I became more focused on gaging if we’d be fucking that night by how close I was to you on the couch. Could I lean in and feel your strength or would you chip away at my need for you by making fun of how I was always hoffing you? And no matter how many nights I spent on the couch instead of in bed with you, I could never figure it out, figure out how I ended there in that way with you.
But…I know you love me. I know you will always love me, just as I will always love you. And I will never understand how you could give up on that kind of love. The kind of love that after years of being divorced and trying so many different ways to reconcile, only to nearly destroy each other time and again, the love is still very deep and connective. But we fucked it up and now I’m actually enjoying my meaningless relationships. I’m not willing to go back to you or that and be who I was, who I had become, because that is the loneliness I fear. The loneliness of being your wife. Not being alone – I can handle this. I actually enjoy this. I will continue on with my menageries while I side-step closer and closer to someone who I think is worth working through all the nasty scabby shit left over from us.
© 2016, 2017 Erin Hoffman – all rights reserved