Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The hand of friendship

Last Saturday, I wrote: "I cried every day while I was away, and other losses make me cry for him more. I miss him and love him and were he to reach out a hand in friendship I would take it in mine."

On Monday, I let him hear me cry.
He did reach out his hand in friendship.
And last night we talked.

Monday was the memorial service for the woman I knew who was murdered by the Taliban. I'd been crying ever since I heard about here death, tears that swept through me on top of the ones for lost love and lost friendship. And Monday night my tears embarrassed me, since in fact I didn't know her all that well. She was a presence for me, a significant flavor from the year I spent working on and off at a place I cared about and believed in and learned so much from. A place I really wanted to stay but where ultimately there was no role for me. So I sat and cried and listened as people spoke and we drank and everyone cried and sometimes couldn't help laughing. And then I cried more because it's such a waste, that kind of loss of someone trying to do good. And it's such a waste to have a chance at happiness, a chance at love, and let it slip away, because who knows when suddenly there will be no more chances left.

And mostly, I realized, I cried because I could think of just one person in this whole fucked-up world whom I wanted to call when I got home. Whom I wanted to call right then, not even wait till I got home, whom I wanted to turn to, to cry to, who could, who used to, make me feel safe and small and owned. Whom I loved and, once, thought had said he loved me but it was so soft and my response was even softer, so that he probably didn't even hear, so he probably couldn't realize that maybe I had mis-heard him, and I never wanted to ask because I preferred to believe that he had really said it.

It had come after yet another of the times we fought our way back from his breaking up with me. I always used to fight it, to hang on, to do everything I could to persuade him. Until this time. When I knew it was no use.

But still. He was the only one I wanted as I sat there crying. And when I came home, I told my better judgment to fuck off.

"Fuck off, Better Judgment! I'm writing him."

And I did.

Yesterday, the next day, he wrote back.

We are still friends, J---. we still have that, I hope.

I will call you tonight. I want to hear about your friend.

It was hard to read, in a way.
It was hard to have him call me by my real name.
To not be called "kitten", which was all he had ever called me when not with my friends, that tore me up. But I was glad he wrote back.

Even if I would give almost anything for him to allow himself to go back to calling me kitten.

The timing was a bit odd, as I was just getting ready to go out to dinner. I said I'd e-mail when I got back, somewhat late. And a little while after I returned, he called.

He was kind, if somewhat restrained. He invited me to cry, and I took full advantage - both because of the one death and then all the deaths in the last few weeks, and then because of losing him. Because of losing faith in what I had thought we had.

There were things he had said in that last, ending e-mail that made me feel it had all been a lie, a year and a half of self-delusion. He said he had been in a very bad place when he wrote it, which of course I had known but it had all hurt so badly that I had no faith that there was or ever had been anything to try to rescue. And now I could feel it hadn't really been so much about me, it had indeed been a lot about him, and I felt a little safer.

He held back a lot. He said barely anything about himself. In a way that wasn't new, but the absence of confidences used to be filled in by playful, intense, creative, manipulations of my mind and cunt. Still, a bit of the absence was eased, a bit of the artificiality of silence was erased. He had said on July 1st that whatever happened he hoped we could remain friends, but after August 3rd, the anniversary of a beginning that was now an ending, I didn't think it was possible. I felt like an encumbrance that had been thrown away.

So now I have hope. Not of a reunion as master and kitten - because perhaps he was right all along, there is no place for a relationship in his life. Certainly not now. And sometimes I wonder if there ever will be. Though you never know. Some people just get there later than others. Even ex-hubby #2 finally fell in love and learned to sacrifice his own self-interest to make someone else happy. I don't think that's the issue with the man who made me feel that he owned and loved me. I don't think it's a question of his being selfish. I'm not quite sure what it is, and I really need to stop trying to analyze him. All I can say is that he was dear to me, and still is, and that I feel a little more whole now that we have talked and that there is the possibility of friendship and that I can e-mail him again.

Some of you were right, of course, he HAS been reading here, incognito. I asked why, and he said he wasn't really sure, except that I had been so much a part of his life for a year and a half that he just couldn't stay away. I hope he decides to take off the mask now. There's no need. I'll know he's out there whether or not I see him pop up in the stats.

And I will be open about what I'm up to, when I feel the urge to share. I need to find solace. And I need to explore. We delved into things, the philosopher and I, that were new to us both when brought into real life. And something about it works for me as more than just fun. I've learned things about myself, found things inside myself, and I want to go deeper. But I don't think I'm ready to fall in love again. Not yet. And part of me will always be looking for him in other people.

But whatever I do
and with whomever I do it
I will always be here for you
for whatever you need.
I will love you as friend
if not as a lover, and you've
met my friends,
and you know that this
is a serious vow.

PS - I didn't cry as much today...
at least not at work.
Not till I got home
and sat on the floor
feeding Marko
by your chair
and started to sob
and finally took one half
of one of the little pills
like the ones they gave me
to help me stop crying
two weeks after
September 11th.


mamacrow said...

'I asked why, and he said he wasn't really sure, except that I had been so much a part of his life for a year and a half that he just couldn't stay away.'

bingo! at least you can be assured that you were, definitely, a big part of his life. that was not a lie.

and that line about looking for him in other people - yes, I get what you mean, truly.


(and look at that! first to comment! kudos! :) )

Paul said...

Oatmeal Girl, when we have truly loved, of course we look for that in others.
Warm hugs,

oatmeal girl said...

thank you, mamacrow, for forcing me to really listen to what he said. i hope with all my heart that we are reading it accurately.

paul, i did truly love ex-hubby #2 but... well, i was going to say i try to stay away from anyone like him. but the truth is that i seem to gravitate towards those who are emotionally unavailable, which dates way back before any marriages to my father. i'm afraid i've become imprinted on them as if i were a baby duckling.

now how the hell can i be both a kitten and a duckling?!!