I miss him.
I'm not consumed by pain, I don't sob daily like I did last summer after he broke up with me definitively and cruelly. In many ways I feel relief more than anything. I'm no longer pretending to myself that it is going to work. I'm no longer trying to squelch those nagging doubts that said things would never change, that he would finish - someday - and still not be ready for a full relationship. He may just be one of those guys - the "confirmed bachelors" who were that way not because they were gay but because something else, indefinable, stood in the way.
It's all speculation, of course. But no matter how close we were - and yes, I still believe there was something between us that was beautiful and extraordinary and that leaves me in awe when I think about it - he held something back. Or so it seemed. And it made me reach out for it in a way that drove him nuts and that made me increasingly irrational and needy.
And eventually I started doubting what I felt. Not that it had been. But that it was still there.
I thought I could do it. I really did. I thought my love was a bulb, with all that food stored up down inside that would help it survive a long winter deprived of attention and connection. I thought it would go dormant, and dormant plants don't need that much water. But I was wrong. Or maybe I was right in principle but this particular bulb, having been deprived for so long, needed a little more water than it was getting. And a little food.
The birthday present was food.
The birthday call was food.
The occasional e-mail volleys were water.
But they just weren't enough.
And then (and this is the real reason I'm beating up on myself, gang, and you do have to allow me this one, we need to be kind to each other, he really didn't deserve this) I wasn't strong enough to say "this isn't working." I couldn't say that without enough contact - even just a few more e-mails - it was slipping away from me. So I moaned and groaned until finally he said enough.
But I miss him . . .
I was driving to a friend's house early this evening to feed her kittens (if he's reading this, which I don't think he is, he'll know whose house I mean). And there was this most amazing sun. It hung just a little above the horizon, a brilliant red, so intense, the fire of passionate love, burning straight ahead of me . . . and I couldn't help thinking that I wanted to write him about it, I wished I could have taken a picture to send him, I forgot I have a phone with a camera.
When there is something beautiful
when there is something funny
when there is something glorious
he is the one I want to share it with.
I still picture us curled up on the couch together. I still cherish the memories of his visits here. But they don't hurt in the same way. Because I've stopped denying the reality that was staring me in the face - the very strong suspicion that he would never be back down here. That he would never allow me to come up and visit. I've accepted that it wasn't going to work, that for whatever reason it wasn't going to work, between personal realities and life realities it just wasn't going to work. He was smarter about that than I was. He knew.
So I've accepted the reality.
But I keep wishing that one day we will be able to be friends, without hoping for more.
And meanwhile, here and there, now and then, I do miss him.