Given my history I am not predisposed to sitting in a state of unknown. I was in flux one way or another for four years and while I got a lot of work done and in the end came out fairly grounded in a lot of ways, the price was tremendous. I came out wary and mistrustful.I am also just out of a fairly long term state of ambiguity which was escalating to the point of being nearly unbearable, at least for me and probably for him as well. When I got the email last week the first thing I did was remove the Facebook relationship status. I notice what I didn't do was change it to single. I didn't change it to single because I am not. Single indicates available and that I am most assuredly not. You just don't go from being in a committed relationship to, NEXT! The one thing that bothers me about Facebook and relationship statuses is if you don't list one, if you've just changed from something to nothing, I'm pretty sure it lists it as 'Ask me'. Don't fucking ask me. If it was any of your business I would have put it out there.
I also didn't read his email very closely. Well that's not true. I did read it well enough to recognize that he was saying some of the things he'd been saying earlier, they just weren't things I was willing to accept in a relationship and I'm still not. I'm not doing anything half way and I'm not backing up and to be honest I don't think that's what he needs either and that's all I have to say about that because this is really his business. I read and processed as much as I needed to know it was time to go. My response mechanism was normal and right; get the hell out. This isn't working anymore. Somebody leaves you because they need something else right now and you bloody well better take care of yourself. I didn't do that last time. Last time I was also married. I am not married. I have been in a long term committed relationship and the guy did not leave me because he doesn't love me and doesn't want to be with me. What he did was remarkably responsible and it would have been far worse if he'd done it later.
What he has asked in a round about sort of way, because I think asking it directly might have been too much is that I remain open while doing whatever I need to take care of myself.
My first response was, I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS!!!!
(leave me alone, go away, stop talking to me, don't ask anything of me, I can't even look at you, why do you even THINK I would talk to you?)
I did some funny things. I did some not so good things. I did some what the hell were you thinking things that I managed to extricate myself from. I had to call him right before I was leaving with Elizabeth on Saturday morning to tell him what the hell I'd done because it had the possibility of erupting if I didn't. He wanted to know why. This could have gone either direction. Technically I had every right to tell him it was none of his business but given the nature of our relationship, there's that word, we don't lie to each other and we don't withhold. We might be careful what we ask, but we don't withhold. Well, I might be careful what I ask. So I worked my way through why I did what I did and I was as truthful as I could be and I didn't feel very good about myself. I have always been under the impression that if I were to be somewhat intimate, I'm not sure where the line is with him but I'm pretty sure it's a lot further out than mine or at least that was my impression...somewhat intimate with someone else that he wouldn't react all that strongly and this has always been worrisome to some extent. Sort of a half in half out kind of thing I guess. Or, I'm so enlightened you pretty much do whatever you want and I'm fine. I don't really know. Anyway, I always felt that the level of monogamy we had was driven by me and there might have been some resentment or even misunderstanding. I know at one point there truly was. I may never really know. I hadn't expected him to react so strongly. I didn't actually do anything, I just reached out and took a phone call. I thought about it. It had the possibility of becoming very public information.
Of course he reacted. Why wouldn't he? I have him in this box called distanced, invulnerable, and emotionally unavailable. That's not actually the truth.
Elizabeth and I got in her dad's car and were driven to the train station. I explained a little why I had to make the phone call and tried to stop crying. They've both been very gentle. During the weekend I was willing to communicate what I was feeling by email and this was hard because I'm also not really ready to listen and I've been clear about that. I don't even know if he has anything to say. I was mostly talking about my grief, things I'd never said to David because I'd never really stopped to examine directly all the small things I was losing. I'd never really acknowledge them as if they were real; I was always in resistance. I did this in the hotel bathroom on Saturday night. Later Cielo sent something and I passed it on because it was true and it was relevant. The thing is, from his distance he's able to receive better than he ever was. I don't know if that's epically sad or hopeful.
Last night when I was terribly tired after a great many text messages I took a terrible risk and asked if he'd like to talk to me. This is something he used to do that drove me batshit and I managed to get him to stop. I said, if you want to talk to me then say so. Tell me you'd like to talk to me because otherwise you're putting it on me and not telling me directly that you want to talk to me and I feel badly after awhile and this really was all about risk. I wasn't willing to say, I want to talk to you. I was willing to say, I will be willing to talk to you if you want to talk to me and this is REALLY FUCKING SCARY. And I don't have an agenda. I really didn't. Ailish had a meltdown and went to sleep at 9:30. There was a 2 hour delay because of our usual ration of Monday snow but she's got a sore throat this morning and it's just as well she's sleeping it off anyway. So after her meltdown I needed to just sit in quiet and finish last night's post and think about why I wanted that phone call.
Which, by the way is not a phone call. It is Facetime. There's a big difference between hearing a disembodied voice and seeing their face. I was vaguely thinking about what I wanted while I worked my way through that post and writing about sitting on the steps while the man sang to me. You know, anybody who trash talks NYC can just go to hell and I am laughing as I type this. I have been to a great many places in the US and around the world and I have experienced openness in some truly unexpected places and circumstances (Nazareth in 2005 right before the bombing comes to mind) but I don't believe I've ever had a complete stranger, street performer who's putting himself out there, really out there lord knows how many hours, days, weeks, months with this unbelievable voice at the foot of the steps leading up to The Met and his bag held only change so this has to wear on you and dropping paper into that bag might be enough to cause him to look up but not enough to cause him to really look. To look good and hard and a woman sitting in front of him and change everything he was doing because of what he saw. I could have been crying for any number of reasons with my daughter 40 feet away and 16 or so steps up. Three heartbreaking love songs later we thanked each other and I got up to leave. As I was walking up those steps he shifted into
Oh, what a night, late December back in '63
What a very special time for me
As I remember what a night!
Oh what a night,
You know I didn't even know her name
But I was never gonna be the same
What a lady, what a night!
Oh, I got a funny feeling when she walked in the room
And I, as I recall it ended much too soon
And I walked through the doors. The man's got a gift.
I was vaguely thinking about what I wanted and I'm still hearing that man sing. I thought I wanted to hear the end of or more of the story he'd been reading to me but I'm just not there at the moment and that seemed almost like covering the truth with a blanket, like an agenda and there couldn't be an agenda.
So I finally went down the hall and sent the message that I was ready for that phone call and that Facetime and the phone did ring and I did answer it and my phone tells me that call last one hour and eighteen minutes.I don't recall we said a lot initially. I know it was extraordinarily intimate and I said so at one point and he said something about glass being between us and I said it didn't actually matter. I don't know if he can hear that or not; this just may be another difference between us or a place he's in and a way I am and I don't know it matters and at one point I looked at him and the only thing I could say was OK. I can't really tell you what OK means because there isn't anything concrete. You start getting concrete and you end up with ambiguity again.
I was thinking about some things some people said to me and I didn't really hear about hoping it would work itself out and something about being open to possibility which is very different than waiting.
This is a gap. It's a huge gap and by gap or living in the gap I mean that when you want to get from one place to another and you can't possibly see how you're going to get there you step into that gap and you have at least some level of belief that you're going to get there even though you have absolutely no idea how. This sort of gap really has no expectation. I only know that I love him. I don't even know when I'll talk to him again. I could experience enough anxiety over the whole thing that I need to turn my face away entirely. I don't have a clue. What I do know is that neither of us has a road map. He hasn't asked a damn thing of me. We've only agreed on one thing. And it started like this, I said, if you hurt me, I'm out of here. He said that goes both ways. Nobody is interested in anyone else at the moment. We don't know anything except he is where he is today.
There are no promises, just possibilities.
And I do know this, how he was before he sent that email wasn't working. He wasn't grounded and he wasn't clear and he hadn't done the work he needed to do when he lost himself in the first place. People get lost all the time and not so good things happen. Sometimes they can find themselves again inside a relationship and sometimes they cannot.
Oddly, this might be the most clarity I've had in a very long time and I can't even begin to explain that. Seriously. I am clear that I know nothing or very little. I am clear that I love the man. I am clear that I am open to possibility. I am clear that there are no expectations. I am clear that I am beginning to breathe again. Please don't ask me for anything else.
I do know that I have no regrets. It's possible I might but that's the whole business with risk. Lot's of things are possible.
Thanks for this, Cielo. This version, specifically.