A million years ago….
- I kissed you in the vacant lot and ran home breathless.
- I broke your heart because I wasn’t ready.
- I thought this was what relationships were and I didn’t know this was rare and special. We danced all night. We made love and when I called it that I didn’t giggle. We said shit like “soulmates” and “forever” and I didn’t doubt for a second they were real. Nobody had ever loved like we loved. We sang songs to each other. We took baths together and sat there until we were pruny. You fucked her. And you lied. I felt worse about the lie because it meant we weren’t what I thought we were. I walked away hurt and insecure. I spent a decade feeling the image of you in an Indian blanket in our cold apartment, silent, as I dropped the key into your lap.
- I got her note. She was gone. She needed to be with him. She had a family back home. Wouldn’t I please understand?
- I fucked him at some party, the entire time wondering if the pool table took quarters… “mmmmhmm.. yes.. oh baby”.. does that pool table take quarters? What is the mechanism to drop the balls if it doesn’t take quarters?
- I wondered if she’d ever love me back.
- I wanted to break it off but his dad had just died. So I cheated. A lot. I felt more and more sick and when I broke up with him I thought I was doing him a favor.
- I couldn’t sleep with him because it would have been too real.
- She played with me next to my bed and I thought she liked me, but we never talked again.
- I liked him and he liked her and she liked someone else.
- He was a lot worse than I thought. He was a lot worse. He left a scar on my back from the event that changed my life. He committed suicide years later, after hurting a lot more girls, and eventually going to prison. He got out and killed himself. I felt relieved that he wouldn’t hurt more girls and ashamed I’d been silent and hurt those girls.
- I waited a long time to touch him because I wanted to do things differently and when I finally touched him it just didn’t work and we couldn’t make it work so I broke his heart.
- He was my friend. He was deeply honest and really flawed and fucked like a demon. We talked about EVERYTHING with utter and complete honesty that wasn’t brutal because we bore no brutality. It was the most comfortable I’d ever been with my body in his pure love of it. You’re supposed to learn to love your body but I loved mine because he did. We kept the lines really straight and loved each other for years, around and in between all the others, coming home. We’ll never be lovers again, but I still consider him a friend.
- He left me for groupies and I met the women he’d cheated on me with when her boyfriend was cheating with me and I didn’t know it. She and I were great friends for years.
- I loved him for his letters and got swept up in them and the things he created in them. It was too late when I’d realized my mistake and I spent a long time trying to stick to my mistake. When I could no longer be faithful and couldn’t be unfaithful, I left. I like seeing his happy pics on Facebook.
- I never thought it would happen again, but it did. I met him at Starbucks. We shared a humor and a passion and loved each other through a million challenges and rewards. We wrote love poems and songs and gave each other gifts of 100 kisses on post-its and notes hidden in lunches and suitcases and pockets. For years I knew great love and great passion. He was my best friend and I was his. And we grew and grew and grew. I wish I made him dinner more. I’ve only learned that these past few years and I wish I’d learned it with him. Some of the greatest and the worst days of my life were spent with him, and the love we had carried us through them. With the end I wondered if I’d imagined it, but my box of letters tells me I didn’t. The passion never died until finally, that last year it did. He told me she was too much and there was nothing left. He wrote a poem based on a speaker we’d heard together when we were first dating, and redid it at times over the years to delight me. He used it again with the next women, which did not delight me. I don’t understand what happened really. I make up theories and live with them and discard them because I’ll never know why. I’m trying to accept that but it sits uneasily without ever having had my closure. I read the things he said, to me, and later to others, the lies. He was intentionally cruel and admitted it. And I’ll never understand. That is not the man I loved. He replaced me and then replaced her. He lied a lot to them too, and I’ll never understand it. This is not the man I loved. He is not the person I loved for so long and so well.
- In the midst of all of that I fell for him. He seemed sweet and honest and clear, a relief in troubled times. I loved his dazzling mind and the force of his love. I fell hard and had a hard time letting go when the mask fell. But I did.
- I fell for him so slowly and so well, my love sneaking in on quiet cat feet. It took a long long time to know him and I’ll always be learning. His kisses stayed dizzying, and his arms became home. I love our adventures and our quiet nights and that we can get lost in each other doing absolutely nothing. And then he told her he’d leave me if she asked him to. I’m still not totally sure why it changed either, but suddenly all the things we were talking about for our future were different. All of the little plans we were playing with were off the table. He didn’t want what he said he wanted anymore. Or he wanted it differently. I wondered if I got this love wrong, if it wasn’t what it seemed. I didn’t get it wrong. It’s just complicated to live with all of our commitments and honor and complexities of life and history and it’s hard to navigate for women with a past. There are a lot of moving parts. It’s beautiful and hard sometimes, but he’s worth it. Eventually it came that he would not trade me for the wishes of anyone on Earth, and I know it in my marrow. He’s part of the family I’m making. I sometimes miss the surety of when I was a girl, or think maybe other ways might be easier. But then reality reminds me that relationships are always complicated. Grown up love is complex and beautiful and long-awaited and deep… if you’re lucky.