I don’t want to do this. I really don’t.
For most of the last few days, I’ve been trying to convince myself that I don’t need to either. That I’m being defeatist and am giving up too easily and that if I hold out a little longer then the fragile little ball of hope I’ve been clinging to will somehow be rewarded.
Well…I’ve been hoping for six years, five months and a couple of days and as much as I hate it, as much as I have been a stubborn fool and refused to believe otherwise, as much as I’ve put into trying to rebuild and maintain a relationship that has been very important to me…it’s long past the point where I finally admit and accept it.
It’s over. I’m done.
And the fact that I even wrote those words out just now…I hate it. I absolutely fucking hate it.
Seriously. Just looking at them makes me want to punch a mountain over, it upsets me that much.
When you meet someone for the first time, you can never really anticipate what sort of impact they’ll have on your life from then on out. Walking onto campus as a college student in 2008 was hard enough, considering I was a decade older than most of the kids I was going to be graduating with, provided I made it that far. The last thing on my mind at that point was the idea of interacting with anyone at all, to say nothing of making actual friends.
I wasn’t there to be social. Had I been another twenty-something with a clean slate of a life ahead of me then my attitude would’ve no doubt been different. But I was on a mission. I was making up for the ten years of time I’d been robbed of by forces beyond my control and decisions I would soon come to regret.
In my dangerously myopic frame of mind, my aim wasn’t to be the life of the party because there wasn’t going to be a party of any sort until I was done.
And yet, I ended up meeting people anyway and the next thing I knew…I suddenly had friends I hadn’t had before.
She was one of them. I couldn’t tell you why we clicked or how we managed to click. We just did.
At this point, I want to be as transparent as humanly possible. The path that leads from where our friendship starter to where it is now is strewn with moment after moment where I categorically and undeniably screwed up. Badly. This isn’t a case where I am the hapless victim and this is a one-sided situation, nor would I presume to define it as otherwise.
There are no black hats vs. white hats to be found here. Like all relationships, we’re both guilty of being the grey hat at one point or another along the way.
By the time I graduated, I figured that we’d remain as close of friends as we’d become and we’d keep in touch, but it was the inevitable point where we went our separate ways to the next stage of what our lives would be.
What I failed to anticipate at the time and in hindsight there was honestly no way I could see it coming, was the fall of three very big dominoes: totally losing my mind, my life completely imploding because I’d totally lost my mind and the eventual realization once the implosion brought about by my totally losing my mind had finally ended, that my feelings were no longer platonic.
Of course, it didn’t end well. This many years later, I honestly don’t know how it could’ve ended any other way and that twists the knife just a little bit further, the more I think about it.
You can’t just walk off insanity. It’s not a broken bone or a bruise that eventually heals up and fades away. You can’t walk off getting your heart broken either, but you can run away from the hurt it causes and that’s precisely what I did.
I packed up my life and ran away.
The first time, I ran across a river. Second time, I crossed a desert. Third time, I crossed an entire continent and came back home, even though I knew full well that of all the places in the world she could’ve gone, she’d chose to come here.
That was a frightening enough prospect in its own right and I suppose it’s in keeping with the oxymoron of being a romantic sociopath to suggest that my motivation for coming back to Boston was subconsciously tied to the possibility of something right out of every cheesy, stupid rom-com ever made.
You could make the argument, sure…but you’d be indescribably wrong.
How do I know that, you ask? How can I make that conclusion, you ask? Because I remember how the bridge between us burned down the first time.
I remember being demonized and vilified with accusations of things which I hadn’t even thought of and in a million years would’ve never even considered acting upon. I remember being so afraid of going back into Portland on the slightest chance that we might cross paths and what that might bring about, if it were to happen, that I declared entire sections of it as OFF LIMITS to me unless I had absolutely no other choice but to go there.
I remember the years I spent telling our mutual friends that it was my fault and entirely my fault that our relationship was what it was because that best fit the narrative which had been established by the both of us. And despite that. Despite all that crap. There was still a part of me that wanted, more than anything, to finally set things right, whatever that was, and to see if it was humanly possible for two people, who’d gone from one side of the spectrum to the polar opposite, could somehow meet back in the middle and co-exist.
So a few months ago, we managed to sit down together for a few hours and tried to have a conversation. I won’t lie and say it was everything I hoped it would be. It was awkward and I didn’t say half of what I was thinking that night, mainly because I was trying to keep myself from giving into both the anger and fear that was blasting away in my head the whole time.
There was no plan or goal, no ulterior motive, other than seeing if we could get through that initial conversation. If we managed that, then my hope was at some point down the line, we could have another conversation and then another after that.
I left that night with the understanding that it was possible. Turns out that appears to be the only conversation we’re ever going to have.
You ask a hundred people how to define closure when it comes to relationships and I promise, you’ll somehow get 101 answers. Everyone thinks they know what is the right way to walk away and when you should stop turning a blind eye to the writing on the wall.
The friends I have left have been telling me this since this all went sideways. That I need to let it go. I need to stop torturing and blaming myself for how and why this all went sideways and move on with my life.
I understand what they’re saying and why they’re saying it. I do. It makes total sense and it also neglects one simple, inescapable fact.
It hurts. It hurts like nothing else I’ve felt in my life and I’ve lived long enough to know just how downright painful it can get.
And if I’m brutally honest, the worst part is that whenever I feel like I can do it, I finally convince myself that I can handle it, I get the first twinge in my chest and I recoil away from it as fast as I can because I’m terrified that it’s going to kill me.
What happened between her and I wounded me deeply and I’ve tried everything I can think of over the last six-plus years to help myself heal from it. What I haven’t tried yet is walking away…because I don’t want to.
But it seems like I don’t have a choice anymore, either. Every attempt to stay in touch since our conversation has been met with ghosting. That, it seems, is the closure I have been given.
It doesn’t feel like it. Not one bit. And I don’t know how this can be considered the better option or the wiser course of action, but it wasn’t my call.
I don’t know the first thing about what it feels like to be shot, but I’ve been around enough cases of other people who have that they told me it wasn’t the bullet going into them that hurt so much as when the doctors tried to get it back out.
I’ve let this emotional bullet sit in my heart for too long. If nothing else, I suppose I owe it to myself to get it out. What scares me now is the thought, however rational or irrational it may be that even if I do, I don’t know if I’m going to be okay afterwards.
Can I handle the pain it’s going to take to pull that damn thing out…am I going to be okay?