He calls from his room letting me know he’s made it safely to his destination, and though I am relieved he’s still speaking to me with the way we left things a few nights ago after he left so abruptly, I’m not surprised he’s calling. I knew he’d call me during this business trip. He tells me about his time there so far, including seeing swarms of bats in the sky, being attacked by a homeless person, eating at a fancy steak house, going to a club and trying to hit on some girls (I played it cool but was lowkey jealous), and gives me a video tour of his accommodations.
We video chat lightheartedly and talk about his day before his mood becomes somber, and he begins to apologize for the other night, and says it should never have happened. Even though I know he’s right, I couldn’t help but feel horrible. I don’t want to be associated with bad feelings, I don’t want to be a mistake, or a regret to him. And he assures me that isn’t the case - that he was actually very happy it happened on one hand, but on the other knows it shouldn’t have.
He apologizes saying it wasn’t fair to me, and also says it wasn’t fair to the girl he’s seeing. I of course agree with him that it wasn’t fair to her and I’d been thinking about it, too. But I made my own choice and feel like we are both to blame, honestly. It’s not like I didn’t know. But my overwhelming need for him made it impossible to think about what was “fair” in the moment… As it always has.
He goes on to say that, from what I understand, he has been given somewhat of an ultimatum. If he wants to stay in this other girl’s life, then he must stop talking to me.
This is not the first time I’ve heard this. Not by a long shot…
He says: “You’re the thorn in the side of every girlfriend I’ve ever had”.
And there is a reason for that. There is a reason why he keeps coming back to me, why I keep going back to him, why we can’t quit each other. I can’t tell you the amount of times we have “ended things” and decided to “not talk anymore”. This has been a back and forth half-hearted promise for over a decade and a half, and not once has it stuck. Even when years go by. Doesn’t that count for something?
I tell him I will never consent now, will never again agree to not talking anymore. I beg of him to not cut me out of his life. He is a mess at this point, and so am I. He’s suggesting we be friends, then saying we can’t be friends, then saying I should meet his girlfriend, then saying we should say goodbye tonight… My head was spinning and I couldn’t make sense of anything. I didn’t expect this. I wasn’t prepared for it, I knew this was my chance to say something but I didn’t know where to begin.
I just plead with him. I spill my guts. I tell him I love him and don’t want to live without him and he’s all I have and please please please don’t do this. I usually never beg, I never cry, but tears spill out the corners of my eyes as I try to convey how much he means to me, feeling like this is my last chance and i’ve fucked up everything.
He keeps asking me why I love him, what I see in him because he’s a bad person, asking what I want, why I want to be with him, why I don’t date anyone else, why I never put myself out there, why I rarely leave the house, why I barely have any friends… The questions keep coming and I try to formulate answers but it’s not that easy. I don’t know where to begin. It’s like he’s asking me to explain love. Love is a thousand things to each person, how can you sum it up in one sentence? I tell him I love him, that it never felt right to be with anyone else, that everyone loves differently and this is just how I am as a person. I try to explain how he makes me feel alive, how no one has ever come close to making me feel what he does.
I feel like I am not even making sense to him but I do try. As hard as it was I did try to be open and honest even though a part of me is deeply embarrassed to admit waiting for him in any capacity, knowing he doesn’t feel the same way for me. It seems desperate and sad and I always think that’s how people would see me. That is why I never wanted to admit that I waited for him, that I had any hopes for us, that I couldn’t be with another man because all I’d see the moment they got close was his face – and how their touch and lips felt like sandpaper, sucking the life from me – whereas he felt like heaven, as though his touch breathed life into me. For me it’s never been a difficult choice. I didn’t tell him any of this because I think it will make a difference, but because he deserves me to tell him the truth. And because it would kill me if I never got to tell him exactly how I felt.
At the beginning of this journal, right after we had reconnected but I was unsure of where things would go - I remember saying that I was scared of things ending badly again, but I didn’t want to have any regrets when it came to trying for us. I still feel that way. I can’t live with things unsaid. And I know so many are.
With this thought in mind, after I’d put the phone down to take several hits of strong weed, I start to stumble over my words as I manage to blurt out: “you know I journal, I have an anonymous online journal I’ve kept since we began seeing each other 4 years ago. I have documented everything from my perspective. I need you to know my side of things, I need you to know how I’ve felt… Would you read it if… If I sent you a link?”
He says he would gladly read it. I knew this would be the answer. It wouldn’t be the first time he’d read an online journal of mine, or countless letters and emails from over the years. He always is willing to read anything I throw his way - all in desperate attempts to convey to him the depth of my love and care for him.
But that was all years ago. When we were still teenagers, early 20’s… it was a decade ago. it was different. It IS different this time. Everything has changed. These are real adult feelings, not teenage hormones from someone who had a lot of growing up to do. I have CHANGED so much from who I was back then, but yet I found myself drawn to him still. I fell in love with him for a second time. It was two separate events for me and this journal is different. We have NEVER spent this much time together or had the kind of experiences that we have in the last 4 years....
So it feels like a bigger deal to think of him reading all of this. Worse than being stripped naked in a room full of people. But it’s all I could think of at the time, because I have considered it before, but never went through with it… What do I have to lose? I have always worried that maybe certain nights he might not remember everything that happened, or didn’t see it the same way I did. It can’t possibly hurt anything more than it already is for him to know the truth as I have experienced it. Just so he understands… He tells me to email him the link, but I haven’t made my mind up about doing that yet.
Several times throughout the conversation he tells me that he loves me, he has loved me for 17 years, and that when we first started spending all those nights together several years ago, that he felt truly happy. He also says that he doesn’t think that his current relationship will last…
Yet he is saying that we should say goodbye?? I am confused, lost for words… I don’t know how to phrase the questions in my mind as it tries to make sense out of something senseless. The only thing I can think is that he just doesn’t want me. Period, end of story. Not like that. Not seriously. If he loved me and I made him happy and he’s not even sure of his future with the person he’s with now… then why would he be so ready and willing to just let things go? how could it be that easy? just a video chat and that’s it?
I tell him that if he needs time to figure out his current relationship I understand. I don’t want to “not talk” for an indefinite period of time, but if he needed that space I would give it to him, because I respect him. I have ALWAYS given him his space. I have always waited for him to reach out to me, didn’t make waves in his life, tried my best… But that it wouldn’t be a goodbye, that I still wanted to eventually talk and be a part of each other’s lives in some capacity. Really at this point I was begging in every way I could think of for him to not cut ties with me completely. Willing to stay away until he truly figures things out. I personally don’t really believe this girl is the one. Not with some of the things he’s told me. I just think he’s in a hard spot having invested so much into the relationship. I am not wishing for his relationship to fail, but I still feel deep down that eventually, i’d hear from him again when the relationship finally ended.
Maybe I keep thinking that I’ll wear him down eventually. That maybe he will go through all these girls and either realize that no one compares to me (wishful thinking, right?!) or just flat-out settle for me. Maybe that was always the hope in the back of my mind and kept me sane when he chose others over me for whatever reason. I told him all of this, but much less eloquently. I told him that the reason I was the thorn in all his exes sides, the reason that he can never truly commit to saying goodbye to me or cutting me out, the reason we keep coming back to one another is because not only do we love each other in some crazy way, but I am the ONLY girl who has EVER been truly loyal to him. People always say they will be loyal. They always say “you’re my only one”, they say it’s forever… until its not anymore. But not me. I have been loyal, never settling for less than what my heart wanted the most. when I said it was forever I meant it. When I said he had all of me I meant it. And as long as he knows that SOMEONE on this earth was truly loyal to him and truly loved him despite EVERYTHING… then it would be enough. Then it wouldn’t all have been in vain.
As I said all this he started to cry, which of course made me lose control of my shaky voice too. He had been laying face down on the bed but let the phone drop so all I could see was the white of the bedsheets. He didn’t say anything, but I could hear him breathing. I probably kept saying some version of the same thing just hoping that something I said would get through to him. trying to keep him on the line.
We went round and round, back and forth, nothing made sense. Nothing was decided. I refused to let him cut me out of his life and eventually he said he wouldn’t - half of me believes it, half of me doesn’t.
He asks me what I will do if by some chance his relationship does last. It’s something I have thought of many times but never really put into words. To me, it wasn’t ever something I truly needed to dwell on. For reasons I’d never shared. Because a few years ago I made the decision as to when my life would come to a close. It was years off, but something that helped me cope - knowing that there was a definite end in sight, but after my earthly obligations were fulfilled. So, as things between us have become more and more distant as the months and years creep by, I’ve always just hoped that they lasted long enough so that I’d never have to really say goodbye, and endure him cutting me out of his life, or spend it with someone else. He’s one of the reasons I could count on one hand that I have to live for, that make my life worth living. Even in the small bursts in which I get to have him, they make this misery of a life worth it. His touch can sustain me as the time stretches out. I never wanted things to come to an end between us, but as of late it has become startlingly clear to me that he will never choose me… I’ve never been deluded about that. Even though it kills me to think it, to type it… To say it. And I almost said it out loud to him. Almost.
Before I could form the words to explain all this to him in a way that didn’t make it seem I was throwing around threats or being overly dramatic - his breathing got deeper. Soon he was snoring. He had definitely fallen asleep. Perhaps saving me from having to say any of that in a way that made sense. I’m even having trouble articulating it here now.
I listened to his breathing for a few moments, said his name, waited, but his breathing remained steady and full of sleep. I waited another moment, told him I loved him, and hung up.
After an exhausted cry, I started to second guess hanging up so quickly. Maybe I should have stayed on the line a bit longer. Listening to his breathing, as I have so many times when we’ve spent nights together. I always let my breath fall in time with his, memorizing his breaths and taking in every second with him, never knowing when i’ll have him again like this…
I truly don’t know if that was the last chance I had to hear him breathing next to me and maybe I should have just stayed on the line this time instead of sneaking away before he woke up… I hope to god it’s not the last time.
listening to: “nicole” –hotel books
I think I’m losing you, but I will never regret choosing you Because I am in love, and for now that will be enough
…And if someday you feel alone and everything caves in when you try to breathe,
Know that you are not alone as far as I can see,
Because you were everything to me.
Through this I have realized that if I were god we would have all just died,
Because darling you were mine and now I feel so dead inside,
And what good am I if all I can create is a projection of my own mind?
A dream of finding time to remind you that I’m still here and I’m not fine.
And darling if you’re going to leave just remember who you are,
And do what you can to remember me.
Maybe someday we can talk about our past and we can talk about the weather. Whenever you leave, I don’t care what I’m remembered for, I just want to be remembered. Because even if I failed you at least I tried.
And maybe our lives don’t add up now
but someday our graves will look the same when we both die.
And if I had a chance I’d give you one last kiss
and I’d bite down on your lip
And I’d try to puncture it
so you’ll never forget that time,
That you’ll always regret. And darling I know sometimes life will take a turn for the worst, And sometimes life will even hurt. And I know some days, some days you’ll be afraid of the lessons you’ll have to learn And some days you’ll even feel burned, And I want to let you know that I want to love you through them.