What he felt about me

He answered.

Valued. Understood.

When I asked him what he felt about me.

He said so many tiny things I somehow made bigger. If I were to lay these little words out now you’d no doubt see – sooner than me – how little he ever saw of me. See how I clung for years to an autobiography, let him write his narcissistic stories all over me.

I believed myself to be the shore for this man, his brink, his haven.

Brave. Free.

But this is not what he felt about me.

I’ve been looking for answers the wrong way around it seems. Wondering what I could have should have did not could not-

Stop! See!

The truth outs eventually: For years I loved a hollow man. One who wounds with silence and dishonesty.

This was never, ever about me.

RockyShore

Wisdom is hard won. Clarity often requires you search and search and search that rocky shore. You crawl on your hands and knees to find what they buried so deep. Knowledge painfully extracted from the chest.

♥♦ The treasure always, darling, is you ♥♦

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The cost that comes

It is easy to see the beginnings of things, and harder to see the ends.

More curious than endings however, are those moments you stand on the liminal, where beginnings and endings might be the very same thing. I am never more aware of this threshold than when I am travelling on a plane. Suspended for a time somewhere between coming and going. When I fly I often wonder – am I on my way now? Or is this just another leaving?

It is a question I can no better answer at 30,000 feet than I can with my feet on the ground.

There is a moment in any flight I have taken, perhaps 15 minutes in, when plastic stops rattling, when trays come down, touch the knees of tall men, and certain passengers begin the loop from seat to bathroom and back again, shifting from foot to foot as they wait for narrow doors to fold open, for strangers to press past. This moment, preceded by a telltale ding, seems to panic some, send them scrambling, but for me it is when I am most likely to pull up some simmering memory, searching through my mental albums as if on a phone, to find the one picture I know I should delete. Sticky inflight magazines are idly read, people scan through last year’s movies on their too-small screens, but I am back in his arms, or stumbling away on that rainy night, or knocking at his door for the very first time. Beginnings and endings coming to me all at once. On my way. Or just another leaving.

There is no liminal like the place you stand with a treacherous lover.

I read an article once, about men who cry on planes. About heightened emotions and hormones, and how Virgin Atlantic now puts warnings on inflight movies that might make you sob. I thought about him at the time. Seem to think about him on any flight I take. I suppose unfinished business melds with the ambiguity I feel whenever I’m going somewhere. I learned from an early age, as an exchange student who made choices too soon, that you can never go! without also leaving. Since then, I have used plane trips, those four hours or twelve or twenty-four in the air, to reconcile the cost that comes with beginnings. All the things and people you leave behind. I’ve dripped salty tears into plastic wine glasses, disintegrated thin tissues against my running nose. Cried more than any man watching Toy Story 3, or that film about a dog who dies (they always die). I’ve scribbled notes to myself, trying to keep my elbows in, and been grateful when the stranger beside me has fallen asleep. I did this not two weeks ago, in fact.

When I could see my next beginning stretched out. Beckoning. And the ending wound tight around the gesture. So entwined, that from seat 14c, I could not separate the two.

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I’m taking a Creative Non-Fiction class at Uni this year. A working backwards of how I usually write, where I’m used to spinning real life into fairy tales. It has been an interesting exercise thus far. The task last week, taking that famous first line from Didion, should have been easy, obsessed as I am with endings. But there’s something about writing with yourself at the centre. Some pause between me and the keys. Perhaps I have been hiding behind my fiction for too long 😉

What she is seeking

“For her part [she] needs to begin to curb her angry outbursts – – not because they are unjustified, but because they will not give her what she is really seeking. Anger may make her feel more powerful, temporarily. However, psychologist Steven Stosny observes that that “if loss of power was the problem in intimate betrayal, then anger would be the solution. But the great pain in intimate betrayal has little to do with the loss of power. Perceived loss of value is what causes your pain – – you feel less loveable.”
~ Esther Perel, The State of Affairs

Dear – –

This is not an apology. I am not sorry for the outbursts, for the kind of hurt from my kind of words, and the times I carved through your metal with my scorching blade. I am not sorry for the sparks, and if you got burned. You were the one warming yourself all over me. You should be the one on your knees, respecting years, respecting us me.

I am not sorry for the discomfort of a buzzing phone. For street corner revelations, or for Actually … tied up in your silence, I am not sorry for any time I broke free. Understand, from behind your perennial shield, you share some half this responsibility.

This is NOT an apology. My dear ‘Henry. Your arms-lengthing would provoke one more sober than me. Hard-won, I now at least have clarity. That withholding is an act of emotional cruelty. Revelation, finally! Your refusal had nothing to do with me.

No rust-mouthed man gets to (silently) say. If I deserve to be loved. And when I am free.

Aphrodite at body, remember

Sincerely. Me.

“Whether the ending is done in person or in writing, it must be responsible, mature, caring, and clear. He needs to … appreciate the depth of what they shared … and give her closure. There is no way for this not to be painful, but it makes a world of difference if [she] knows that she’s not the only one feeling heartbroken.”
~ Esther Perel, The State of Affairs

Give her that

“Speak the words you have swallowed. We have – – years of silence to fill. Let us crowd this night with all we have not said, let us cover every last second with our secrets. Whisper them soft and sure against my skin. Tell me goodbye, and tell me why.

Dust me for your fingerprints one last time, hold me up to the light, and see yourself all over. Know that you were here. Here we are. Grasp at what we will leave behind. What we are losing. There are ways for us to end this.

Love me just enough. Then let me go. Hold tight all through these midnight hours, then stand up, be brave. And watch. me. walk. away.”

My darling, there are ways for us to end this.

body, remember

Good god. She went so far as to tell you what to do. You have always done what you are told to do. How could you not even give her that …

Next Year … Some Year (this year)

Millay was right when she said they all have lied.

There hasn’t been any day, in any week, in any month – not a single day since then. I would take just one – a series of 24 successive hours where you don’t invade my heart thoughts.

A solid sleep, a quiet morning, an inconsequential afternoon. An evening where you cannot be tasted in the vodka and sadness that burns in my throat … and a night where you do not come to me, unbidden, when I first close my eyes.

I would take just one of these days from back, before.

There is absence and then there is this. The silent, suspended ever-presence. The way the saxophone mourns on my favourite song. The hundred little ways you won’t go away. They said there would come an easier time, the scientists and the lovers too. But it doesn’t heal a thing, you know.

I suspect it merely drives it deeper.

Rock Bublitz at body, remember

What I was writing five years ago. FIVE YEARS! Always interesting to sit down with my ghosts …

You are not the only one

Last night I slept with a man I met at the hotel bar. A Sailor visiting dry land for the holidays. He told me he lives weeks at a time aboard his submarine. Submerged in the deep and the dark. His world is a place most of us would do anything to avoid.

My God your body is beautiful, he said when we lay down on the bed, and I thought – living under the sea must do strange things to a man.

But I looked to see, just the same. I lifted the sheets to make a coy appraisal of my flesh, marinated in the salt and oil of summer, this skin that I will peel and shed back home. I took in the chipped red of holiday nails, the grains of sand in the curve of my foot, and the nerves still pulsing in my flexing toes. I looked at my pliant muscles, and the startling white of my hidden parts. I could see all of the ways the ocean had left its mark on me, too.

This man tasted of rum and cherries. And when he kissed me again I wanted to say –You are not the only one who has emerged from the deep.

Last night we both looked beautiful when held up to the light.

~ Lucy, LOVED

I posted an early version of this exactly five years ago. Like so many of my musings here, the scene found a perfect place in my novel. Eventually. Funny reminder today that you never know where you’ll end up. You. Just. Keep. Going. Here’s to an exciting second half of the year …