I’m going to share another story with you.
A story about me, about Beautiful, about choice, and even yes, about you.
It is true, that when she first asked to meet up again after all these years, that she was already with someone, and that she had been with this person for the past three years.
It is true that I respected that, and her, and even him, and that I never did ask her to leave him or to go back to me.
It is also true that after we went as far as our carefully parsed words could take us, we
spent an amount of time in each other’s arms, trying to continue to reach beyond the emptiness and silence to bridge the years apart.
It is true that I promised myself that I would approach this meeting with no expectations
but I would be lying to you if I said I didn’t have some assumptions. And my silly, stupid, hopeful mind raced. I couldn’t be the one to tell her what to do or to be the one who influenced her decision so in the quietest, subtlest, most honest way I could, in the warmth of my embrace, I tried in earnest to broadcast to her the only thing I knew to be true.
That ‘us’ was still a choice she had the option to make.
Now pay attention to how I phrased that. I didn’t want to tell her it was a choice she had to make, it was just an option she had. What years apart had done to our perceptions was that neither of us thought that the other would ever want anything to do us anymore to even begin to consider getting back together.
I was a single guy who had the whole world to choose from. I wasn’t tied to any choice and
I wasn’t exactly poised to make one before her appearance either. But she had made a decision and had stuck to it for three years. I was okay with that. I didn’t want to change that. I admit, I don’t think I could ever possess the ability to be happy for her per se, but I had at least come to accept
the reality of her with someone else. I wasn’t meeting her to catch up. I had no desire to know how her life was without me. For better or for worse I had learned to live in a world without her and I didn’t need that to change. I met up with her because she asked to and if I could acknowledge any agenda on my part, it would only have been that I wanted to make sure she knew that she was with someone because she wanted to be, because she was happy, because she was better, and not solely because I did not want her. Maybe that sounds arrogant or self-centered. I just wanted her to know that the option was always there if she chose but I wanted no part in the decision making process. I placed my fig at her feet just to let her know it was all part of the same tree.
That is, honestly and openly, all I did with her that night. We met up and we exchanged the pleasantries of two people who used to know and love each other. We talked about new interests and hobbies and people who have drifted we knew and forgot, filling in the holes we had created by blocking off portions of our lives. Then we had nothing left to say. I never asked about her relationship, she never shared. We embraced and I walked away; my only objective was to let her know I had never written us completely out. And, much like many other things with many other women, this meant more to me than it did to her.
That’s all I have to say about that night. I never asked for what happened next. I never wanted it or even expected it. Our lives are full of choices that we have to make. Sometimes we are burdened by the weight of how many there are and other times we feel hopelessly adrift because we feel there are none at all.
I don’t regret the choice I made to see her again and to reconnect. And I don’t regret her choice to want to see me and, eventually, on that rainy night a month later when she showed up at my doorstep, her choice to come back. At least we were making choices. We were moving forward.
What hurt was how long it took for her to make the decision to eventually leave. And her decision to hide her true feelings and reasons to me. What hurt is that while she was feeling unsure and hesitating to pick her fruit, I was blindly content thinking it was okay to watch the rest of my fruit wither away as well. Could Bird have been a fig I wanted to taste. Was I looking in the wrong places for the wrong people for the wrong things. I would never know now because I was happily partaking in the fruit before me.
I can’t think too much anymore about the probabilities of the past. There are too many ‘should have’s and ‘would have’s and ‘could have’s that could keep me up at night and drive me insane. The past is done and decided. Instead I find myself worriedly and unasurredly looking into the future. I wonder how I will move on. I wonder when and where and with whom.
The past is heavy, the future is light, and the present is based on how much we choose to carry.
The most important thing is that I continue to find the resolve to keep making choices. You might think that my decision to abstain from relationships and dating for a year is actually retreating from choice but actually it was me picking the one fig that I knew was always there but was too afraid to try. I always saw a version of myself that was single and alone but it was almost always only in nightmares. Now it is my reality and rather than worry about the past versions and all the other things I could have done or would have done or should have done I am moving forward with it and deciding what to bring with me.
Like you and this blog. Perhaps this is the only reason why this is no longer a waking nightmare for me. This is the fig that nourishes me under the shade of so many others. But when this is over, will I have the resolve to pick another and the wisdom to pick correctly. Or will I fall back into the same bad patterns. There is this impending dread on my shoulders that I am watching a lot of fruit fall off the branches of my tree and the only thing keeping me from gorging on the level of egregious and grotesque is this vision I have of me writing through it all and finding an audience to read it.
I cannot judge or measure the weight of my past except for in the slouch of my shoulders and the bags under my eyes. I cannot bring back rotted fruit that had its time and withered away. There are perhaps plenty of relationships I should realize for the husk that it is now. I am since still content with the fruit in my hand but I hope when the harvest comes once again, I will be able to see what is left and pick from those that have yet to fall in the time it took for me to find myself.
Man: 72 Loneliness: 20