Take Another Look











{January 6, 2010}   No word for No, ever…



I looked around the place where he no longer lived. It was strange to see the things he had touched. Why was it so hard to remember his smell? Memories did not come when I chose them to come to me. They came randomly or listlessly. I often thought that I had brought them to me, that there was a kind of sense being played out. I tried to make sense of what could not make sense. There were messages where he said he hoped his mindset was not destroying our relationship. Was his self-awareness extended enough to later remember saying that? I’d never known somebody so intimately. Simultaneously I yet felt so lost. Every time I used to dial his digits, I didn’t know what kind of mood calling him would inspire. Before he got on the phone, I could be in one of a hundred of different moods. And there were so many shades of beauty he missed out on when he didn’t answer. Sometimes it seemed like he answered only when I was not in the right mood to talk. But I persisted to call even when the mood was bad, if only to connect. And still, I didn’t know what disconnection meant. All those things I did not know but could see and hear and feel pounded on my door and chased at my nights. It held me captive, the thing I could not know. The space that we did not share was where I kept trying to break in. I wasted time trying to pound that place open. I think he saw me there and pretended not to. I think he saw me and it’s what made him want me to go away. But he wanted me to stay, too.

Occasionally my heart would leap out of my throat as the phone kept ringing. This especially happened when I sent him emails I could not retract. My words were like bullets meeting their target, but I never thought I was a good marksman, and I always assumed I had not been heard, because nobody heard me in my youth. I thought I was wildly scattering fire because I needed an outlet, because he wouldn’t let me communicate in words anymore, and when I couldn’t communicate in words I tried touch, but he had long ago banished communication from entering any realm we inhabited. I loved him so much I could not breathe and I hated myself for a weakness that he seemed to hate. I let words be more decisive than I was but I did not know what words were doing. I could not see things the way he did. If he had changed, how much had I changed? I later was able to see things in a logical way, but unfortunately, I wanted to share that with him too. Was there ever going to be a time when I didn’t want to share things with him? All of my friends kept saying he didn’t give a shit about me, that he was not right, and they pointed at my checkered judgment to prove it. Their words either pushed me closer towards him or farther away. But I never knew where he was. The longing to know possessed me. It became more important than finding my way. The uncertainty came in waves. One week I was both irritated with myself for stirring up trouble and speaking what I thought was pure logic, but I was most irritated with him for not responding and causing more uncertainty, which in turn caused me to try to ignore what was going on too. I felt free, as if the bullets had freed me in some way. And yet there was only silence on his end. I tried to imagine a life without all the pain he’d caused, but that also meant a life without the pleasure. I cursed him in my mind for the parts of himself he hid from me over and over again, especially since it was getting worse. Or so it seemed. I tried trusting his judgment, but it cast me astray because I could not know the full picture. I tried trusting my judgment, but it was full of holes. I tried trusting the piercing howl of anguish that came over me like a shod of electric shocks. The shocks did not dissipate. And then they quietly left for a while, and I peeked around uneasily. Again, had I trusted my friends more than me?

I looked in the mirror and held my gaze firmly. I was attractive. He didn’t tell me that much. Was that something I liked about him? All those things I attacked, they’d also drawn me to him and now I was blaming then forgiving him for qualities that he had always had but that I kept discovering anew. One time he said I was blaming myself, but when the tears came I was restless that he couldn’t turn over and face me, wipe the tears off my face, kiss me and assure me. I thought that was all I needed but what did I know about need, after all was said and done? I needed so much for that one gesture to be in there somewhere but I felt like an unwanted occupant taking up space next to him, neither mattering nor not mattering. Why didn’t he wake up in the night and randomly whisper things to me? Why was he so effusive, so cold, so habitual in all of his tendencies? Was this a particular tactic to get me to leave or to stay? I could not accept that he could not take on my love except in his own form. I had to see it in my own way. And my own way was so stripped and naked he seemed secretly at a loss. I was at a loss, too. I didn’t know what I could stand to lose. It was strange to believe somebody when they only spoke their thoughts once, then never repeated them. The most important things were unswayable and I latched on to what could not be said like a tiger and her prey. I knew my capacity to love was too large. I had to hide it. It was too much. I was too much. But he was confusing me again. I didn’t belong anywhere.

Maybe he wasn’t really dead. Maybe he had created this house for me as a place to think he had left. But no that was just hope talking. Did I hope I could forget? I think I was scared that I hoped that I would never have to stop breathing in his fumes, his embrace. But I also wanted to be unfettered. I would never trade freedom for security. Except in small items, one by one, the hook sunk into me as into a fish. I could not rely on any one belief, nor could I rely on what the whole picture said. No wonder I was so filled with yearning for him to take me to some cold place and quietly disembark my contradictions with the soft taste of spring water. So he could fill my thirst with something that was cleansing. I did not expect to feel my face burn in a flash of indignation, nor for my hope to give way to a shy but fierce awkwardness. And if it did he had to be there to make it better, and when he wasn’t, I wondered if I didn’t know who he was, and this thought despaired me the most of all. I had to assume everything was a lie if I was to try to follow the trail backwards, to know how far I had come and from where.

Good or bad. Had he been good or bad for me? Why was the house vacant? If he came home he might find me here, still standing and waiting for him to appear. Or he might find me tapping on the table, impatient and ready to coil with a wave of questions. Or still, I might be calm and still, simply wanting that lucidity I felt I deserved. I’d thrown too much and now could not wait. I was walking around in my own cage and feeling deserted all the time if only for my own issues with abandonment. But there was more to it than that, and it was what incensed me to not give up. I wanted to start from a blank slate, I had said, without realizing I was eroding the latest of floors that he had started working on. I kept breaking things and he kept trying to protect me until I was floored to discover that my hammer had a safety valve on it that I couldn’t undo. I used the safety valve as a hammer instead. All the while, my own sense of isolation drummed at me like a pulse. I knew I could live without him, but when he was there I felt like I could not live without him at all. I didn’t understand how things could be so different when he was there and when he was not. Was he the only one making an impact on things? It seemed nothing I did impacted him after a while. Which was why the house looked unaffected by my presence.

Damnit, I had desensitized him. With my words, I had made my moods too indistinguishable so that he was so used to a flourish of ten pages that it made no difference to him when I tried other tactics. I had already poured so many paint colors in there it made no difference when I used white-out. I feared nothing would make the difference. I would have called an “Inaction Hotline” to see if that would fix things but there wasn’t any Inaction Hotline for me to go to and I could not refrain from acting. Whether it was calling or forgetting or thinking or trying not to think, I had no finality. Even in asking for it, did I really expect to get it? I gave up on my ability to use words further. I was sending him two messages. I love you and I hate you or I don’t know, do you know, and I had sent it too many times. And we were tired, so tired. I was tired of doubt, and he, no doubt, was sick of reassurance. He had no more to offer me because in one click, I erased my own message but not the internet footprint it left behind.

I was furious when I found out that the messenger service was so flawed. Why couldn’t my love be greater than my hate? I suppose it was, but when the stain of blood entered the picture, the sense of timeline was lost. What did I know about endings anyway? There I was saying he was ending things all the while asking for a beginning or a new one anyway. The first one was good enough, but I wanted a repeat I guess. Please, I’d just wanted to make things better, that’s why this all started in the first place! I wanted it to be getting better and I was a self-improvement kit I felt he never used. He must have felt like everything he said went on deaf ears after the contradictions were sent out like nuclear warning strikes.

My heart felt like it was locked up inside, and my thoughts felt like they were crying against my skull to get out. I felt like if he could only hear me he would understand, he would understand. I had to believe that. Don’t you see why I had no choice but to believe that?

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