You know who you are. At least that is what I want for you. I want you to know who you are just as I want to know who I am. God, that sounds ridiculous. These things always do. What I’m trying to say is that you need to work on you and I need to work on me. Or we each need to figure out what we want out of this relationship, out of any relationship. We need to figure out what we’re looking for. I thought it was you, I really did. I thought I was looking for someone to be apart with, someone to be alone with, someone outside of my daily life to laugh with, to share with. A different world. A vacation. Maybe I was scared my life was starting to become too clear, the outcomes too obvious. Maybe I’m starting to miss the uncertainty of youth, of not knowing where the rent was coming from, the liberation of living without design. Maybe I miss not knowing who I am.
I fell in love with you. And I’m pretty sure I wanted it. I thought I did. I wanted to feel that vulnerability. I wanted to know I could stand it. It’s time, right? I’m an adult now. I should be able to give something of myself away. I should be able to open up to something bigger than myself. I should be mature enough to take that risk.
I fell in love with you. That much I’m sure of. And part of me wants it to be as simple as that. You love someone, so you love them and that’s that. But another part of me, this part that feels like it’s growing up, wants to be able to make that love into a different kind of expression – not just the momentary romantic thrill, but something richer, something that is more of a shared project, a building of a life of some kind, a partnership, something deep and threatening and profound.
We’ve talked this thing to death. We’ve talked it in circles over and over again. As if understanding it would make a difference. As if we could distribute the blame appropriately, take stock of the actionable intelligence, and deliver on a strategic outcome that apportions civilian casualties and defense spending in relation to long-term diplomatic goals.
Maybe the only thing to do now is walk away, to accept this is the end. I don’t really know what I’m trying to say. Maybe this is just therapy. Maybe this has nothing to do with you. Maybe I’m just talking to hear myself talk because I don’t know what else to do, because I’m unsettled, because, damn it, I don’t want to accept that the world hasn’t worked out as I’d hoped.
Or maybe I’m just hoping that I’ll finally get an apology. You should have been something you’re not. You should have been able to understand me. Or you should have recognized you never would and been the bigger person. You should have walked away. You should have stood up for yourself when I couldn’t be the person you needed.
Or I should have. I should have seen it coming. I should have been there for you. I wish I were that person. I wish I’d known the last time we spoke that it would be the last time. I wish I’d had the chance to tell you how important you’ve been to me, how I wouldn’t be who I am if it wasn’t for you. I wish the doctor had had my phone number.
I wish things were different. I wish I could be with you. Or maybe I just wish I wasn’t alone. That’s how this whole thing started. I was tired of being alone. I don’t know how to do it. I’ve heard of something called solitude, but I’ve never had it. Only loneliness.
My friends tell me I need to learn to love myself if I’m ever going to love anyone else, but I don’t know what they are talking about. I’ve never needed me. But I’ve needed you. Despite my fear of giving up control, I gave it up for you. At least I wanted to. I felt like l needed you, like I couldn’t be happy without you. At least that’s what I thought I was supposed to feel. Like it is us together or it isn’t anything at all.
“I was born when I met her. I died when she left me. I lived for a few weeks while she loved me.” Humphrey Bogart said that in a movie once. I wanted it to be that real. I wanted it to hurt that much. It scares me that it doesn’t. It scares me to know how capable I am. It scares me when I don’t think about it, when being alone starts to feel normal.
It will clear up. These things take time. Everything works out in the end, right? There’s no point in fighting for it. It just happens naturally. You try to keep your heart open and eventually the right circumstances come along and everything works out. Right?
In the meantime we try to learn from our mistakes. Or we at least learn to live with them. Or we at least live with them, even if we don’t learn anything.
But whatever. You know who you are.
Or that I’ll finally be able to give one. I’m sorry. There, I said it. I wish I could be with you. Or at least I wish I wasn’t alone. In this hotel room. That I can’t afford. I wish we’d gotten to see each other one last time. I can’t bear this feeling, that you’re lost like the dead. There’s a lot I regret. Maybe I’ve learned from it all, but I’m pretty sure I haven’t. It’s too soon. These things take time. A decompression needs to happen. I’m pretty sure when it happens it makes a sound. You can only hear it when no one else is around, when you’ve finally learned to live with yourself, when you finally learned to lived without the intoxication of other people. The truth is I don’t know how to be alone. In a group I am always the champion of pleasure. But I’ve never experienced solitude, only loneliness. My inability to love myself is the same thing that prevented me from being loved by you. Before I can learn to live with myself I need to make sense of what we were. A team? Maybe. Bestest buddies? Sure, why not? Partners? Absolutely, in the most generous and modern way. Did we always refuse to give what we were a name because that’s what we understood the meaning of ‘romantic’ to be? Well, then we were stupid. Our rights should have been stripped. We should have been jailed within each other. We fucked up. We exchanged a fixed identity for a faltering one and thought that that vulnerability was a form of courage. What were we thinking? It makes me angry. No, it makes me furious. How could we have allowed this to happen? There must be a way to fix it. Maybe If we put our minds together we can come to a solution. We can problem-solve, whittle down the options until we’ve found the right one. We need to make the fact that we’re many minds work to our advantage somehow. We need to rise up and tear this whole thing apart and build it from scratch. We need to solve this together. We need to come to an understanding and form an alliance and make it so that this never happens again. We need to organize and work on our communication and get a better therapist and talk more often and finally, finally tell each other how we really feel, right in the moment, not waiting for a the opportunity to do so later when everybody has supposedly calmed down. We need to solve our problems now, once and for all, because there’s nothing left to prove. We’re all innocent and we’re all guilty. We’re never going to be perfect. We need to figure out a way to endure our shortcomings. To persevere nothing less than ourselves. Because soon we’ll all be gone. Dispersed. Forgotten by each other, into new lives. In short, we’ll survive. It won’t kill us. We’ll get over it. I’ll get over it. Eventually. I’m just trying to figure out where to go from here. Because ‘we’re’ not a place anymore. We don’t get to depend on each other. And when we eventually see each other in public we’ll have to figure out how to act all over again with the world watching. We'll be waiting and we'll be running away. Experiencing love for someone who used to love you. I'll never be over it. I'll just learn to live without it.