I had some ‘found time’ on Halloween night. Soybean picked up our girl early for the second half of trick-or-treating, and he then took her home. So I dished out candy, but mostly I worked on my letter, and emailed it to him before I turned in for the night.
What was I expecting? Not much. But I was hoping for a conversation, although not banking on it.
I didn’t hear anything from him until 4:40pm on Tuesday, when he barged into my office. I believe he had something planned to say, but the words weren’t coming out of his mouth. He was short of breath and just looked at me in askance with his most intense gaze (which is intense when he’s talking about the weather). With my heart jumping out of my chest at the surprise and emotion, I said the following in an order I can’t recall: “close the door. I don’t know what I’m doing anymore than you do. I’m just trying to be real with you.” He said something about not ignoring me at work from now on. But that particular interaction wasn’t memorable for the words we exchanged.
The reality of it though was that we were at work, and I had a treatment group to run that night. I asked if I could call him after group, and he agreed. In the dark streets, driving back home after a long day, we talked nervously for a few minutes. I knew a fork was coming up ahead; exit and go home, or drive straight to his house. I asked if I could and he agreed.
Like one would gather small change from the pockets of each coat they own, I gathered my courage for what was ahead. I tried to set some boundaries for myself: say the things you have to say, resist the urge to sleep over. I put gas in the empty tank of the car, anticipating a late night departure.
He was on the phone when I arrived and he gestured for me to come in. We sat at his kitchen table, awkwardly at first, but seemingly both happy to be together after a long time apart. What I needed to tell him were all the things I had kept to myself during the relationship. I went back to things said in spring and summer that I let pass by. I did not let myself off the hook at any turn; I forced myself to speak. Waves of shame coursed over me; I had to put my head on the table a few times; and I contemplated leaving my last mental bullet point out of the conversation. But I didn’t. I said everything I had to say.
He was generous. And patient. He listened and gave me the time I needed to express my thoughts. He helped me calm down when I became overwhelmed, but held up good boundaries. He said things too. He needed to talk about how hard it was when I left him; and everyday since. Before I left, we agreed to talk again.
I drove home in the dark, moonless night with a sense of relief and clarity and strength. A fox ran out of the way as I came round a bend. The fox; symbol of discernment and increased awareness, my spirit animal in these times, to be sure. I was shaking a lot that night; and again this week as I was telling Orion about it. He said that shaking is the breaking down of the old ways, the ones poured in concrete within us.
That pattern I have, the one I’ve held onto as if my life has depended on it (because at one point it had), it’s time to let it go. I can’t be in love* with another if I hold on to that pattern. Making sure everything goes well on the outside takes me further in to myself, and makes me much less available to be with the other. And then I end up feeling unseen, unknown by the other. That’s a way I can ensure I stay safe, but alone and misunderstood. It stops here and it stops now.
As for what’s next for Mr. Right Now** and I, I’ve got little to report . Right now, we’re in touch a lot, but haven’t managed to see one another since that night. There is a great deal of affection between us, but whose to say if all the elements are there to build a relationship. And I feel ok with not knowing where this is going. I’m proud of where we are, of where I am.
* Again, there’s a fantastic passage in Love Warrior where Glennon talks about love being less of a feeling, and more of a created and shared space between two people.
** He’s getting a name change on this blog. Stay tuned.