Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The key to her story and his heart

When she looks back on today a million miles from this place and everyone and everything it holds she will remember only a fraction of what truly happened. It will be muted and misrepresented by every future event. Maybe the grass won't seem as green as it is, and the sky will be blue instead of this unique shade of gray that should have foretold the importance, the change that was bubbling on the horizon. His intentions might be darker, her purpose less carefully planned.  She won't remember that she chose to wear that dress for him, or that it took her seven hours and nineteen minutes to decide on the right shoes and shade of eyeshadow.  And it won't matter anymore that she was six minutes late, a fact that today was nearly earth shattering, catastrophic.  The details...most of them will be lost, some to time, but also some for the purposes of pure self preservation.

What will remain is only a ghost of the truth, a flawed recollection of the most important and most devastating evening of her life.  He does not stand nervously fiddling with something in his jacket pocket in their favorite spot. His hands are not sweaty and his disheveled hair gives nothing away. He waits at a nondescript park bench, annoyed and time stricken.  She does not lose her breath at the sight of him, enticed by his rugged appearance, and the sense that something important was going to happen did not literally crackle in the air. 

If she were able to rewind, go back to this exact moment, she would marvel at the fact that she forgot the most important parts of that day.  But each day she loses a little more, moves a little farther away from the girl she used to be and the things that were important.  She will not recall the way that he looked at her, or the sharp intake of breath he took when he held her face.  She will not know that she radiated beauty, her eyes bluer in the gray, happiness amplifying every perfect feature he already saw in her.  Instead she wonders why he won't let her touch him, remembers the distance he kept.  She won't remember stepping back, or know that he watched her eyes darken, harden, and eventually set.

All she sees is this boy that was supposed to meet her at the park, this boy that she had known most of her life, couldn't even look her in the eyes.  She doesn't know she shook her head, and wrung her hands and backed away.  Or that the horrifying look on her face was the caused by a paralyzing fear that she was wrong about this boy's intentions, rather than the result of anything he had actually done.  Here they teetered on on the edge of many things...love, friendship, hate, repulsion, sanity...a future together.

And if she could go back and watch it happen again she would see.  She would see that it was his face that fell in disappointment as she walked away, shaking her head, and whispering "no...".  A no that was laced with devastation and the incorrect notion that this boy had led her here to break her heart.  She remembers instead that he left her there, broken and crying...even after the rain began to pour. 

It's funny how perceptions flaw memories so indefinitely.  It did not even rain that day, and that gray sky that she thought was blue? It actually got bluer.  And that boy that broke her heart, that first boy to ever do so, was fiddling with a key in his pocket.  A key to a house that he bought for her, for them.  Because it had taken one crazy night with his best friend under the stars to not only show him that he loved her, but that he needed her to survive.

Each heart here was broken.  And it only took a moment to change their path, their destiny.  If she could rewind she'd watch him crumple to the ground as she ran, see the tears stream down his face, and marvel at the fact that his eyes seemed to glow as the sky brightened.  She would see him take the key out of his pocket and toss it on the ground in disgust and pain.  And if she cared to watch a bit longer she would see that he picked that key back up and set it on their bench with a note.  A note that she never looked for and never found. 

"I think I've loved you since the first day I saw you here.  We were 7, and I was digging for worms after the rain to go fishing with my dad, and when you walked up you told me that was the coolest thing you had ever seen.  I didn't know what love was then.  12 years later I'm not sure if I do even now, but I do know that I need you.  I need you here with me, always.  I know you deserve better, but I want to give you everything I have.  So here is your key...to my heart and our future.  This is why I brought you here today. I was always waiting for you and I didn't even know it.  But run first and live your life and if you don't find what you're looking for I will still be here, and this key will still be yours"

He found the note against the rail of his fence a few days later, wrongly assuming she had found it, but still left him.  And that key sat right where he had left it when he returned.  And his heart shattered, sure of the fact that she had no intentions of ever returning.  And if she could have seen it she would know.  She would know that that note and that key remained in his pocket always.  A feint reminder of her, and the fact that he loved somebody once, still loved her today.  But she could not see this.

She did the only thing that she knew how to do; she ran.  As far away from this place and as fast as she could.  She told herself she could never go back, never look back, because if she did she'd let him break her heart all over again.  The memory twisting and darkening already.

Years later she would return, exhausted with her journey and the lack of something she could not quite place.  And she sat next to a stranger at the bar.  A drunken stranger telling the story of a girl that had left him behind so many years before.  She would listen, and she would agree.  But she would never see that the man also held in his pocket a note and a key.  And a place in his heart that he still kept solely for her.

She still did not see.  She did not see those eyes hidden beneath his ballcap that would have given him away.  She did not notice that at some point his breath caught in his throat when he finally looked at her, saw her for who she was.  She was too focused on avoiding the man that broke her heart that she paid no attention to this rugged and disheveled man that sat next to her. 

She did not notice when he left, but moments later tried to catch him because he forgot his key on a napkin that was not a napkin but a note upon further review...notes actually. The first was rather simple, kind of sleazy out of context.

"5424 birch road, blue farmhouse white fence...I'm still waiting"

And then a familiar note, one yellowed with age and almost torn at the folds that had been opened and closed so many times.

And her clouded memory began to unravel, readjust.  And 10 years after that day she finally saw it.  And she ran again, but with a different purpose this time.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

A letter to the boy that I let go, and the best friend I could never keep

Life is funny sometimes.  So cyclical and cynical.  I have come to realize that this is my addiction, the feeling that I get from releasing everything that I have inside out in to the universe.  Usually I just need to be rid of whatever is inside, but today is different.  Today this post is for him.  This is for the boy that I knew I could never love enough to keep, but just enough to hurt so badly I could not let him go.  I hope you find this someday, and I hope that you care enough to tell me that you heard me. 

It has been months since we were supposed to meet for lunch and you just never showed up.  I wrote to you after angry for the fact that you had done something that was so out of character that I just could not understand it.  I was angry, but forgiving because I think I already knew then that I was toxic.  I knew that I was the one thing that poisoned your ability to be happy.  I told you that I would respect the fact that you could not be around me, or that you shouldn't be, and oh how I have tried.  I have tried to forget you.  But then I end up back here, and for some reason there you are.  You nudge my brain as my fingers touch this keyboard and I want to reach out.  I want to tell you so many things.  The words are burning holes within my chest, and I am losing my sanity and myself in the process. 

I do not love you, I do not want to spend my life with you, and I do not regret the fact that we stopped the never-ending cycle of whatever it was that we were doing.  But I do miss you.  The more days that go by without a call, or a text, or even a message, the harder it is for me.  You were my best friend.  You were the only person in the entire world that knew me completely and still accepted me.  So when I come here, to this place that I seek when I need to figure something out, I miss you more.  This white screen and blinking cursor are not enough.  I need you to tell me I'm not crazy.  I need you to tell me everything will be okay.  I need you to let me cry on your shoulder.

I took you for granted, that is one thing that I am sure of.  I was a terrible person to you, and I guess I understand why you do not want to be in my life now.  I took everything you gave, and I did not respect it enough until it was gone.  I was embarrassed of what we had, because in all honesty I did not know what it was.  Honesty and acceptance to that degree, and at our young age, bred a feral and unyielding attraction that was not easily tempered, and in the end that is what also ruined our ability to connect.  We were a unique duo then, but we have both since grown up and found true and lasting love. 

I think that knowledge is what hurts the most.  I always thought that there would come a day when we were both happy enough and secure enough in our own love lives that we could be friends again.  I thought that if we found a place where there was no threat of attraction that we could have the good parts of our relationship back, but as more time passes I fear that I never will.  So here is a list of everything that I've wanted to tell you in no particular order and without holding back:

I heard that you are going to be a daddy, and I am so happy for you.  I saw the announcement and my eyes literally filled with tears, because I know that this is something that you have wanted for a long time.  I know that you will be an amazing dad, and that that baby will never have to worry a day in his life because he has you watching over him.  I wish more than anything that I could tell you that.  Love him or her with everything you have and cherish every second.  And leave some memories behind for them, leave something in writing and take a million pictures, because you never know how long you'll get with them.  Life is unpredictable, and I know what it's like to have an amazing dad, but I also know what it is like to lose him.  Maybe this seems dark, or that I am assuming you will have a short life, but you always told me you would.  You always told me you thought you were going to die young, so if you do leave a piece of yourself for that child that will continue to grow and take the best of his/her daddy with them.

I have also had some revelations of my own.  As you know I am quite independent and strong-willed, but I have seen this slowly breaking.  I have found a man that I feel like I can spend the rest of this life with.  He is smart and charming and loving, and sometimes when he looks at me I can see him get lost.  He gets that look that someone gets when they are reading a book that they can just immerse themselves in.  He gets lost in me, and I lose myself for a moment too.  He has a temper, but he's only hard on himself.  This is upsetting only because I do not know what to do to fix it, and it scares me, but for him and never for myself.  I promised you and myself that I would never let someone hurt me again, and I know that he never would.  He would never raise a hand to me.  And he makes me want all that sappy shit that I tried to tell myself I never wanted or never needed.  I want the wedding and the white picket fence and the three children playing with the dog inside it.  I want it so badly, and I want it now.  That scares me too.  It scares me that I know I'm not ready for that, but that I want it anyway.

I miss you because I'm not sure what books to read anymore.  I miss being able to just sit there and tell you about the book I was reading, or hear your version of one that I should read.  And I miss stupid movie recommendations.  I'm so lost on Netflix that I've rewatched every episode of Bones at least ten times.

I go out of my way to drive past your work when I'm in the area just so I can try to get a glimpse of you to see that you're ok.  Yes, that makes me crazy.  The compulsion is sometimes alarming, and the disappointment is even more so when you are not standing outside waiting and waving to show me everything is fine.  I sound like some love crazed teenager, but I just worry and wonder about you.  Are you eating okay?  Are you happy?  Have you quit smoking yet? God it's ridiculous and frustrating.

And finally, do you regret me?  I know that I hurt you more than I ever helped you, and I took you for granted and I let you down, but was it still worth it?  Do you miss the friendship that we had as much as I do?  Do you ever wish that you could just go back and change things so that we never crossed the line?  Wish that we had done things differently in the beginning so that maybe we could still talk from time to time now?  Because I do.  I miss my friend, and I fear that he does not miss me.  I fear that you finally woke up and saw me through eyes that were not clouded by love, and realized that you didn't like what you saw anymore.  I would understand if this is so, but it would also hurt. 

I'm not really sure what I'm trying to get out of this long-winded and ridiculous rant.  In the end, I just want you to know that I miss you.  I miss my friend, and I miss your view of the world.  It didn't always make sense to me, but it was unique.  You are a special person and I want you to know that I finally realized that.  You are the best friend I could ever hope to find, and I am saddened by the fact that my antics while depressed and single have caused me to lose something so amazing. 

All I want is a cup of coffee, a slice of pie, and a talk with my best friend.  I want to know you're okay, and to show you that I'm finally okay too. 

Hoping and praying that my message gets through but preparing for the worst,