I find myself continually living in three different head spaces. I’m constantly under a barrage of what to do in any given moment. When things are still, in the present, I try to allow myself to simply exist in that stillness but then my mind wanders to thoughts of the past or the future.
For the past few days I’ve been thinking back on the “fight to end all fights” or the “shit show”, as you called it, and what I see now is that by, what for me was, simply correcting a fact in something we had previously discussed you assumed it was meant in a way that was attacking or presumptive about your thoughts. I tried to express this to you after the fact but your feet were already set, your armor on, the offense taken. I had become familiar with this trait of yours.
In the early days of our relationship I recalled a misunderstanding that we had that I felt required an urgent call home to you while I was on the road. At the end of that conversation I remember that we both agreed that it was great to finally have partners that we could talk things out with and correct misunderstandings. Somewhere along the line, though, we lost that ability.
This is part of why I will always be confused about how we wound up this way. Today, though, I found myself thinking back on when you really seemed to be fading away from me and us. It was before we got married. In the days leading up to and through your hospitalization I could see in your eyes a certain vacant, hollowness that hadn’t been there before, though I had heard it in your voice occasionally over the years in late night phone calls.
That emptiness, for lack of a better word, seemed to communicate so many things in our lengthening silences. Sometimes it was a simple “I don’t want to talk” or “I can’t communicate what I’m feeling in a way that you will understand” but, to me, it always carried with it a note of “please, don’t give up on me. I don’t know what’s wrong with me but please understand me. Please be careful with me.” At least, that was what I read in those deep eyes of yours that I so miss seeing every day, even when you felt bereft and exhausted.
You were still my light even as I became increasingly frustrated that our friendship wasn’t, in fact, carrying us through those tough times. But, in the end, you felt like I never really understood you. The fact is, that I did and I do. I just wanted to find a way out of the way that you were feeling, the emptiness that you occasionally found the words to describe for me.
Our ways out differed and we never found the space to actually talk about it. As friends. As partners, even if we were no longer going to be either.
I also find myself thinking about the future. Mine and what’s left of “ours”, adversarial as it has become. I don’t want what’s to come of this. I don’t just mean the divorce but everything that comes with it. That’s also a conversation that we never had. I’d still be open to it but cautious, of course. That’s how hurt people respond and we’ve both been hurt, by each other as well as by other people.
I don’t know how else to say it. I still love you. I still don’t really know what to do with that but for now I need to return to my present; the next lesson, the next class, the next step out the door as I put on my mask that says “I can do this” when inside I still feel anything but.
As for the future, who knows?