I recently woke up to an email which read, in part: I fell in love with you the night H introduced us at Oliver’s and you argued with me about Freud calling him an ‘over-glorified sexual predator with an anal fixation and not enough love as a child’. I’m sorry I disappeared after a few dates and behaved like an asshole […] Poindexter’s attached expresses best what position you held in my world […] I was too young and you were everything […] I’m so sorry I treated you the way that I did.
Not bad, yes? Freud, by the way, was the core of his PhD dissertation.
This gentleman and I went out nearly 16 years ago and when he dropped off the face of my dating schedule, I was confused and hurt, not knowing or understanding why he would drop such an obviously good thing. We were matched intellectually and physically, our (necessary) chemistry at the perfect stress tension. Like a demented scientist, I analyzed everything for weeks and weeks trying to sort what had gone wrong, what it was that I had done and which led him to shun me.
Turns out, I hadn’t done anything. All I had done was scare him by being nothing more than my usual self who – unless I actively choose to build them, a difficult chore and not in my natural resting state – has neither boundaries nor walls and who actively does not recognize them in others. He broke my heart because he didn’t know how to have me; he broke my heart because he was too scared that I might break his.
What a dick.
I already called him this in an email and I have his full permission to share all of this here – but yes, what a dick. What a dick for not telling me then, for not engaging me gently and saying he just didn’t know what to do with me. What a dick because after he disappeared from my world, he pulled another dick move and began dating the most vacuous of individuals I have had the displeasure of meeting. She was the absolute polar opposite of me in looks, brains, curiosities and general engagement in this world. I stood for everything she did not and I took it as personal offense that she was chosen over me (because I am just that self-centered that I made his dating choice…about…me. Nearly two decades later, it is nice to know that sometimes, my self-involvement, is correctly rooted).
As an adult, and with (very lovely) recent comms with him, I now understand that the reason she was indeed chosen over me – an active and conscious choice by him – was because he needed the safety of her, a safety of not being hurt, a safety of ‘if this doesn’t work out, it won’t bother me’, a safety from the damage I might do were I to not love him as he had begun to love me.
So. Not only was he a dick, but so too was he a drama queen. He agrees.
Me, I was oblivious to the depth of what he had begun to feel, and though I am loathe to admit it, I’m not entirely certain how or what he would have been able to say to me then, which would have made it better. I would have called him a coward and we would have fought and I would have become infuriated that he was running away instead of trying to swim. It would have been an impossible conversation, so he chose out the easiest way how. He hurt me deeply in the process, but his message was a balm, even this many years later.
Over the last years, this is the third such message I have received of this (slightly varied) nature – first was from S, about whom I have written, and second was from someone about whom I have not yet, nor will I ever write. Because even I have secrets. A part of my sharing this story with you is so that it can equally be a balm for your wounded heart. We have all been confused and shunned and set aside for no obvious reason. At one moment or another, someone has crushed our hearts or has been careless with them; intentionally maliciously, or clumsily though well-intentioned. I recently said to someone “be excited about what is around the corner. Always” and I had meant it as reference to the potential of new love. I now realize that the rounding of that corner might bring us back to a heart of the past, whose now ready to show us its hand once and for all.
To everyone reading – may all of your rounded corners only bring the kindest and gentlest of messages and surprises x
Side Note: He is now very happily married to a brilliant woman and they have a beautiful little baby boy. As always, thank you passage of time.