Only one man I’ve ever dated had the potential to be forever. I don’t believe in soul mates, at least not romantic ones, but something about this man in particular I was just…..drawn to. When describing his feelings for me, he used the word “addicted” more than once. “I can’t quite leave you alone for long….I need you.”
We ended up together in the strangest of ways, and drifted apart for brief periods here and there, and we both took turns dating other people. But we couldn’t quite manage to stay away from each other for long, and every time a relationship fell apart, we were back to each other again. It was like magnets; even when separated we were irresistibly pulled back together.
I loved him. It’s probably the fastest I’ve ever fallen for someone, and the most powerful. I felt it so deeply that, unlike every other guy I’ve dated, I said “I love you” first. I had never done that before, but I was so sure of it that I just told him, straight out, no bullshit. I said “I’m in love with you, so….there’s that.” Ever the poet.
He was quite a good deal older than me, and was at the age where nearly all of his friends were married, or engaged. I remember he had a bit of a breakdown when he turned thirty, and told me that he thought he’d be married by then. We had talked about marriage; I wasn’t ready. I was too young, too scared, it was too big of a commitment to a man I was too terrifyingly in love with. I called him “the someday man” because he had all these plans for how he wanted his life to go….”someday.”
In ended in a not-so-romantic way; he’d spent an evening at my house, a few months after we’d broken up, making out on my couch. (I miss his kiss. That man could kiss you until your head was spinning. I always felt a little drunk after kissing him, like I couldn’t quite catch a breath. He whispered, “I’m addicted to you,” and I fell in love with him all over again. I don’t know if I’d ever stopped loving him, but he brought it all back in a hurry.) The next day he was texting me, asking if I was dating anyone. Of course I wasn’t; if I had been, I wouldn’t have been kissing him the night before. I asked him the same, and for several hours he didn’t respond. I felt a pit in my stomach.
When he finally responded, it was to apologize for the long silence because he’d been at dinner. With his fiance.
So the short version of the end of my relationship with him is that he found someone who was ready to marry him. It shouldn’t have surprised me, really. He was terribly charming, very sweet, stupidly handsome, sensitive and funny. But I knew that if I continued talking to him, continued being his friend, then I wouldn’t be able to just be his friend. Wrong or not, immoral or not, I would kiss that mouth if he offered it and I’d let those hands run through my hair and I’d lay in bed with his arms around me if that’s what he wanted, because I couldn’t stay away. I never had before and I had no reason to believe I’d be able to now.
But I believe in being faithful, and I believe in girl code. And it didn’t matter to me who his fiance was, I’d never met her and likely never would, but she was a woman who was engaged to the love of my life, and she deserved better than a husband who was addicted to another woman.
I wrote him a letter saying goodbye, drove to his house in the middle of the night to leave it on his doorstep (very Taylor Swift), and never contacted him again.
It’s been over a year, and thankfully, I don’t think about him much anymore. I can safely say I’m not in love with him anymore. I also hope I never run into him again, because I don’t want to feel the things I might feel if I stood close to him again. I love you – I don’t love you – I’m free.
Anyway. This one’s for him, and us, and all the secrets we never told.
Do you remember?
a swan in the lake – two roads diverging
winding roads full of tricky secrets
paths unfurling through trees carved with past loves
but there was guilt on all the leaves
a green-eyed monster couldn’t bear to touch
a snapshot — you on the shore, drowning
black and white, but you were always grey
Do you remember?
our lights touched across rooms, blue to green
a sparkle of mischief; your smile for two
your fingers dancing along my spine
stolen seconds in a tranquil backstage
dialogues and [asides] and soliloquies
the silence before the squall
quick lighting shifts on [approaching footsteps] cues
Do you remember?
twilight hours spent among sawdust and paint
a brush of elbows passing in the halls
like paintbrushes on a watercolor canvas
the masks we wore to cage our consciences
[the clang of footsteps on metal stairs]
a breathless kiss, your hand on my neck
we found a cave dark enough, until
[a beam of light, searching]
your hands in my hair, your breath against my ear
Do you remember?
dawn shed light on mistakes best left to darkness,
as the barn doors closed, the past illuminated
but forbidden fruit tastes sweeter
and you’re too weak to let go,
so I became a better stranger