A very wise friend of mine – a happily married man – once told me that a relationship is the hardest thing you will ever undertake. I have thought a lot about that concept. There are men that have gotten into a rocket and flown out of the Earth’s atmosphere, knowing they may not come back. The idea of one’s well-being, one’s own survival, paling in difficulty next to simply sharing a bed with another human being is daunting, frightening and disillusioning. But, it seems to be the case. With each new love we put our proverbial balls on the chopping block and close our eyes, knowing the other party may lower the hatchet without warning. Not coming back from the Moon seems like a cakewalk.
In love there comes a time when we get comfortable. In comfort we expose our dreadful underbellies. We show our sadness. We show our anger with the world and with our pasts. We show our fears. We show our often comical neuroses. It is sometimes tolerated – sometimes even loved. But, it is the whole package that must be accepted.
Sure, there are good things. There are great things. There are the physical things – the attraction, the sex, the orgasms and hand-holding – the cuddling and napping. Sometimes even that squinty smile and long curly hair, their hips, and that feeling in your dick, is enough to keep you there. There are moments when you want to take that person, simply for how they look, and squeeze them in your arms because you don’t have the words or means to express how looking at them makes you feel.
There are also the forlorn moments – those moments where you stand alone and can’t wrap your head around what’s happening, and how you have no control over the inevitable. For me, it was doing laundry. I knew things were over – or at least headed towards the end. It was awful to be touching this other person’s clothes – from t-shirts to underwear – and know the person that filled them, to have both a vision of them naked and armored. I had not only the sexual thoughts, but the warm thoughts. The moments we shared when she wore the Friday the 13th t-shirt versus that turquoise terry-cloth (I think it was terry-cloth) pajama bottoms. I’d seen every version of every outfit. I stood in our bedroom folding and rolling fabric ghosts. She was already gone, but I had to pretend otherwise for the sake of hoping she may come back.
And so came the motions of normalcy: from taking her to a midnight showing of a movie I had zero interest in (Rocky Horror), to cooking a simple dinner. Normalcy was long lost. If either of those things mattered I felt no emotional response. I wasn’t perfect before those moments, and I had to understand that maybe I had taken myself too far away from who I was at the beginning to be seen as someone that she could still love. But that’s what I attempted. You know the rest. But, this is how it felt in the last few weeks.