Wednesday, June 16, 2010

one thing I'll say for me


I take my licks standing up.

Last night was Non-Date: The Ultimate Showdown. And it ended just as poorly as anticipated.

You see, this man has been hovering around my heart for eight years now. Four years of student/teacher friendship followed by three years of fervid non-dating, and then this past stretch of maybes and what-ifs and occasional grandma kisses in Grand Central Station. It has been one long rinse cycle of ambiguity, but here we are, in the year of our lord 2010, and finally I've come out the other side. A bit bedraggled for the wear, but squeaky clean.

Six months ago, if a man had said to me, "No, I never felt that way"—even if I knew this to be false—I would have sunk to my knees in despair. Because that man, in reconstructing his own narrative, would have robbed me of mine. I have waited the better part of a decade for this absolution. To know, once and finally, what I mean to this man. I wanted to hear him admit it, to say, "Yes, of course I felt it too, but I'm emotionally retarded." Needless to say, he did not. But then I realized: I didn't need to hear him say what I already knew—at ligament level—to be true.

At least he said something. (Granted, I all but forced him to, but who's counting?) He looked me straight in the eyes and he lied.

"And that's the ballgame," I said. And trotted off to the subway, because mama's got class.

The real plot twist here was not in his refusal, but my reaction. Sure, frustration and self-pity flashed in my brain pan; I was ready, Kleenex in hand, to eulogize all the missed moments and wasted opportunity, but it didn't take me much further than the turnstile to recognize another feeling strongarming the others for a clear shot at the spotlight, which is to say: relief. I was relieved.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, will get me past whatever wisps of regret and wounded pride will threaten to settle overhead. I am finally free of this albatross. The Universe gave me one clear moment in which to say, "Well, I've had enough of this crap."

By the time I got home, I was ten pounds taller. How many hours of my life have I wasted trying to decipher his feelings? Post-date analyses, passive aggressive emails, wistful texts fallen on deaf ears . . . all of that is over. Chapter closed.

If he had said "yes" and swept me off my feet right there on 42nd Street, I would have been settling for just a little less. These children (all pushing forty—jeez, ma, will I never learn?!) will never love you back because they've got nothing to give.

And I would rather be alone than accept another incomplete person in my heart. I deserve more.

Surprisingly, the bright side of yesterday won out. There were two hours of sunset dancing on the blustery and humid pier, a perfect pint of Guinness in a newly discovered pub, and a big fat peace descending as I snuggled into my single girl bed.

Functional.

4 comments:

Scarlet-O said...

them there bells is hittin' homeclose.

raise that stout to anticlimax, to uta, to buddha, pablo neruda too

Phoenix said...

Hell fucking yeah. I love this functional, healthy, kick-ass, take no prisoners part of you. Ride it all the way home, girl.

M said...

Wow! WOW WOW WOW WOW? Really? Way to go. xo

Anonymous said...

Surprisingly gentle move into the next and most exciting phase of your life (to date). Congratulations!