Thursday, January 7, 2016

Table for One

I know I need to stop writing about my heartache. It's self indulgent. It's typical. It's boring. We've all had our hearts broken at one time or another and we've all managed to carry on with our lives. I am not experiencing anything new or unique. I know that.

But I don't care.

I feel things too deeply to carry it all inside me. Writing helps me empty myself. Even though I still feel the things I feel, sometimes reading my own posts is kind of cathartic in a way.

I think I will always remember the night we went to Costa Vida as the night that's most painful for me. Exactly one week earlier you had told me you wanted to take a break. You felt overwhelmed with life and it was just too much for you. I was too much. You cared about me deeply, but you felt like you were drowning and you didn't know how to get control of your life again.

I didn't make it easy for you. I cried and yelled and wrote five page long letters. I called. I texted. But you always responded. You would text me back long messages and spend hours with me on the phone. A person who was really done wouldn't do that I told myself. "He still loves you" became the silent chant of my heart. And in a weird moment of affection I'll never understand, you asked me if you could bring the kids over for Christmas Eve.

That was one of the most beautiful nights we spent together.

When I asked you what changed your mind, you said we were finding one another again. That you needed to see what this woman who challenged you in this exciting way meant to you. It felt like a promise for the future and my hummingbird heart soared with the knowledge that I had been right. You did still love me.

A few nights later you asked me to come over for a date night. I remember being surprised you would ask since I often felt like I was always the one initiating our hangouts. Even though Christmas Eve was magical, I was trying to take a step back for you. As much as it was hurting me, I also needed you to know that you wanted to be with me. I was tired of feeling like I was trying to convince you or that I was just an option. I needed you to see for yourself.

We went to Costa Vida for dinner. A place of no significance at all and yet I will never be able visit one again without remembering the way you looked at me. The way you were so happy to see me. I remember feeling unsure of how to approach you. Where was the man who was full of so much doubt? Did the space really change things? Had you really taken a step back from her? You told me about how your brother had to stop seeing someone who was too similar to him. "He said it was like hanging out with himself," you laughed. You were subtly telling me that there was no competition between me and her. She would make a good gaming buddy. I was challenging and exciting. You needed to see if there was anything behind the feelings we developed so quickly for one another you said. You told me I was beautiful and that you liked women like me. Strong women. We travelled the well worn paths of each others bodies and it was like the first time all over again. Our kisses felt like promises and our laughter felt like coming home after a long weekend away.

I remember not wanting to leave the next day. I lingered longer than I should have, but I was so scared of losing that feeling. I was afraid I would step out of that door and it would be lost to the world. If I could only stay in that moment forever, then we would be okay.

And I was right.

Something was lost the moment I left the warm cocoon of our love. I could feel the subtly shifting direction of our lives. For reasons I will never understand, you turned from me and from us. As quickly as Monday, I knew things were different. I tried to control the choking sense of fear that threatened to suffocate me every moment. I made excuses. I told myself I was being silly.

On Tuesday I wrote our break up letter.

On Wednesday I rewrote it.

On Thursday I forced myself not to send it.

We spent New Years Eve together but I could tell you had already given up on us. I could feel the space between us like a physical presence; the manifestation of all the ways we'd let each other down. I tried to pretend it wasn't true. I think you could tell I was sad. We didn't talk about the future.

You were my first New Years kiss besides Ryan.

It will always be the loneliest.

I asked you if you still liked me. I wonder if you had to shake your head because you couldn't trust yourself to lie. When I asked you why you said, "Because...you're Alana." I could still taste the lie.

At 8 o'clock on Sunday I finally sent the letter just as I received a text saying you were done. The irony of our timing is not lost on me. You kept saying we were out of sync, but apparently we weren't when it came to the things that mattered most. Then two days later you left heart emoticons on her picture.

Two days.

Your gaming buddy.

The one you have too much in common with.

My mind kept going back to Costa Vida. How did things change so quickly? Was it all a lie? Were you just pretending? Was any of it real? I'll never know. I'm not sure I want to. Because if you were pretending I'll have to hate you. And if it was a lie, I'll hate myself. I guess when I stop trying to make sense of what happened then I'll know I'm finally over it.

But tonight I'm still standing in that line at Costa Vida seeing nothing but love in your eyes.

Small raspberry chipotle chicken salad please.

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