Tuesday, February 21, 2006

How Does It All Fit Together

Yesterday, you surprised me with a wonderful SMS when I thought I'd never hear from you again. I replied in kind. I was happy that day.

And then today, you hit me again. Another SMS. Commiserating about Hong Kong and how you had told me so. Only right at the end, embedded in all that kindness and sweetness, a grenade telling me you knew about my blog and what I wrote about you.

I was apologetic. Embarrassed. Guilty. Exposed. And then Sad. Oh so sad. I offered to take down the posts about you, but to add insult to injury, you had to be gracious about it. The least you could do is be affronted. Or infantile. Or hate me. Never talk to me again. Let me off easy.

In retrospect, it was all quite inevitable. I'm pretty good at protecting the anonymity of my subjects, because it is inextricably tied to my own. But this was something I had written quite a while back - when there were 200 reading my blog daily, as opposed to 2,000 - and I had accidentally let slip a few too many distinguishing characteristics. And as things go in the world of the big bad Internet, I got found out - by your jerk colleague who probably spends his time gratuitously wanking at his desk over my blog.

I wasn't so much ashamed of what I wrote. I meant those words. And I have never lied or hidden my sexual asides from you. No, I was ashamed that you found out when I had taken so many pains in real-life to prevent you from knowing. Knowledge that would make me vulnerable. That would make me look silly. Strung along like the rag-puppet I swore I would never be again. I was protecting my pride. And whatever was left of my heart.

We never had a future together. So on that pretext, I never felt I owed you the truth. In fact, I was never even sure you cared. Might as well get on with the rest of my life and the two Italian stallions fitted the bill at the time. It would just hurt me more if you knew. Sometimes the heart needs mindless sex to chase its foolish notions out of existence. And to remember the real world it lives in.

But I never expected you to want to discuss what I wrote and ask me what I meant by this or by that. I never expected you to have so many questions I couldn't answer. I never expected you to dredge up old wounds and kindle old memories. You upset me. I thought I had healed over. I don't torture myself with the what-could-have-been. I'm just not that sort of girl. But I guess there is too much unresolved. There is too much we haven't talked about. And maybe we never will. You sent me these lines...

"The thing is...it doesn't work together at all. I would never judge your sexual preferances or desires no matter how off putting I might find them. And I know that the stuff you wrote about me came from your heart. I have always felt the same about you and you know that. But when you write heartfelt feelings about someone in one sentence and then fanciful 3 way action in the next absolutely everyone that will read this associates one with the other which puts into question and lessens the belief in anything said...But aside from all that I find it hard to believe that you honestly thought that this would be something private and personal?"

...and I was just at a loss as to how to respond. There are just too many unexorcised spirits buried in that SMS. You are too late. (And this is from someone who doesn't usually believe in 'too late'.) I am too far away. Mentally. A chasm of unanswered questions and consequent misunderstandings stand between us.

You broke my heart but never shattered it completely. And that is the cruelest thing to do to somebody. It broke into one thousand parts. So that piece by piece it flaked off. Like bad paint off a humid Hong Kong wall. Carrying off fragments of the hopeful, optimistic me that you once knew and cared about.

Maybe I was too forgiving. All I needed from you was a simple dealbreaker. Something to definitively label you a bastard and thus make me avoid you forever. The worst relationships are the ones that wear away at you by attrition. One modest disappointment after another. A neglected call. A missed dinner date. A forgotten gift. Love isn't always about grand gestures and flowery apologies. You know I'm not a needy chick. You never had to spend much time with me. And I never asked for much - just the certainty that when you said you'd call back, you would. Or that if you couldn't make it in time, you'd let me know. Simple courtesies like that.

Do you know the amount of time I spent waiting for you to call? Or keeping my fingers crossed in agony over whether you'd make it to see me? I would put my plans on hold for up to a week on the off-chance that you were in town. Of course I grew tired of waiting. But then I'd wait some more. Of course I'd tell myself that I would never let anyone else string me along this way. But when the opportunity presented itself, I'd just do it all over again. That's why I said that knowledge makes me vulnerable. Nobody but me should know that I suffered like that.

I never told you because I just wanted the few times we had together to be happy and free of these banal little irritations. I just assumed things would get better with time. I never told you because I needed to preserve my dignity. I was a strong, confident woman who didn't need anyone else in her life, who had a string of people who loved to spend time with her, who went through men like water. Why was I being over-sensitive and needy and pathetic like this? Absolutely out of character. I had to disown that part of myself.

And thus, I had to disown what I felt about you. And so I did things to sabotage our relationship. I kept the truth from you. Because that was the only thing I had control over. I had to convince myself that I didn't care. I had to numb myself to what I felt. I used other men with their tokens of affection to fill the gaping void you tore inside me.

That's how it all works together, okay? Like a bird with a broken wing. Looking out at the sky and wanting to fly but knowing it never will. And so it begins to eat away at its feathers and starve itself in despair. Knowing that the more it destroys itself, the less chances it will have to escape the cage it's in.

I wanted to respond to you today. And I began to, in a rather clumsy and inadequate way. But you see, I started crying at my phone and everyone started looking at me funny. And I had to stop myself. It's not that I wanted to shut you out. (What would be the point since you know too much already.) It's just that I can't talk about it right now. I just can't.

Maybe one day we will have a "Before Sunset" moment. Or not, as life sees fit. You asked if I thought about you. Well I do - and I did especially when I watched that movie. Sentimental me. If you want answers, come find me another day - at the right time and in the right place - and I will tell you everything.

Or maybe you will read this and you'll know. Whatever it is, until I next hear from you, take care of yourself.