One Word for this: Wow
I’ve been loved and I’ve loved hard but never in it, always just off to the side. Always just a circling the drain. I never fell. On the outside looking in. I was never pushed. I figured out what “normal” looked like in a relationship and I tried to emulate it as best I could. When I slipped, folks blamed the illness or the artist and they were right but it was also this need to stay just a little bit out of reach.
I think about collateral damage often. I think about the men who are somewhere thinking that they were the great love of my life; lamenting or laughing about how they broke my heart or hurt me. What they don’t know is that they didn’t break me because I was never theirs to break. I chose them because I knew they could never see me or touch me. I chose the emotionally repressed. I chose the machismo. I chose the mommy issues. I chose the arrogance. I chose the conceit. I chose the self centered navel gazing pseudo poet. I chose anything that told me that there was an expiration date. I was just waiting for it. Biding my time and holding my self close. So when they left, I sighed in relief. Exhaled for the first time we negotiated a hello or a kiss. And there were tears. There was a wetness that appeared when it was necessary and often when it wasn’t. The tears were real. The hurting was real but it wasn’t for them. I brought the hurting with me. I only leave with what I came with.
And my “I love yous” were never statements or declarations. They were questions, “Can you see me?”
If the answer was yes, I let them believe that when I ended it, it was their idea. And if the answer was no, then I knew that I needed to check the expiration date. I needed to gather my things, collect what I came with and leave before someone got hurt.