On One Hand

September 20, 2006


Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 1:10 am

I just got an incredibly long apology letter from my ex, by email. It’s exactly what I was looking for from him but never in a million years expected to get. Never. I’m not sure if it was completely from his heart or instead sparked by some signal from a friend, a clue I left to linger online, or the tone of my eyes when I’ve crossed his path – before I would put on the sunglasses and hide myself to focus on other things. (My eyes are treacherous; I can never hide anything I feel because they always let it show.)

I made this resolution to assume people mean what they say and to not read into it. In accordance with that I won’t read into the email this time either. Clay said what he meant, I guess.

The letter is delicately stylized like a memoir, full of hyperbolized language of love and regret, asides for philosophizing, background explanations, powerful confessions and plattitudinal condolences. Clay goes into detail about the death of his mother and what he was thinking at the time that I was saying I loved him so much and he had his eye on something more distant. In spite of our awkward discconnects, rude arguments and blunt punctuations in discourse when speaking face to face, written conversations between Clay and have always been incredibly fucking gushy.

When Clay and I were together it was I who instigated the prosey communication between us, so thick with emotional exaggeration it could drown Romeo and Juliet in sappyness. I was focused on one thing – making it work – and as I abandoned all other things in my life to find hope in I sank into a you-or-nothing depression that left me leaning on a language pathetically weighted with dramatic devotion.

I have changed a lot since we ended. I’m relaxed now, observational. I’m cool, rational, mature. I’m light and sarcastic. I’m anything but the wretched mess I was.

And here in front of me is this thing I needed all this time: the apology that would change everything. I don’t hold grudges, I’ve told myself that many times. I just demand recognition of the fault, I rationalize, and if said recognition happens I can forgive and say the whole thing never happened.

On some level the past has finally decended beneath the surface, no longer the pieces of my consciousness but rather the marks of the subliminal: I no longer feel any need to talk about Clay or how upset I was about things between us, though I still think I’m changed by going through that. Is there a transition of tone between us? No; Clay was always doing things and apologizing for them, even when he did them again and again, and like I said, we’ve always been gushy. But there is a transition of tone in me, I guess, because I think I got over all the pain for good, sometime between reading the apology email and now.

In my feelings toward Clay, specifically, nothing deep inside me moved when I read the message. There was no revolution of thought or feeling. The direction of the wind can reverse in an instant but the deep currents of the ocean will take weeks, months to chance course in response.

But I think, at the same time, I am liberated from the bonds of begrudgment by the apology. I feel lighter, as if my mind can now look to other things, and to the future. I am no longer waiting for something more; nothing can be said or done that hasn’t been said or done already. There may still be scars, but they’ve gotten all the treatment they can get.

There are still some things I miss about Clay. I’ve only recently gotten to the point where I could remember them fondly without pangs. I’ve enjoyed being single, too, though, much more than I’ve ever enjoyed any relationship. I love building myself and seeing myself rise to new levels. I love working out and having a body for once. I love getting attention from attractive people. I love looking at each guy’s face with potential – saying, we could fall in love someday – even if I neither pursue nor desire such a thing. I love being able to connect with people as myself without baggage, to not obsessively stress about my shitty boyfriend or and have my pain show no matter how hard I want to hide it. I am finally ready, after such a long time, to be patient and single until I find the right person even if it takes years and years.

Clay and I were always trying to connect and just never made contact. We floated through space like sattelites, influencing the others’ course but lacking the gravity to actually pull the other in. Maybe we’re all like that. He was never what I wanted him to be – I can admit that now, and I don’t have to feel scorned or rejected for us not working. We had entirely different desires – mine of intensity and connection and his of individuality and recognition. Defining life in twos is extremely difficult. It’s hard enough for me to allign my own parts, without minding the accomodations of another person.

But I hope to make meaning of all this. Ours is a great story – at least in the postmodern, depressing sense that celebrates disconnects – and I think it’s better if we don’t ultimately hate each other for what we did. I would be naiive to think the barriers between us were only circumstantial and that he and I will find what we want in each other – and the problem with us being friends is, I guess, that it’s hard to keep seeing some things I really wanted lost by being intertwined with things I can’t accept.

OK – Fuck it – I don’t even know what I want so its stupid to say whether anyone was or wasn’t that indefinable thing I went after. Who knows, he could still be the perfect guy for me, or he could be the worst guy in the world and the Universe will keep us apart, holding me over to meet the right one, the guy I alwas dreamed of at 16, and we’ll first cross paths someday in a coffee shop in New York City like in all the old fantasies and I’ll know who he is the moment our eyes meet.

I certainly don’t dream of that anymore. I’m always changing and that’s going to continue to happen. The main thing I note is that, amazingly, and I knew it would happen but never really beleived it: the things that were once so important to me no longer are. Losing Clay is no longer a defining moment. Recovering is no longer important. I was once caught in the current but now I’m on shore and the river just flows past me like it isn’t there. So now that my own loose ends are tied I am left with the obligation of a response. What do I say to the email; Thank you? I’m sorry too? I agree? I disagree? I miss you? I don’t miss you? I just want to forget? I love you? I’m past you? I want to be friends?

I still can’t answer. I don’t want to be rude but anything I say would be a lie on some level. All I can say honestly at this point are the things that only have to do with me: I’m a better person now, like this, than I was then, I’m happy and feel productive, and I don’t feel like I hate anybody. I’ll thank Clay for the email. He is a sweet guy, really. I never meant to be so down on him, because he was always so nice to everyone except me, and although I can’t say the way he acted was out of his control, I know part of him always knew better and was filled with regret.

There’s something in him that sparked, like electricity muted at the bottom of a muddy lake, and he never let me touch it. As much as I muddied my own with him I couldn’t make his water clear. Now rather than resenting that, I can appreciate it for what it is. He’s a good guy, and talented. Best of luck.


1 Comment »

  1. This was interesting to read. I don’t want to comment directly on anything. It makes me sad to consider the thought that someone I care this much about would be better off away from me. I guess, that is my challenge. -C

    Comment by pruittc — October 4, 2006 @ 5:43 pm | Reply

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