July 12, 2007
on bailing
You should know that I’ve hidden things from this site, from you, many a time. I’ve been afraid to show you who what lies behind the (at times strained) wit. Of hurting my mother and father. Of being fired. Of shattering your image of me as a somewhat stable woman who eats Easy Mac and who might someday pickle her cats in Tupperware containers. No more. I’m incredibly vulnerable right now. You might as well see it; the record will stand for me and my grandcats if not to help your workday pass with that much more ease.

It started out as an innocent introduction, turned down by me given its reliance on phone conversation. I don’t do the phone. Ask the dozens including those in my bloodline who try to reach me daily and who get an answering machine or a promise of a call back. I’m a telephonephobe who spends hundreds of her hard-earned dollars per year on a technology she avoids. I don’t like being that accessible. Having you hear my voice, quivering at times, or at the other end, its resolve and strength. Fuck nonverbal communication. I’m out there when you hear me, telling you about my father’s progressing illness, the beautiful disasters that are the ties I’ve broken entirely of my own accord, of my fear of amounting to nothing of consequence. I wear the written word as much more of a shield, minutes of strategic adjectives and the choice of an “I” rather than a “you.” My voice has no automatic checks.

Things have been ridiculously difficult for me in the past year. Before 31, I never understood just how it was that folks had difficult years, even difficult decades. Did they not just pick up the pieces and move on, knowing that something delightful awaited them at the next turn? Apparently they do. I did. I worked for money and worked for growth and joined softball and bocce and ate and Pinot-ed my way across DC with not a regret. I kept my side of the street clean in each and every human relationship. Nothing took. And not in the way that you think. I enjoyed it all. I just never felt anything deeply. The stir in your stomach and the entertainment of spending time with someone orbiting with you in shared space. I am complete. Looking to share this new self in all her beauty, yet finding no one to fit the bill.

And then I found him. Kim will shake her head upon reading this post at its overwhelming level of estrogen and vow to buy me an awful draft beer or five at the O’s game on Saturday, the game at which he should have been touching my knee and laughing at my excessive use of puns. The He that isn’t by my side. Who chose to stay on the cul de sac, to play it safe rather than keep a Friday night reservation for wine and a dessert discussed long before dinner.

I knew quickly that I had not felt this way about a person in years. I have not been the person I am right now and felt this way about another . . . ever. I had absolutely no instinct to run, no push to change this man who actually admitted in spoken voice to a penchant for French cuffs. For the first time in my young life, I accepted a man for who he was; for the first moment in his young life, he was taken as he came. There was quiet talk of front porch Adirondack chairs and plans for Napa and pet names and middle-of-the-night marathon cell calls. I welcomed our knowing looks at future corporate functions and stolen kisses on the front lawn that would surely embarrass the neighbors. This was a relationship on the very verge of blossoming into something both of us knew could - and goddammit, would - be spectacular. The magnitude of which neither of us had before experienced. Anticipation and joy and a truly uncanny fit that afforded us access into one another’s heads. I won’t exaggerate and I won’t minimize it. I still believe in the absolute force that we could be, and I know in my heart that he does too.

But when things got too close, when we were coming to fruition and plans were no longer theory but a tangible touch of skin and minds, he ran. He shut down with some warning, red flags I didn’t want to see. His explanation was a cocktail of My gut says I can’t do this and I’m not ready to be happy yet and an acknowledgement that I was the best thing yet to cross his path. I can’t help but thinking that maybe we met at the wrong time, Kris. Disappointment doesn’t capture this feeling, nor does devastation. And it would be easier to process this rejection if my sinking stomach didn’t tell me that every word of his was true. If I were he, without all the tears and months of conversations with my genius, degreed professional, the potential of a successful “us” would scare the bejeezus out of me. Even a year ago I would have ruined this potential. I’ve never run, but I’ve made many a man miserable by making myself emotionally unavailable while figuring out whether or not I wanted to pass my time with him. I understand the urge. Shut the curtains and call it off at the altar before he has the chance to hurt me. Pull away before I ruin the core of yet another human being. Bail because the alternative requires too much risk and an energy reserve that isn’t yet full. Truth be told, he wasn’t there. He wasn’t ready. He chose not to risk it for the me that is here, the me who still stands here with open arms.

I’d told the farm about him. The pigs, the cows, the rooster who crows much too much all too early in the morning. Everyone knew about the beautiful potential I had coming down the pike, because my cup runneth over with excitement and infectious passion at the office doorway and the happy hour. And ultimately I had to hang my head and tell the truth. That he jumped ship. That he opted out. That he clung to the familiarity of fear rather than to me. I was humiliated. By my hope. My lack of caution, my new outfits, by the favorite wines and the embarrasing songs I had chosen to share.

I blamed the tears shed behind a closed door on the touch-and-go recovery of my three-legged cat and cried harder as I’d worried that my lies had jinxed the miniscule progress Bug had made in the days prior. I stubbornly and naively waited for this man's change of heart and just couldn’t admit that I’d fallen, that I’d invested so much and had things collapse on me, mid-smile. That I’d given my heart, only to have someone accept it and embrace it and ultimately decide that it wasn’t the right time for him to keep it, that he wasn’t able to support the healthy, flourishing relationship for which I was ready. For which I am ready.

I know with little reassurance that this decision had absolutely nothing to do with me. His world is a whirlwind of doubts and going through the “shoulds” of motion and the pain of loving both with reservation and on a foundation of unresolved months and years. Unlike every other relationship into which I've entered, this time it wasn't about me, and I knew so before his repeated attempts at comfort began. I knew better than to suspect his whispered words, his returned phone calls, his shared plans and confessions. I don’t give my heart up to just any man who crosses my path with the promises of a future. Know that I chose willingly and with a yes, please to offer him with both hands this fragile heart, even though he gave it back. Know too that my lack of hesitation can do nothing to balance this bottomless hurt and the fact that my emotional walls are already higher than they were only weeks ago.

I’d do it all over again.

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44 Comments:

Blogger Jessica said...

You have the ability to gut me every time. I mean that as a compliment Kris, know that. Love you............

Blogger Keith said...

man, that's heart wrenching. hang in there, kiddo.

Blogger KB said...

I'm so sorry, honey. You know, every time I read about bad things in your life, I think about how much more you deserve. You're so wonderful. You deserve the best from everyone. The best from fate, the best from chance, the best from God, and the best from all the peoples around.

I <3 you. I'm here to listen if you need me.

Blogger Sizzle said...

shit!

:(

"That he clung to the familiarity of fear rather than to me. I was humiliated. By my hope."

Good Lord. I know that too well.

Sending big love your way.

Blogger Jürgen Nation said...

I love you, puffin. I will always fight for you, take a bullet and the business end of a Mack Truck for you. I hate this situation, as you know, but our talks have meant the world to me. Knowing that you feel this way and that you're so grounded makes me happy. I know that it's a bittersweet happiness because I know the devastation. You've grown so much that even through your broken heart you can still be honest and still care for him. There's so much strength in that and you are an inspiration. I've seen you this year and I can't say with honesty that I saw any changes (I didn't think you needed any), but my God, pea. You are in a place that so many - including him - may never see. More bittersweet.

I love you and I'll always be here for you. I believe in you. And seeing it and hearing both of your voices and how happy you both sounded, I still believe.

Love you, puffin.

Blogger EDW said...

This is so beautifully written, in every little nuance of emotion captured. I hear what you are saying - I nod my head, I get it, I'm listening. Keep telling us if you need to; we'll listen. Or if not, my heart is with you.

Blogger Beth said...

Kris,

As someone who knows a thing or two about difficult years, my heart goes out to you. We don't get a choice about what life throws our way, but we do get a choice in how we handle it. I admire your strength and grace in these difficult times. Please know that there are many people out here wishing you the best (I know that it's little consolation - it would be so much better if the bad things would just stop happening to good people - but it's the best I can offer).

Blogger Maliavale said...

I don't know if you were crying when you wrote this, but I would have been.

Brave. Do it again, girl.

Blogger Ulysses said...

I'd do it all over again
Of course you will, and you'll do it all right again. Have a good time at the game.

Blogger JordanBaker said...

He's "not ready to be happy????"

Can I please punch him in the nuts?

Blogger Paperback Writer said...

I think I have to echo the above sentiment. He's not ready to be happy?

What sort of f'ed up sh*t is that?

And once again, you've cut me to the core.

Blogger Linda said...

So uncanny that I have gone through this exact situation-finally cut off all communication after a week and a half of torturing myself with his calls.

I'm rooting for you-hang in there. As EDW says, beautifully written!

Blogger Jorge said...

1 - Hope is never wasted. Even the act of hoping makes you stronger, no matter what the outcome. If your hope is shattered, you still spent that time getting your hope-flex on. I know you didn't say this, but some people think hope is an exercise in futility. To think that is to believe that putting your shoes in the freezer doesn't work.

b) You gave your fragile heart to him, and he gave it back. He gave it back. He didn't toy with it, keep it locked up somewhere pouring iodine on it and poking it with sticks, only to flush it down the toilet. He gave it back. One day he (or someone like him) will take it from you and place it next to his own. I have no doubt of this. As entertaining as it would be to visit you in 40 years, you rocking madly in an old rickety chair surrounded by an army of cats and yarn, I instead see the Jorge family visiting you and your future mate in your giant mansion surrounded by Pulitzers and other awards for how awesome you are. In fact, I see us living on your estate and you paying us lots of money to ensure that you are always surrounded by the quaint, maple-syrup-Canadiana that is us.

Enough people here type you inspirational messages. You know that you can do this, which is obvious from your last line which made me smile a big apron-wearing smile.

Love always,
Your husband if we were all to become mormons.

Blogger mrs. j said...

Mama,

I started to write a comment about how angry I am that you are hurting at the expense of another. And there was a story to go along with it....But where would that get us? Just know, I'm willing to go give this young man a talking to if you wish, but I'll wait for your instructions.

:)

I hurt with you. You deserve the world, not all of this sadness and walls. I just want to hug away the pain.

I know that I am one of the farm animals that you told. But you are not judged here. I think I'm more like the milk cow these days rather than the rooster!

Today we leave for the US of A and I wish so much that we were coming to see you rather than going to Rochester. Maybe there is hope that you'll be up to see us and I can give you that hug. If not,I'll just have to do it virtually.

Love, me

PS - I was so angry that I finally figured out how to log into blogger! So today, I don't hate blogger. :)

Blogger FreckledK said...

I have to try to read this again later, when my eyes aren't all teary and the lump has disappeared from my throat. I was only able to get halfway through before I was afraid I'd lose my composure and embarrass myself by crying at my desk.

I identify with this post more than I would care to, and my broken heart breaks for yours.

Blogger EJ Takes Life said...

Holy... wow. Kris, this is gorgeous. That you're able to take the messiness and pain you're feeling and write about it so eloquently is amazing. Whatever happens with this man, with Bug, with your family, I hope you're getting comfort from how wonderfully you're expressing yourself here. No matter what happens, no one can ever take that away from you.

Blogger Kim said...

You know what I'm going to say before I say it so I'll keep what I have to say about the situation to myself. Just know I'm your cheerleader, groupie, future old folks home roommate and I love you.

I will say that this post is beautifully written. You never cease to amaze me.

Now about those beers...

Blogger brookem said...

my heart is with you during this difficult time. you truly are an inspiration.

i'm really swearing that you're an older version of me. this post really hit home and touched me so deeply.

this is the push i needed to write a post about if you ever really get over someone. and not just anyone, but that "one." the one you thought would stay but didn't. the one that left because "the timing was wrong." the one you gave all of yourself to and became a better you because of.

life can be so hard. but still, i'd never change that "one" relationship.

<3

Blogger Mel said...

Ah, baby girl. You are am amazing woman. You have made the most incredible journey in the last few years. I'm so proud to say that you're my blogger friend.

I'm thinking about you right now.

And sweet baby jebus, sometimes I think we share the same soul. You have so eloquently said exactly how I'm feeling right now, too.

Blogger Maurey Pierce said...

So sorry to hear this.

The "not ready to be happy" line screams immaturity. You're right, it has nothing to do with you. He's obviously got his own issues. Don't let it turn you bitter. Down, damn walls!

Blogger *kb* said...

I'm sorry Kris...I too am all to familiar with this hurt and pain. So well written, thank you!!

Blogger mysterygirl! said...

Ugh, my heart is breaking.

Blogger Chantel said...

I recognize this so much. I've been in the exact same spot. So ready so full and then having it taken away just as quickly.

I to approached it with no regrets and I to have searched for the same thing over and over. Now that I've had it how can I settle for less.

My heart goes out to you but, I'm not going to cry at work.
XOXOXOO

My heart fully goes out to you. I feel like I am going through such a similar situation -- and you're so right -- neither "disappointment" nor "devastation" fully capture the feeling. It's horrible. And I fear unending.

Just reading your account brings tears to my eyes -- knowing that someone else is dealing with a hurt I know all too well.

I really hope that if you are able to find solace -- any way to cope, please share.

Until then, I will pass the time with girlfriends -- shamlessly trying to prove that there's so much fun to be had whilst single. Knowing that I would trade it in for a second to have him back by my side.

Blogger Heather B. said...

I'm this close to Patty Hearst-ing your ass or at least stalking so that I can hug you and bow down to your amazingness.

P.S. I've used that Patty Hearst line, like 47 times since you said it. See? You're amazing and clever and I have all the faith in the world that you will end up with someone truly spectacular.

Love you

Blogger snoopy said...

I've felt like this - lord knows too many times. But I never expressed it so eloquently.

Blogger Whiskeymarie said...

I, too have a "could-have", "should-have", "might-have" in my past.
It ripped my soul out, chewed it up and spit it out at my feet.
So I picked it up, put it in a bag and stuffed it in the back of the closet like an old purse.
I waited a long time- and when I took it out, my soul was still flawed and mangled, but I put it back inside me and now I wear it like a badge of honor.
You'll get there- you're so very close.

Blogger Paige Jennifer said...

Oy. Both of us? At the same fucking time? Yeah, um, could WAY relate to your post and your struggle and your rational thoughts and emotional pains.

Just remember this: if you have tasted it once, you sure as shit can taste it again. And hopefully the next time around it will be more perfect. In that the man staring back in your eyes won't ever want to let you go.

Yeah, that was overly Hallmarky. But true.

My heart is breaking for you. I've been there. Maybe I'm still there. I've lived through that horribleness. You have brought tears to my eyes while I sit here in my cube at work. Your writing is so beautiful. Even though the subject isn't the easiest to talk about. Write these kinds of posts more often. I bet it made you feel a little bit better just to lay it out there. You're brave. Keep your head up.

I hope Bug is ok too:-)

SJ

Blogger Being said...

oh god.

the waterworks have started and i think i can solve the global water shortage problem. they just have to desalinate my tears!

i feel the pain. except in my case, there was no closure. just a promise to call and then nothing.

Blogger Tracy Kaply said...

Oh, sweetpea. Chin up.

Blogger myself said...

Ok you made me cry :(

Although it doesn't help, I have a good idea how you're feeling, had the same sort of thing happen to me recently.

Know that it will get better, eventually, we have an amazing ability to bounce back from the pain, as much as we don't feel it at the time.

I feel for ya.

Blogger WanderingGirl said...

We all hide things. You are brave in real life, and that's what counts.

Blogger Me said...

I actually took the liberty to link you to my last blog entry....I went through something just like that ...I think my entire blog from late august through even now is a "tribute" to that pain and devastation I have been feeling...still feel. I still miss him every day. It's rough....I know how you feel.

Blogger Lola Goetz said...

aw, sweetie. i send you big hugs. real ones coming in about two weeks.

Blogger Miss Scarlet said...

I know I don't really know you, but I'm so buying you a glass of wine.

Blogger texasmegan said...

I've been a lurker for awhile, but I just wanted to come out and say hang in there. I think a lot of us know how you’re feeling.....and we're all rooting for you. :)

Blogger Jake said...

Jesus. You have the ability to destroy me without any warning with your posts.

And we're SO the same person. Might I suggest listening to "Your Ex Lover is Dead" by the Stars? Might help a tiny bit. If you like, I have several other musical painkillers.

And, of course, wine is always, ALWAYS a great choice. For any problem, really.

Blogger Jake said...

Oh, and I LOVE JordanBaker, that little trick.

You guys are both hilarious and incredibly gifted.

Blogger Amaya said...

Kris, this was so beautifully written. I can relate on so many levels but even if I couldn't - I believe that your writing would have still made me feel as if I could. Your choice of words moved me and I just had to share that with you.
Thank you for pouring your heart out.

Blogger Mood Indigo said...

Holy amazing. I cannot believe how well you've captured what's going on with you (I'm reading this after reading the post that followed). And your last line is right on - sometimes this happens for no reason other than to show you you're ready. It's heartbreaking, but exciting at the same time because you have that sense of what lies ahead, when it's ready to be.

Here's to you and your heart and all that is yet to be - it's gonna be good! This is just a blip in the road. I raise my glass to you for sharing it so eloquently!!!

Blogger kristin b said...

that was so wonderfully written!

Blogger Spazzberry said...

Seriously. Fuck that guy. For real. Love ya.*

*I live in a rough neighborhood and I know people. I'm just saying.

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