July 16, 2007
on doing the right thing
As best I can, I’m slowly moving on from the events of last week. Given the current situation with the tripod, I feel almost like a main player in a Little House on the Prairie episode: time’s a wastin’, Half Pint. Can’t spare frettin’ over Nellie’s antics when the barn’s a burnin’. Or something like that. Moving on seems to be where it’s at.

I am giving Kim carte blanche here to leave the conversation and go to Hooters so she can control the urge to smack me upside the head. You gone Kim? Ok. Let us continue.

The weekend was fantastic, but was meant to be spent with him, so reminders were at every turn. Canceled wine bar reservations require one of the parties to call a hostess to take a rain check; changed baseball plans left me in the cheap seats trying to find our unused spots just down the third baseline. I was pleased with how well I made it through what all thought would be a much rougher ride, or as one friend imagined, me showing to happy hour wearing sweatpants, an event less likely than me giving birth. When I reached the weekend, I had accepted his sincere apologies, and as Jorge has so eloquently pointed out avec Canadian accent and some heavy real live maple syrup (God, Toronto, get over it), I understood that this man handed my heart back to me. He didn’t stomp on it and smear it into the ground while speaking words of sacrilege about the Bon Jovi. Or worse, about Billy Joel. Or lastly my mother. But as of yesterday it still wasn’t okay. Because you know what nudged me in the night? That he never made it right. That, unlike myself and the others that I know that feel like they’re selling their souls to be better people, he didn’t keep his side of the street clean. It’s that he seemed to think that text messages and sporadic one-line emails would suffice. That dozens of hours of our connection translated into fewer than 200k of returned electronic space of little substance. It didn’t do us justice. Quite frankly, it didn’t suffice.

And I told him so. Because given that at times we seemed to share the same brain, I knew he knew it too. That even when not riding the church train, we owe people something more in this life. You can try to run from it, you can say that not calling her the day after a drunken lickfest is the way that people do it. But it isn’t the way you or I or we should be doing it. And this isn’t preaching. Plain and simple, it reeks of an era when we didn’t walk upright and beating your hairy chest wasn’t something done as a post-coital joke. You owe something more to the people who you choose to let into your life. Give them anything less than your best and you’re cheating yourself – screw the him or her you’ve known for a month – of the opportunity to be something more than the guy next to you at the bar who drinks Bud bottles* and avoids his wife’s repeated cell calls.

I was well prepared for him to disregard my email, but I needed to be true to myself and share these unresolved feelings I’m describing, along with some candid sadness and just plain good old fashioned missing him. Only then would I be able to put this connection on the “fond memories” shelf, next to the very few other boxes that weren’t somehow tainted by poor behavior or unresolved everything. I hit send and tried to go about my evening, still wondering where he was and if he’d read it.

And you know what? He did the very right thing. He stepped up. He opened up and let me see him again. He confirmed without meaning to do so that he was indeed the person that I thought he was, the person that I’d very much like to know again further down the line. So of course in that very instant I wanted to call him, to hear that familiar voice that makes my stomach swirl, to tell him I loved reading his words and my anger had faded and that I still really did think the world of him. Still adore him. Still have hope. Still and will miss him.

But apparently being a grown up isn’t just about doing only what you want in a particular moment (unless it’s the Cab Sauvignon I had this weekend, which my Trader Joe’s and yours will soon be out of if my paycheck is deposited promptly). Because following my heart in that moment would have involved hopping on a plane headed northwest and knocking on his door and jumping on his back and telling him that we’ve got something too good to let go. Smothering him with kisses and feeling my face on his shoulder and pretending as if none of this had happened.

But it did. And if things were to keep going as they were, I think we both know that we’d be in this very spot again in a few months. And with every failure, because the two of us would undoubtedly label these setbacks such, the chances of us pulling through would plummet. Because he and I are who we are right now. And because no matter how deeply you love, how skillfully you skate around problems and laugh a full 23.5 of your 24 hours together, the issues down in the bowels of a relationship fight their way to the surface and come out with a yell, just like that awful, awful reptile baby in V. Not really what I’m looking for. There's work for both of us to do first.

I do miss him already. Still. I’m hoping now for space in our togetherness, simply because the "we" that he and I are is too precious to me. I would love for us to keep in touch, peppered witty emails and calls just to reach out here and there, looking further ahead to a time when he and I might reconnect after weeks or months or years spent in our own lives, evolving and working and heading off avoidance instead of accepting the familiar, the comfortable, the not so good for us.

Because should we both get there, I have no doubt that the results would be simply amazing.



* Kim, you weren’t really supposed to read that far.

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26 Comments:

Blogger Kim said...

a.) Hooters isn't open yet.

b.) There's nothing wrong with Bud bottles!

c.) The urge to smack you upside the head is minimal and not for this. I think you're handling this whole situation fabulously. You know you're going to be okay.

Blogger ByJane said...

Wow! I'm relating all the way....! You've said it so well.

Blogger Sizzle said...

"You owe something more to the people who you choose to let into your life." Totally.

This post speaks to me on many levels. Thank you for saying it!

Blogger EDW said...

I sat down at my laptop to write about deconstructing relationships, and as I started the post, I opened Google reader and read this. I'm so quoting you.

Blogger mysterygirl! said...

You're so well adjusted. It's kind of amazing. I'd still be in the fetal position, and you're already being mature. High fives to you.

Blogger Paige Jennifer said...

I'd like to leave you with a recycled line that a guy friend said to me when my most recent beau bowed out of the relationship because of emotional confusion - just remember these two things (1) he may never verbalize it but he will come to regret this decision and (2) know that all of his future masturbation efforts will include images of you. I don't know. It made me feel better!

Blogger sue said...

Thank you for sharing your pain. It's going to help a lot of people.

Blogger supergirlest said...

...they always come back. always.

that said, i really truly believe with every ounce of me that people come into our lives for a reason - not in any religious sense, per se, but a universal one. if nothing else, you are one step closer to knowing what you must have in a union - and that in itself is a beautiful thing. and as ridiculous as it sounds, this has nothing to do with you - and everything to do with him.

he's. a. fool.

Blogger Beth said...

Wow.

Just ... wow.

I found you through your comment to Stacy on JurgenNation and phew, this post totally spoke to me.

B.A.D.: Boys. Are. Dumb.

Blogger a life uncommon said...

I came here to say something but after reading paige jennifer's comment, I have nothing to add. Her recycled comment was perfect... and so true. I'm using that in the future whenever men behave badly to anyone I know. ;)

Blogger a life uncommon said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Sothisonetime said...

I read this post and it sounded so exactly like something I went through (down to baseball game, etc.) that I almost emailed you with the name of the guy to see whether it was the same guy (he's from DC -- so when I saw plane northwest, I knew it couldn't be him). I had these ridiculous ideas that he was the one based on an abundance of factors that pointed in that direction -- except for the most important factor, of course. I know just how you feel and it sucks so hard and you seem to be handling it magnificently.

One thing though. This guy handed your heart back, and while it sounds cold, I wouldn't give him another chance or even the opporunity to participate in your wonderfulness. For your own well-being, I'd say cut him off. A year and a half ago I was in your exact position, and then two months later met the real one. The one who grabbed my heart and never let go. Wait for that guy. Sorry, I don't mean to be telling you what to do, and I wish you the best. You'll do what's right.

--M

P.S. I also lost my little man (cat) two months ago so have been very much relating to your kitty posts -- especially your feelings of guilt. But, and I know you know this, you sound like the most wonderful mama :)

Blogger JoJo said...

I've always said that a relationship is a mix of chemistry, timing, luck and of course, love. I've recently come to believe that emotional courage is also needed.

It sucks that you both aren't at the place you need to be in order to move forward. I've been there, sister!

Keep moving forward and evolving to the ever more cool Kris you are!

Blogger Zandria said...

Why can't anything ever work out the way we want them to? Sorry to hear about this.

(Looking forward to meeting you soon.) :)

Blogger playfulinnc said...

You're amazing. I've read you for several years now, and am so proud to see you open your heart again.

And, get it back with grace.

Blogger deanne said...

I sent your original post on all this to a friend of mine who'd just ended things with her fella - she now adores you more than me (I'll fight you for her!) - seriously though, really well put. I'm with ya all the way.

Blogger Jorge said...

Us Canadians have us some knowledge.

I'm glad you did what you did.

It's good to see you step out of yourself, shedding your skin only to find that you are stronger than you thought.

Loves,
Me

Blogger JordanBaker said...

I'm told that being a grown up is much more satisfying in the long run; the tough part (for me, at least) is having both the guts and the patience to wait it out until the long run comes around.

And hey! There's nothing wrong with bottles of Bud. It's the king of beers. It says so right there on the label.

I know exactly how you feel and have been struggling with this very same thing for months now (different context of course).

To me it's that struggle of holding on to that feeling of possibility and the hope that it will come around again. You know how real it was, and you know he felt it too.

You did the right thing. Sometimes being grown up sucks.

Almost as much as bottles of Bud. ;)

Blogger Jill said...

The same thing happened to me last year. A friend of mine said something to me that really helped me work through the grief. She said to take as much time as you need to cry. Then, dry your eyes so that when you do find the right guy you can see him clearly. Just to let you know, it took me 5 months to see clearly again. Weak men don't deserve strong women!

The mom-to-be in me wants to just pat your shoulder and feed you freshly-baked cookies.

Relationships are never easy. But you've got more smarts than others to know that to go back now would just prolong it and that it'd happen again.

Hugs and cookies.

Blogger Lord Fondleberries said...

what's the issue with the v baby?

Blogger Tracy Kaply said...

Well done you. I am sure the SeaMonkey Of Love has grand things in store for you, because, kiddo, you're the cat's pajamas.

Yeah, I haven't had any coffee today, and it's messin' with me. HARD.

Blogger Kiki said...

You are so hilarious~
I'm sitting over here missing you....
Muah

Blogger Jessica said...

You speak my mind Kris. I'm in the same shoes right now I think. Just left him at his place sitting on his couch. All he could say was "be careful" as I left. I'm 3 years into it, and I wish I was as strong as you, but at least I had that moment of clarity in his mirror tonight. Not sure if we're done or not, but I know where I stand now. *hug* All I can say is that it sucks.

Blogger Bridget Jones said...

How do you get inside my head?

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