Helpful and Unhelpful Reminders

13, April 2011 at 9:34 PM (conflicted, sad or sorry for myself) (, , , , )

The last time I heard from my ex, he sent one of the longest emails I have ever received from him, 556 words outlining his plans for his new life. At the end he offers two brief (totaling a whopping 38 words)– what should we call them, sentiments? condolences?— , the first of which is this: “I love you and part of me just hates this.” I wonder what the other part of him is doing: loving it? feeling neutral about it? thinking about bottlecaps? Part of me… only part of me hates this. I cannot stop re-running this statement over and over in my head. I understand it is best not to have someone like this in my life; before I met him, I wanted someone whose love for me would cause all of him to hate it if he never saw me again. I still do want that.

Expecting him to stop by tomorrow to pick up some more of his things, I busied myself throughout the day gathering up what he brought to my life. Clothes, two toolboxes, a lamp. I resent that he does not have to go through anything like this. He doesn’t have to fold my underwear. He doesn’t have to put presents he gave me in a box for some future boyfriend to look at or play with. There are no presents from him except for a t-shirt he made me for the only birthday he (barely) acknowledged (likely because it was only two months after we started seeing each other). I found lots of shirts in his drawers I never saw him wear, all dress shirts. Well, I never saw him in them because he never took me out on a date. There are small objects all around, things that make a person’s life seem so petty. Guitar picks, pens, receipts. Is this all one’s life amounts to? I found reminders of so many things he always said he was going to do for me or to improve things around the house, but never bothered with: the dresser drawer was never fixed, now it never will be; the coffee pot handle, still broken; stuff from old, half-functional computers never got consolidated, now it never will be. No, he never had the time. All his precious time for straightening out the computers was spent instead complaining about me and all my damn computers, long-distance to a childhood friend of mine. I wondered if I should give him half of the new dishes, there are now way too many for just my son and me and the cupboards are unnecessarily crowded. But then I imagined him doing all the things he learned in this relationship that he should do to make a girl feel special or appreciated, things he never did for me; so for his future girlfriend, a romantic dinner, perhaps, because she is worth it. And as they cuddle in bed the next morning (after wonderful, perfect, comfortable, easy sex like it never was with me, of course), she will sip her coffee out of a cup that had before been next to my bed. Hell no. It is bad enough that when he brings her home next winter, he will pull off one of the mittens I knitted him so he can stroke her cheek while gazing happily into her (much younger, of course, and more) beautiful eyes. She will playfully tug on the ends of his scarf, which also was knitted by me. She might even say, “This is a really nice scarf, where did you get it?” And at this rare demand on his memory which might bring him to a vague association with me, what else can he say but those three little words he said to me more than any others: “I can’t remember.” Oh, and “our cat” for the past sixteen months is now “my cat” for the next sixteen years. Even she had anxiety and developed separation issues in response to his sudden disappearance, and she has a brain the size of a walnut.

THIS SUCKS.

He isn’t having to think about or make decisions about any such things, and I hate him for it– for being able to skate away from it all completely protected from anything which could threaten to tug at any heartstring he may have. Just a few clicks on the internet, and I and our life together essentially vaporises. He will never find a stray hair of mine on a pillow at his parents’ house. He will never find a lost earring of mine under the nighttable at his new bachelor pad. His experience is sterilised, completely scrubbed free of any unexpected and poignant reminder of my existence, cleansed of the toxicity of me, a disease which apparently attacked his brain and paralysed him for just exactly the same amount of time he spent in my life (at least that’s what he tells other people: he is not responsible for anything, “things” just “happened”). While I’ll be nothing but a few amongst the hundreds of photos on his computer of all his other ex-girlfriends, crushes, their cats, and other projects he involved himself with, I will never have the luxury of pretending he didn’t exist. I’ll probably never stop finding scraps of paper everywhere, little notes he hid all over the house (he wouldn’t give them to me directly, I just always had to go on a sort of Easter-egg hunt) about how sorry he is about such-and-such, about how he didn’t mean to do some other thing, about how he “probably” (probably??) should have told me what he liked about me before it was too late. There are so many of these notes. Passive, half-hearted apologies, continuations of arguments, compliments or romantic expressions which came only AFTER I was crying for hours the night before about why he won’t just tell me the truth: he doesn’t love me, he doesn’t seem to even like me.

Oh yeah, his second sentiment? condolence? from his last message: “I was thinking about being with you in the car the other day, and I think what I was feeling was what you once described as ‘coming home.'” (referring to the feeling a person has upon returning from a long trip or from far away, the sort of exhaustion turned to relief, renewed energy and comfort when you are re-immersed in familiarity. I once said I was having a feeling similar to that in his arms– after another of his returns, after another of his moving-aways…) I must infer, after reading 556:38 words outlining his plans for his new life which only part of him hates to get on with, that this sensation moves him very little to not at all. I wish I could be touched, I wish I could be moved. But concessions don’t inspire me, the paucity of emotion expressed does not infect me with similar feelings. I just look at it and feel… disconnected. After all, he can only feel like he was “coming home” because he chose to go significantly away. No one need tell me he just wasn’t into me. I read that book the very next day:

“A man who wants to make a relationship work will move mountains to keep the woman he loves. If he’s not calling you to tell you he loves you and wants you back, it should only be because he’s showing up at your door to do it in person. If he’s not trying to romance your socks off with dates, flowers, and poetry, it should only be because he’s too engrossed with his couples counseling workbooks and is prioritising getting back on the right track. If he’s not doing any of that, he may love you, he may miss you, but ultimately he’s just not that into you.”

“Remember, the only reason he can miss you is because he’s choosing, every day, not to be with you.”

“Just remember [this] is the same person who, not long before, looked you in your beautiful face, took full stock of you and all your qualities, and told you that he was no longer in need of your company.”

Ouch.

But it helped me keep packing. Afterwards I watched the last movie I checked out from the library that I got for us to watch together. It’s due tomorrow, which means he has been gone a month. Having now uneasy associations with originally imagining we’d have watched it together, I waited until the last day to watch it alone. (Turned out to be about loss and coping and monsters inside us, but then at the end it seemed to forget what it was about and just got weird and stupid. Exactly?) Tomorrow the last movie he asked me to get for us from the library will get placed on the hold shelf, I couldn’t stop it while it was in-transit. I guess I’ll just let it sit there until it expires. A book he had a few months ago sits on my account marked “returned” but inexplicably not disappearing off the list. All these things keep popping up, reminding, “Here he was, this guy who didn’t give a damn about you.” And he still doesn’t have to give a damn. He never has to think about me if he doesn’t want to. He never even has to come near this neighbourhood. I have to live in it every day. His disinterest in me, his indifference toward me, his neglect, and the pain it caused every day; his constant goingawayness, his absenteeism. He’ll never see the nightgown he never saw me in. No, only I get to be reminded of that, only I get to be reminded how if he had cared at all about me, it wouldn’t be the nightgown he never saw me in in the first place. Unlike he was in mine, I was never woven into the fabric of his life.

Sometimes I think I hate being me, because it sucks to invite others in and to care about things as much as I do, to be always living in truth. But then I think, it must suck to be so dull and closed inside, to live in such a way that denies, that leaves people so easy to avoid or forget about, and eventually easy to replace. When it seemed he was wholly unfamiliar with a significant part of the letter I sent to finally end things with him, and I asked if he even read it at all, he told me he only just “glanced through it quickly.” He wouldn’t give up his time– his precious, precious time– to give proper attention to even that. What a disrespect to the time I spent writing it. What a dishonour to the last two years of both of our lives.

I remember before I met him, I dreamed of being with someone who cared, who would be kind and compassionate, who would be loving and have appreciation and enthusiasm for the little things in life. I exchanged that dream for someone who was never so much as even curious toward me and could never be bothered for anything more than the use of his drivers license; who chose, every day, even every day he was here, not to be with me; who looked me in my beautiful face, took full stock of me and all my qualities, and told me with his actions every day that he was never in need of my company. I mean, that’s the bottom line, isn’t it. It was wrong for me to give up on myself.

Correction: I found a second present my ex gave me, two refrigerator magnets from his favourite coffee shop; however, another fun thing I came across which I resent having to deal with as part of the breakup while he just gets to go have a squeaky-clean, brand new life: dried urine under the toilet seat, I mean…? Geez, totally not worth it.

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