There is a chance that I will get this first part wrong, but bear in mind that these words are mine, and thus, they will fall upon these keys as they flow from a dark corner in my mind. I'd put them away for a while, filed in a dusty place where words to be forgotten go. But not everything meant to be forgotten really is.
The words may be mine, but the story is not. Not this first part.
This first part is the story of another couple. We'll call him Lou and her Sue.
Lou was not the most handsome man, but he wasn't half bad either. One might say Lou was an average Joe. He was a good man though. A kind man. A loving man.
And with all of his heart, he loved Sue.
Sue was not an average Joe at all - or would one say an average Joanne? Well, it doesn't matter, because Sue was anything but average. She was beautiful. She was stunning. Clearly, she was out of Lou's league, but she fell for the guy all the same.
And so, these two - this Lou and Sue - they became one.
The problem with one is that it is indeed a problem. A math problem. 0.5 of this plus 0.5 of that equals 1. If only the halves were always so equal; 0.8 plus 0.2 also equals 1, though clearly the parts aren't equal.
Sue knew this. And Lou? He knew it too. He was an average Joe, after all, and she was a beauty - somehow worthy of more than a good man, an honest man, a loving man.
Their relationship was that of the lover and the beloved. Lou's job was to love, and Sue's job was to be loved. The way this story was told to me left me with the impression that Lou knew his place and accepted it.
Oh, the things we allow ourselves to believe.
And now, we turn the calendar back two years. Two years and a month, to be exact.
I was lying in bed with my then girlfriend, and she was the one telling the story of Lou and Sue, except that Lou and Sue had different names. Lou and Sue were, in fact, real people. They were friends of hers.
Hers was no bedtime story, however. Even early into our relationship, it had become clear that the relationship wasn't exactly equal. When she told me about her friends, the lover and the beloved, she was attempting to explain our relationship by drawing a parallel from another. It was a way of telling me that I was Lou too.
The role of Lou was one that I, without realizing it, played too well.
I loved my girlfriend dearly. I told her often. I wrote about her here. Often. I did little things to make sure she knew she was loved.
I was the lover, and she, the beloved.
One evening, for no reason whatsoever, I decided to drop by Moonstruck to buy her a chocolate. It was the sort of thing that comes in its own cute little box. I was just trying to be sweet. I wanted to make her smile, but when I gave her the chocolate, it had the opposite effect.
She got mad.
"What did you do?" she demanded.
"What? Why are you giving me this? What did you do?"
I'd brought home a cute little "I love you" gift, but she assumed the gift was an apology for me having done something wrong... as if I'd cheated on her or something.
Me? This was crazy. She used to often say that she didn't think she deserved me. How could she so quickly come to the conclusion that I'd done something awful just because I'd brought home a tiny gift?
Honestly, I felt devastated. I felt like a puppy that had been kicked - and worse, in that moment I saw myself as such. I was a dog. Men in her past had been bad to her, thus, by default, I was bad too.
All of what I've written thus far exists out of context. The above suggests that the relationship was all bad, when in reality, it was mostly wonderful. That might explain why our breakup was likely one of the most amicable in the history of breakups. We stayed together until we each found new places. In fact, we helped each other through that process. After the breakup, we continued to spend time together, as friends.
After we'd had the official 'breakup' talk, she said:
"You know what this means, don't you? I'm going to have to go home for Christmas. Oh God I don't want to do that. And what am I going to do for Thanksgiving?"
She then began to cry.
Our previous Thanksgiving and Christmas together had been spectacular, so why not do it again, just as friends?
That's what we agreed to do, which, I think, came as a huge relief to both of us. The plan was to spend Thanksgiving in her new home, and Christmas in mine.
For Thanksgiving, there was Turkey for me and ToFurkey for her. For Christmas, I was forgotten.
I received an email from her on Christmas Eve saying she was in California, visiting her father. I gave her the benefit of the doubt and assumed she'd forgotten the plans we'd made for spending the holiday together. Not wanting to make her feel bad, I chose not to mention it. Merry Christmas indeed.
"Y'know, I'm kind of glad to hear you headed down there." I said. "I'm sure he's thrilled to see you."
I never let my disappointment be known because it would only have been hurtful to her.
Even after we'd broken up, I stayed true to my role as Lou.
It isn't odd that I haven't told the story of The Lover And The Beloved here before. She and I dated for fourteen months, and though I chronicled so many pieces of our relationship here, I tend to write about that which inspires me. Our relationship was filled with so much joy that I had plenty to write about. And it had ended so well, so amicably, that my thoughts of the entire relationship were really positive. Last Christmas was very depressing, but I chose not to hold it against her; I simply moved on.
It was time for Lou to make a graceful exit.
Through 2006, she and I shared a few emails, but nothing substantial. We did breakfast once in the winter, lunch once in the spring, and met for drinks once over the summer. Each time, we became more distant.
Had I not been given a reason to remember the flaws of our relationship, I'd have probably kept them tucked away in that dark dusty corner of my mind to remain forgotten.
Oh, but when given a reason, I remember quite well - maybe a little too well.
This past Wednesday over lunch, I took a look through my site's stats and saw some sites I was unfamiliar with pointing back to my site. I thought it might be fun to check them out.
One woman had posted a poem of mine on her blog, giving me credit plus a link to my site. That's awesome. Another woman had written about my mattress story that I posted here a while ago. Again, awesome! People are so nice! The world is so kind! La-dee-da... And what's this?
"he is also a very talented writer. he is also a web designer. hence www.jalpuna.com which is his blog. it's great, you might as well check it out. when you come across a story about someone named d., that's me. ..."
"Holy crap!" I thought. "My ex has a blog? How cool. I wonder what she was writing about me?"
"He has several touching stories about me, and about how much he loves me, etc. It all sounds very sweet. When I started having doubts about our relationship, I'd look at his stories and think about what a jackass I am. How could I walk away from a man who could write such things about me? He must really love me, after all.
Sadly, it was all for show."
Needless to say, it only got worse from there. Much worse and much more personal. Shockingly, devastatingly personal. I kept expecting a witty punch-line, hoping that everything I was reading was all somehow a joke. But it wasn't.
Was this even the same woman? The woman I took into my home before we moved into a home of our own? The woman I used to caress at night while she slept until she'd stop tossing and turning due to the worries that filled her mind? The woman who, at one point, I thought I was going to marry?
I stared at the screen in disbelief for what felt like an eternity.
I've removed the stories of her from this site because they may have indeed been lies - as in, lies I told myself. Maybe we weren't all that I thought we were. My love was true, but those stories were about love given and received as well. The idea that she viewed my words as being 'for show' casts sadness upon even the happiest stories - stories written from the lover's point of view.
Love cannot be shared, it can only be given. What the recipient chooses to do with that love is out of the giver's control.
A piece of her will be in my heart forever, whether either of us likes it or not. There's a place in my heart for everyone I've ever truly loved, and I did truly, deeply, love her. Though the heart can be a foolish organ, the brain knows better.
I doubt she and I will ever speak again. Some wounds aren't meant to heal, and I suspect this is one of them.
That is quite sad, but it's not as sad as having given so much love only to find the recipient unsure it was genuine. I can't seem to get past those six words: 'Sadly, it was all for show.'
Over a year after our relationship ended... now, finally, she has broken my heart.
That's so sad. I remember reading those stories and I was jealous. I guess I shouldn't have been. Why is dating so hard?::::: | December 1, 2006 6:46 PM
Ugh. That's like a punch to the gut. Would it help if I said that the old adage that "the truth lies somewhere in the middle" is so true? Relationships are a little like when you look at something and close one eye, then the other eye, you know? You're looking at the same thing but just from different angles. It doesn't change the thing that you're looking at. I'd argue that D.'s fucking callous online analysis of your relationship absolutely shouldn't change the way that you believe it happened. Each of you is just looking from different angles.
Well, whatever. From one stranger to another: I'm sorry. I can't imagine how much it must have hurt to read those words. But I can commiserate a tiny bit...I remember reading all those posts and being so jealous of her and how lucky she was to have found such a wonderful partner. Truth be told, I'm still jealous...just no longer of her.::::: | December 1, 2006 7:47 PM
I too, I think have been in the same position as you only to realize it after the fact. It still stings non the less however it has only brought me closer to what I now know I truly want; not that I have it or anything but, I'm not going to stop trying.
Neither will you.::::: | December 2, 2006 1:02 PM
I think you may be confused about who you are now. It's ok. But you're not Lou. I can see how, if you were you might let Sue's words dictate the truth of what you wrote, all parts being not equal and all. But you're you. And 100% of what you write is your reality, lies or not.
And besides, Sue wrote 4 sentences to the seeming contrary of the 5th. I personally think you may have misinterpreted that last one. A show is when someone presents to an audience. Maybe in a sense, she was trying to express how she saw that things weren't equal either — she wasn't up there with you. So maybe be sad, and feel the inequality present, but I would switch that perspective around, because it sounds like she's sad not because she now believes your love was false, but because she knows it was always true.::::: | December 3, 2006 9:43 AM
Keep in mind, those four sentences were only the beginning of her very awful tirade. More awful than you can probably imagine, especially if you know me.
None of it matters now, to be honest. I wrote the above to get it out of my system. I'm glad I know how she really feels. I'm a good man and treated her as such - even after our relationship ended. It's up to her to judge whether she can say the same.::::: | December 3, 2006 10:30 AM
Ugh. Well that really blows then. I'm sorry.
You wrote a beautiful post, btw.::::: | December 3, 2006 12:19 PM
That's really rough. I'm sorry to hear about that. It's been a tough couple weeks for you lately. Here's happy thoughts for a better rest of the year.::::: | December 6, 2006 9:37 PM