I should have known it would be my heart that got broken in the end.
I haven't had much to say here for many months. Readers of this blog will know this is because I've been hopelessly in love with one very Complicated Man and waiting for him to figure out what to do about it. I've been very patient, I think. Every email, every letter, every phone call, every gift, every meeting, was like water to a gasping traveller traversing the desert, quenching my thirst momentarily, and giving me the strength to stagger on in search of the next oasis. At times, my faith wavered, and I couldn't see the horizon. I doubted what I felt, thought perhaps I'd imagined it, but was drip-fed hope in small enough doses that I continued to trust in what I felt and to trust my heart when it said he felt it too.
Even in my deleriously hopeful and optimistic state, I couldn't help but notice a chill in the air over the past few months. It went acknowledged but blithely and pointedly ignored. I chalked it up to him having to figure things out. C.M. is a good man who found himself in a situation where it was impossible to be good to everyone, and I felt very confident that if he searched his heart, he would make the right choice, and that it would be me. So I gave him space, and tried not to panic as the gulf widened.
My birthday last month went unnoticed, which hurt. Then came a momentous announcement from me, that I was making a huge, life changing decision that would certainly put physical distance between us. The response I wanted: "Please don't go, I love you and I just need time to sort things out before we live happily ever after." The response I got: "Totally understand, and think it's for the best. You'll be happier." Even then, however, I didn't clue in. The encroaching silence, the gentle let-downs...they didn't register.
The final blow caught me while I wasn't looking, while I had exhaled. Things seemed hopeful. Chances of a reunion were on the horizon, the daily contact that I craved was back in full swing, and I was confidently striding towards a future that I was creating for myself with a quiet confidence that C.M. would be part of that future. Tonight, I was sitting at a table in a restaurant, laughing with friends, happier than I had been in months. I casually checked my Blackberry, to find an email from C.M., always a joyous event. As I scrolled down, I saw the line, casually buried halfway through the third paragraph of otherwise witty, breezy chat. I don't need to tell you what it said, other than to say it was a death shot. It was aimed to kill, not maim, and it found its target easily. It was information that was withheld from me until it became the elephant in the room too large to ignore.
At that moment, reading the words, the air disappeared. I couldn't focus on what my friends were saying, I was upside down, underwater, couldn't find the surface. After what seemed like hours, stumbling home in the dark, I was able to process it, chastising myself that it had all been in my head, right from the very beginning, a ruse cleverly designed by my heart to carry me through some of the darkest times in my life. Friends assured me that I was in his heart, no matter how hard I argued that I had deceived myself. No, they said. He found himself in an impossible situation, unable to be honest with me for fear of alienating me completely, of losing our friendship altogether. I reproached myself, that I had let my imagination turn that friendship into something more than it ever, ever was.
It may not have been love to him, but it was life to me. And for that, I am grateful, despite this assassination of all my hopes. Despite the calculated, careful nature of the attack.
And so, after tonight, which I need to grieve and mourn and admonish myself for daring to dream, I will put an end to it. As I move on into a new phase of my life, I suppose I can let go of this crutch. It's painful. It hurts like hell. I'll be limping for ages. But I'll be walking. Forward.