I am not generally a blogger. I have great contempt for people who spew about their ex-es all over the Internet. So I don’t know why, in this particular instance, I feel compelled to journal how I feel.
I think perhaps I do it partly to help other people who might be feeling lost and confused. Partly to express myself in writing, so that I do not burden my family and friends too much. Partly so that someday in the future I can go back and measure the milestones of recovery; see that I have lived through the loss of someone I cared about, and thought would be around for the long haul–and survived.
I want to clarify that the ex-boyfriend (that sounds so strange…what an ugly word–”Ex”) by the way, does not use the Internet, except to go briefly to the public library and check his e-mail sometimes. I would not write about someone where I thought there was a nonzero probability that he would read it.
He liked stars. He would call me from the cemetery near his house and tell me he was trying to see Neptune with his small telescope. When he left, he complained (among other things) that I wasn’t interested in his interests, or he in mine. After he dumped me, he must have found a pre-breakup e-mail from me inviting him to come and play with the big new telescope in the observatory at our university.
Anyway, after we broke up, he obviously he was not going to come out to play with the telescopes. But I needed to know that he did not own the stars.
So last night I went to the observatory, where my three astronomy professor friends were holding an open house. I stood outside on a freezing, but beautiful night. I saw Mars shivering in one telescope, and the Orion Nebula, milky in another. The telescopes had GPS. There are so many stars out here in rural America. He would have enjoyed it so much, that I feel almost sorry for him.
One week ago, when he was leaving me in a drawn-out, tight phone conversation, he cited a lack of common interests. I stammered that I had never cultivated an interest in astronomy, but simply for the same reason that I never cultivated an interest in Papua New Guinea–not because it wasn’t interesting, but just because it just wasn’t on my radar. That I was not born with an interest in telescopes, but I had an interest in him, and what mattered to him mattered to me. People’s interests don’t overlap 100%; some develop over time, and some just aren’t shared at all. People are different people; "love" is negotiating those differences.
I wonder why he left. I don’t think a lack of shared interests had anything to do with it, really.
I think deep inside he thought that I was out of his league; that he, as a broke country lawyer, “two generations away from white trash”–his words, not mine–could not make me happy. “You can tell all your friends you are dating a redneck,” he once told me. I suppose he thought–correctly–that my friends and family would freak out when they heard I was with a guy who didn’t use the Internet, had never eaten Indian food, and barely traveled. “I’m just a small town lawyer,” he introduced himself to all my friends on Halloween, and the “just” stung me. And then afterwards he insulted them, and called them “dull,” and complained bitterly that they didn’t know how to give out Halloween candy.
He told me once “I am afraid you will get bored with me. I am afraid that, one day, I will run out of stories.”
I told him “I will never be bored with you. And I will ask you to tell all your stories again.” I meant it.
I think in the end he weighed things, and realized he would have to give up his freedom and the house he grew up in to be with me–and decided that in the final balance, I would not be happy. I don't think he was right. Perhaps he does not know that I loved him for his simplicity, and his earnestness, and that I did not care about the things he did not have. That I thought he was a wonderful man and that–had he asked–I would have tied my life to his.
Sometimes I think to myself that perhaps he misses me–and then I realize that every day he does is only because he has made the choice not to be with me. Perhaps someday he will look back in the rear view mirror, and realize that he drove away from someone who loved him, just the way he was. But even if he does, it doesn’t matter; love fades in time, and mine is fading fast. What he drove away from will not be there, in the distance, waiting for him to take a U-turn. What a man has torn asunder, life cannot always put together again.
Already I struggle to remember what it felt like to hold him in my arms; how smooth the side of his neck felt like against my face, when I was nuzzled in his arms. How solid he was, and how warm.
Sometimes, we go home. But we cannot go home again.