Yesterday and Into Today

January 24, 2008

And just like that we both hung up the phone. I stopped in the parking lot staring at my own hand disbelieving. I couldn’t believe what had started out as such a pleasant and happy conversation could end so badly. And the funny thing is that we didn’t fight or argue as one would expect. It just happened, rolled over both of us like a great wave. My mouth couldn’t form the words to protest. The car behind me laid on his horn to get me to move again. Time resumed and I hurried to keep my appointment with Paul. It didn’t really hit me until later. I peeled off my clothing and stepped into a hot shower. I was remembering things. Something reminded me of something and I found myself sobbing into the water – holding the wall for support. If anyone had been there to see me it would have been a sorry sight. A naked woman slumped over, holding the wall and covering her face while the water poured over her shaking body.
I stayed up all night re-reading email. I can’t sleep at all and feel like a shadow haunting this old house. I had to go through and relive our correspondence and remember all of our time spent together. The many settings and contexts of our meetings. In my emails, I can tell how happy I was at the prospect of seeing you and writing to you. So happy despite what I know were difficult times for you and for me. I tried to find the time when things changed for us. I think it’s when you told me that Helen didn’t want a divorce and how much Ilsa was crying for you. I realized how much pain we were going to bring to the others that we love. I was terrified by it and panicked as you know. I wish I had known then that a waiting period couldn’t be born. I believed that you would wait for me for longer. This morning in the wee hours I decided I couldn’t remain silent and sent you an email that bared my soul to you, asked forgiveness and expressed my gratitude. I wanted to write that email all night long and remind you of all of our sweet times and the goodness and love that we have for each other. I feel so drained and fragile. I’ve cried so much my eyes are burning and the tears won’t come anymore. Aaron started coughing and I skipped up the steps to take care of him before he could wake Ben up. He was fine and would have gone back to sleep immediately but I wanted to hold him. I picked him up and took him back to our big chair and rocked with him. He fell back asleep. I took in every detail of his smooth brow and perfect eyebrows, nose and lips. Totally pure and innocent. He will have no clue what his mum has gone through over the past year for his sake. If only he were Joel’s age I could be confident of his path and take my own. I put him back in bed and he contentedly rolled away from me and began snoring.
At about five in the morning Ben came downstairs and asked me what was wrong. I lied and told him that I couldn’t sleep because of the coffee I’d drunk with Paul and I was crying because I have a cold (which I didn’t tell you about) and feel like shit. I lost it and sobbed embarrassingly. He put his arms around me and helped me upstairs to my bed. He got me some water and Tylenol. Worried about me. Stroked my hair as I cried into my pillow. Wanted to make love to me. I felt so lonely and missed your arms so poignantly. I am ashamed. This good man, who I’ve pushed away for months in an effort to achieve clarity, tried to make things right for me. Kissed me and touched me. I could feel his gentle hands and lips but felt nothing. Only a hollow aching in my chest. I reached over and turned off the light beside me so that this good man wouldn’t see the truth in my eyes – that I was lonely and loved someone else. That I wished you were here touching me. I wanted your arms around me and kisses and whispered words. I didn’t want him to see me crying.

It’s later now. I am still exhausted and drained. I don’t know why I’m typing all of this. Maybe it’s to try and mitigate my habit of writing to you so much. I am still an Alan junkie. I keep vacillating between the two extremes of depressed resignation and buying a ticket to Heathrow NOW and showing up on your doorstep. I don’t care who is in the house – Vera, Joel, Lindsey, your mother, even Helen – I would twine my arms around your neck and kiss your face, your lips, your beloved jaw line, your ears. I would crush you the way you used to crush me. You used to laugh at my lungs expelling all of their air. I wouldn’t let you go even if Helen screamed at me. I’m not afraid of her. I would tell you that I love you and I’m never leaving again and that even if you wanted to you couldn’t get rid of me. The least expensive ticket I can find is about $1300. I would arrive at seven in the morning on Saturday. I would get into take the train to B Station and walk the remaining 350 kilometers. I would arrive just in time for lunch. Would that prove anything to you or would you still turn me away?
I have no interest in going to class – no interest in homework. The thought of it makes me feel ill. Maybe it’s because I haven’t eaten yet. I have just checked my inbox again and there’s an email from you. It’s a thoughtful one. I can tell you are thinking about things deeply and selflessly. It makes me love you all the more that you are only interested in what’s best for me. You were careful and treated me with respect. In every mail, every call, every meeting you were the perfect man and lover – a hero to me. Maybe I’m just feeling the loss of you and glamorizing it all in my mind. Now you are IM’ing me. We are having difficulty severing ties. I was typing more to you but you logged off… this is our conversation:
A. says:
I just sent you a meesage to tell you how much I love you…. I want us to leave on a note which reflects how I feel. I am sorry for the suffering, and I didn’t mean it like that. I am going to find this all very hard…but it is right.
S. says:
I know… I’ve read it and I thank you for replying. I needed to hear some of the things in your mail. It’s been a long night.
A. says:
Thank you so much for your mail too…it made my long night better. I will miss you but I have a good feeling about how things will work out for you and Ben and Aaron XX
S. says:
I’m glad if it helped. I was not very eloquent on the phone. We started out on such a happy note, I was not expecting what happened. I am missing you terribly too. I’m having a hard time not communicating with you heh heh… as you can see.
The following message could not be delivered to all recipients:
I’m glad if it helped. I was not very eloquent on the phone. …

I was trying to entangle you, as I was when I sent you that email in the middle of the night. I wanted to see you again on the 29th, on the pretext of giving each other a civil goodbye in person. You deftly parried and cancelled your trip. You are too good at this and my chest burns for a moment as I jealously wonder how many other women you’ve kindly and gently told to go away. You’ve told me in vague terms that there have been many women, but I never interrogated you at four in the morning to be more specific. I was trying not to be jealous, to accept everything about you, your past, your quirks, your history, your marriage, your children, your lovers, your at times difficult nature. After all, I asked you to swallow my own strange history. I know my jealousy isn’t rational. I know you love me very much. But I’m not as strong and practical as I let on. I have foibles and my own share of craziness. The fact that I’m even writing this to myself is proof enough.

Just logging on to this laptop and account is a reminder to me. My passwords for the last six months have been some variation or another on your name. ‘IloveAlan’ is typed at least a few times a day. You don’t know this because I don’t want you to think that I’m unbalanced. I like to look at your pictures (too few!) and remember the profile of your face as you close your eyes and rest your head on the pillow. You look relaxed and I get a glimpse of what you must have looked like as a younger man with fewer cares. So handsome but your eyes are closed, hiding your brilliant intelligence and beautiful green flecked eyes that you share with your lovely daughter. I reach over and trace your jaw and neck with my fingertips. You smile but you don’t know that I’m devouring you – burning you into my memory. You said once that that’s what you love about me, my softness, balance, quietness, at least until I’m galvanized to a strong opinion for which you still loved me. I am like a deep pool that hides strong currents only a few feet down. You don’t know and I won’t let you see – and now you don’t believe me.