The man and I have had a talk. I woke up the other morning knowing that a talk was needed , and I lay there thinking, brooding, trying to figure what needed to be said, and how it needed to be said. I tried to practice words, because, without a script to play, I knew the tears would flow, and tears were one of the things this man could not handle. I had attempted a talk the day before, but everything came out wrong, I got flustered, tripped over my words, managed to get out “I hope we can be friends. I’d like that.” and “I just think we want different things.” before confusion and sadness took hold of my tongue and everything else I attempted to say became a sort of halting gibberish…
So, I lay there, thinking, brooding, practicing…. A knock came on the trailer door, and, there he was, this river guy (wish I could say MY river guy, but, sad to say, I cannot!) He brought in a steaming cup of coffee, and, after I proffered my “Oh you’re so sweet!” he sat on the edge of my bed and said “We need to talk.”
And talk we did. And we cried. Both of us. He was hurting as much as I, although, for somewhat different reasons. He said “Twice now you’ve hurt me deeply! When you said ‘We want different things.’ No, we want the same thing!” (“well, yeah, but I want it with you,” I thought, “and you want it with someone you haven’t yet met!”) so I said “Yes, but we want different things from each other.” To that he agreed. He also said “I shouldn’t have to feel this way in my own house.” There it was. This man had lost home and land twice to divorce, and all he had ever wanted in this life was home and land that was HIS, that could not be taken away….and, here he was, uncomfortable in his home, on his land, because of the discord between us. Well…I have no answer for that. If I had had my way, there would be no discord between us. We would be snuggled up all safe and sound in each others arms, and his home would be a happy one….
We talked too about what had happened. He told me that, yes, at first he had felt those glorious feeling towards me that signaled the birth of love, but, his feelings had changed, he didn’t feel the same. He hoped the feelings would grow again, and that’s why he had wanted to be friends with benefits, to get to know each other and wait and see. I told him that to me, friends with benefits didn’t mean waiting to see if feelings would grow, it meant that I was the consolation prize that got to wait around till the grand prize showed up, only be cast away. I told him I was worth far more than that. One of us said it was semantics…
When we got down to WHY his feelings changed, he said that I reminded him of other women, women with whom things had not gone well. (And so, there it was , without prodding on my part, without a specific question, he had shown me that my intuition was correct, that it HAD been spectres of other women that had ruined things, had stopped him from seeing me, had left him uninvolved, and me a tongue-tied mess.)(Just once, I would like that oh-so-strong intuition of mine, to be proven false, to end up being the fear of the scared and lovestruck fourteen year old buried deep inside me, the fear that could be assuaged by a kiss, a hug, and an “I love you.” Ah well! Not this time!”)
The thing that is SO frustrating about all this, is that the things that remind him of other women are NOT the part of me, my soul, that wants to be seen, truly seen. It’s not how I think, what I dream of, how I treat people, my values. It’s not my talent, my creativity, my empathy, my strength, what I want out I life, or who I feel I am…No, it is the surface things that bother him, that call up faces and feelings of other women and other times; these are the things that leave him loveless in my presence: my mannerisms, the way my voice sometimes sounds, the way I laugh at times. I’m being judged not on WHO I am, but on HOW I am…judged and convicted, like an innocent defendant wearing the mask of a villain, and so, destined to swing. (too dramatic? Perhaps, but I ‘m feeling deliciously maudlin at the moment, and it delights me to wax poetic on the injurious decision made about me. That will pass, I’m sure of it, as laughter and joy and simple peace are far too important to me to hold tightly to melancholy for very long)
There are ways in which I feel that this has been a very karmic relationship for both of us. For him, there’s the obvious, the way those spectres were brought up and superimposed upon me. Does he realize, I wonder, that I have his ex-wife’s nose? (or she has mine, depending on perspective…) I believe, because of the way he speaks of her, that he is still in love with her, all these years later,or at least not over her yet (he said to me,when he showed me the picture with our’ matching noses “Now do you see why I had to have her?) I’m fairly certain that until he comes to terms with this, no woman will ever be good enough for him….Is this my intuition, or fantasy? Who knows. I do know that there is no fear in me as I type this, only resignation, and sadness…
As for me, this is definitely a karmic do-over. You see, 27 years ago, at the ripe old age of 27, I had another relationship that went too fast. For years I said “Oh yeah, Steve….he swept me off my feet, then dashed me to the rocks below! That relationship devastated me. It was two years, before I could look at a man again, and, when I did, I still saw Steve! But this man? He has not dashed me to the rocks below. He has treated me with care, and kindness…he just can’t love me the way I want to be loved by him…and so, this is healing in a bizarre way: similar circumstances, similar outcome, but the parts in the middle leave me feeling better about myself…I don’t feel desperate and unlovable, I feel that HE can’t love me, that it’s a reflection on him, not a reflection on me. Does this make sense?
Another way that this is a karmic do-over is in the way that I’ve reacted: With Steve, I hitched a ride on the crazy train! I grasped, I snooped, I lived in jealousy and fear, for too many days, too many years I clung to a dead “relationship”. It hurt me deeply, that one did, and since I was certain that Steve was my “soul-mate”, and that we were fated to love forever, it left me feeling bereft, as though all hope for love was lost… This time? I am sad, to be sure, but I am not bereft. I know love will find me, as long as I keep my shining heart open. I have let the crazy train pass me by this time around, there is no desperate grasping, there’s been no snooping, no jealousy, oh, maybe a little bit of fear, but none that leaves me feeling that I am flawed and doomed to a loveless life….I am a good woman, you see, and love is something I deserve….
As far as “fated” goes…, there is no way that the coincidences could have piled up in the way they have without a certain amount of fate involved, so, yes, I feel we were fated in a way: fated to meet, fated to love, fated to learn, and then, fated to leave. The demigods used us as chess pieces, once again, but it was for our’ own good, for all the healing and conciousness raising the deities could offer… But this brings me to another point, a question I have for you readers, especially any men that may be reading this…. This man told me, in the depths of our’ conversation, that he felt that love was not given because someone deserved love, but that love was earned. He said that this is the way that men think, and that I should learn this…he went on to ask what I brought to the table. This took me by surprise, and I said “My soul”. Lame answer, I know, but he put me on the spot, and, I’m not so good when put on the spot…. In reality, though, when I’ve fallen in love with someone, it HAS been because of their soul! It’s been because of who they are, how they think, what they are like. It has never been because they’ve earned it. With me, love is given freely to those who touch MY soul. As a matter of fact, when men have tried to earn my love, it’s always struck me as a wee bit pathetic, as though they didn’t have enough confidence to just state “Hey! I’m here!” When this man asked why I felt the way I did about him, I said it was because of his intelligence, his sense of humor, his goofiness, his great big caring heart…he asked, “So, it’s not because you’re attracted to my stability, the fact I own my own land?” (Who did this man think he had been dating? That certainly wasn’t me!) “No,” I told him “I just got out of owning a home, right now I want freedom from that…oh, I love what you’ve done and are doing with the place, but that’s not WHY I’m attracted to YOU!” (see, it’s those spectres again, I think one or more women must have done a number on this poor man! I could see why he was confused about love freely given vs. love earned…)
But, I want to ask you , my male friends, have I been looking at this all wrong over the years, do men REALLY have such a different take on love than women do? Do they REALLY believe that a woman has to earn his love, or is this man just broken? Please tell me, and please be honest, because I really want, really NEED to know!
So, here it is Saturday night, and my “week of goodbyes” is soon coming to an end…we had our’ talk last Tuesday, and I will be leaving this Tuesday. We have acted like parting lovers, and like friends during these days. I haven’t been as courageous as I’ve wanted to be, but I’ve been as courageous as I could. My heart breaks a little everyday, but the cracks are getting smaller, the tears fewer, the pain less. I will miss this man, but, I know it’s not meant to be…(as much as I may want it, you just can’t make someone love you if it’s not in their heart.)Tonight I even started getting excited about Seattle, and my next big adventure on this journey I’m on. This is a good way to leave things, I think, with caring and compassion, and love, and a bit of time saying goodbye. It’s how it should be with a man I thought for a metaphorical minute might be my next great love. It’s time to say goodbye!