To my Twitter friends, thank you. I appreciate all the kind notes and e-mails. Please don’t take it personally if I didn’t directly respond. For some reason, I find it easier to talk to a blog post window than an individual person right now. I’m sure it will pass, and I will take you up on your offers to talk. It’s good to know I have so many wonderful friends out there.
Editor’s note: Written Saturday, mid-afternoon.
Five years, two months and three days. I did the math. That’s 1,889 days.
On that 1,889th day, he came over unannounced, which wasn’t that unusual. At the time, I was warming up a leftover tamale as a way of delaying the decision whether to go for a run. I figured he wanted to watch the basketball game, but he kept pacing and pacing, and I knew something weird was going on. So as I sat down to dig into the tamale, I asked him what was wrong.
I love you, but I can’t marry you.
He preceded it with the usual “I’ve been doing some thinking …” I don’t really remember the rest. I think he said he was unhappy and our personalities didn’t go together.
Of course I started crying. I couldn’t stop. I eventually left the room. I tried to say some things to him, but words could not come out. I told him to leave. I couldn’t look at him, and I didn’t want him looking at me.
Excuse my language, but it was out of the clear fucking blue. Just a few hours earlier we had been chatting nonchalantly online and sharing stupid funny websites that seemed worth looking at. A half a day earlier we were sharing a meal, drinking wine and pretending to be aghast at Alabama’s poor Sugar Bowl performance.
I’ve known that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him for about two years. Changing jobs and moving to the city where he lived? It wasn’t completely for him because I wanted the job at the time, but his presence tipped the scales toward me deciding to sell my house and take a new job and move. I wanted to show to him I was committed to him, but more simply, after a couple of years of living in different cities (it didn’t start out long-distance), I just wanted to be with him.
I kept waiting for the same expression of commitment from him, but it never came. He did plenty of nice things for me on a near daily basis, but they were things I think he would have done for anyone he knew. He talked about letting me move in permanently with him, but I started to realize he and I weren’t in the same place on the relationship plane when I realized moving in with him was just talk, not an actual option. Still, I thought he was just slower to develop when it came to a relationship or that the year difference in our age – I’m the older one – was just somehow magnified when it came to where we wanted to be with our relationship. I thought we were at least moving in the same direction. For the longest time I’ve just thought he didn’t have the balls to admit that he could make such a permanent commitment.
I thought he just couldn’t work up the courage to say yes. Now I realize he was trying to work up the courage to say no.
The part-feminist in me says it shouldn’t matter whether he wants to get married. Why is marriage so important anyway? Sure, I was fine with our arrangement as it was, and I was immune the fact that most of my real-life friends are married and either contemplating or having children. But my family is still the most important thing to me in the world, and I want to have one of my own. Marriage didn’t have to come now, but it has to be an option. I want someone in my life who is willing to make that kind of commitment.
It wasn’t a case of me just wanting to marry someone. Despite his flaws, I still wanted to be with him. I enjoyed his company. I had fun with him. I was thankful we shared the same religious beliefs. I appreciated the fact that someone (so I thought) wanted to be with me despite my own flaws, which I’m aware are many. I know you can’t make someone love you and sometimes love ain’t enough and all that crap. I just wished I’d had the power to see what was obviously missing. Unfortunately he would always – ALWAYS – conceal from me when he was unhappy about something, so I guess there was no way for me to know. Still, I feel like a fool.
So now, after 1,889 days, I’m completely and totally broken. I feel like I’ve been shot in the back. I feel empty. I have absolutely no idea what to do. I have very little reason to want to be here, doing what I’m doing. I do have a few friends in Knoxville, and they’re wonderful people. But my family is in Memphis, some six hours away. My best friend is in South Carolina, some three hours away. My other confidants are all at least a three hour drive or flight away. I’m working a job I only somewhat care about these days. Without him, I have hardly any roots.
We didn’t really talk about what any of this means, but I’m wondering if we even need to. I certainly don’t feel like talking about it right now. What’s there to say, anyway? It’s not like he needs to be encouraged to take more time to think about it. HE’S HAD 1,889 DAYS TO THINK ABOUT IT.
If this post makes me sound like I’m collected, don’t be fooled. I’m typing through tears. I can’t pick up the phone to call my mom or my best friend because I can’t even form words with my mouth right now.
I was at a place in my life where I was content and at many times happy. The only thing that seemed to be standing in the way of full-out happiness was how I felt about my job. I’m guessing that’s not going to be the case for a while.
1,889 days. Something like 20 percent of marriages dissolve before they ever make it that long.
Happy new year to me. I guess this year can only get better.