Somehow, this became all about me… we are taking a break because I need to get back to myself, the me I was when he met me. We come from different worlds… he thinks that I’ve been trying to blend into his world and losing myself in the process, so I need time to get back into being me.
I opened the door on Sunday afternoon expecting to see one of my friends as the sound of the knock was familiar, it sounded like hers, but he was standing there… clean, sober, and serious. He came to talk.
He’s right on some of that… when was the last time I went to a poetry reading?
It’s been a couple years, maybe three, since I read my own words out loud on Phelps Street in downtown Youngstown with crowds of people walking by, a few stopping to listen. Or, was my last time reading to a bar crowd in Suzie’s Drafts & Dogs? That was fun. I quit the art committee for the annual Women’s Show after I had that little stroke. Wick Ave was closed, so I’d have to walk in from Fifth Street, and it was just too much for me at the time. Losing the sight in my right eye knocked spatial relationships out of wack, so I seldom try to bead anymore. It’s hard when pliers grasp air next to the wire. I quit going to gallery openings because I cannot afford to taxi home after bus hours.
And why is that? “Babe, I need $10.” Well, there goes my cab fare.
Yeah, wait a minute… how exactly have I blended into his world?
I haven’t… I can’t… he blocks me out. “The Secret Life of [His Name]” is the title of his closed, tightly guarded book. I’ve teased him about that… he lives a dual life. Always has… covert missions to the store for a loaf of bread doing the Arnold thing, “I’ll be back.” Everything is a secret. What he does, where he goes, who he sees when he’s not here with me, even who cooked the fucking chicken that he brought home on 4th of July… all of it, none of my business.
Some secrets, he has told me, is to protect me. There are things I don’t need to know about… people who are not safe for me to be around, what I don’t know won’t hurt me.
Now my life, on the other hand, is an open book… “Bee Out Loud” is more than my tagline. Having spent most of my childhood locked in silence, I have to be open and honest and just throw it all out there.
The only “secret” I kept from him are my written words, including THIS BLOG, and that’s because he told me, back when we first got together, that I needed to keep something to myself, a part of my life for me, not to be shared with him. Yeah, I choose my VERY PUBLIC and easily accessible blog as my thing not to share with him. All I did was quit posting links to this blog on Facebook (which made it two clicks away from his eyes instead of just one) and never once brought it up in any of our conversations.
There was no mention of the key or the chicken on Sunday.
We agreed to take a break; that I need time to work on me, to get back to being my old self. I’m still thinking about that… not sure if he got the idea from reading the title to one of my favorite songs (Joanne Shaw Taylor’s “Lost Myself to Loving You”) but if he actually listened to the words, the lyrics are about NOT losing myself to loving you. Maybe it’s just an excuse… as in, “I’m cheating because YOU changed” kind of thing. Which, of course, he has not and will not own up to… but, I’m not stupid. Someone cooked that chicken and that key opens the door to someone’s crib.
Oh well. Does it matter?
NO… my heart is shattered into a thousand pieces, but it shall heal. And I will NEVER go back to being the me I was when he first met me, even if I start doing the things I used to do all the time more often again.
I simply cannot be the me I used to be because life changed me… having that little stroke changed me. The death of two beloved Aunts changed me. The loss of a sister changed me. My muse and confidant of 20 years abruptly exiting my life had a profound impact on me. My cat dying changed me. Some asshole dumping my nephew’s body in a frikkin McDonald’s parking lot changed me. Another nephew assaulting police officers during a drunken PTSD episode in my living room changed me. The vet wanting to “take a break” instead of just flat out leaving me has already started to change me.
It is not just people exiting my life that alter the course of my existence. Every new friendship slightly changes things, the therapy I started weeks ago is changing me, even a conversation with a stranger on the bus can ever so slightly shift a perspective. Life is fluid, like a river constantly changing, unless your life is extremely stagnant and even then, moss grows. Thing is, if you isolate to track a single drop of water from any river, it will never flow past the same point twice. We cannot turn back time. I cannot be the me I used to be and, in time, I won’t be the me I am right now either. Life goes on.
So okay, we can take a break instead of flat out breaking up… I need time… maybe he’ll use the time to get his own self together. I don’t know… time will tell.