When we last left off it was February and I had just sent a text to my ex. It read, "It's been a year and I think I'm ready to talk. Will you talk to me?"
I sent that text and immediately said out loud, "Fuck it.” And I meant it. I was relieved. I finally did it. After all the hemming and hawing and should I or shouldn't I's. After all the agonizing over whether or not I had any right to communicate with him at all, ever again, I just did it. Whatever happened next would prove to me that he was either, a) an asshole who would not respond to me at all and then I could finally just say, “OK, he truly doesn’t give a shit,” and move on with my life; or b) the good guy I deep-down knew he was; the person who cared about me and would always take my calls no matter what.
After I sent the text, I proceeded to stare at the phone for all of maybe 10 minutes. Because 10 minutes was all it took for him to respond.
HIM: “I would like to. Were you thinking over the phone?”
And there he was, in real time, punching keys on his phone somewhere, communicating with me. It almost felt like we were talking. This was a different feeling than the rare emails we had exchanged over the last year. This felt almost… intimate. It was the closest we had come to talking to one another in over a year. My heart was racing. I was scared. But I also felt somewhat reassured. He existed after-all. He didn’t fall off the face of the earth like I felt he had. He was somewhere; maybe sitting in an apartment (maybe his, maybe someone else’s), or his car, or a bar about to perform a show or maybe just about to attend one. He was living some kind of life somewhere out there in the world. He was alive and on the other end of my phone.
Now, I wasn't entirely sure that he had moved already.
ME: “I heard you moved. Are you still here?”
And then I waited, imaging he was just a few minutes away. Perhaps we would meet that night or maybe even the next.
HIM: “I'm living in LA now.”
Ouch, that hit me hard. He was really gone.
ME: "Why didnt you say goodbye? I’m really hurt to have found out the way I did."
HIM: "I’m really sorry."
I was hurt, and well…I wanted to hurt him back.
ME: "Well I guess that's it then."
HIM: "Well I’d like to talk still."
We then proceeded to go back and forth and in the interest in his privacy, I won’t re-type every word. So here is a recap of what was said (please bear with me, I hope this isn't too confusing to follow.)
I said: I couldn’t believe he didn’t care to tell me he was leaving, I had wanted to talk in person, and now I didn’t feel like there was anything left to say.
He said: He didn’t think he deserved to be made to feel guilty because he had intended on telling me, and would still like to talk. He was glad I got in touch with him and wanted to meet me in person.
I then felt like I had to explain why I didn't reply to the last email he wrote me back in November. I had always felt badly about that and never explained to him why I could no longer correspond with him.
I knew that meeting in person would be the best thing for us. Since so much time had passed, a phone call just wouldn't be enough. A meeting would be the best way to deal with him. Kinda like a band-aid -- you just gottta rip it off.
I said: Since it took so long to respond to my emails in the past [he had been taking 2-3 weeks to reply to the rare emails we exchanged last year and the wait was gut-wrenching], waiting to hear back was too painful and that’s why I didn’t write back. I said I had no idea if he would respond. I also apologized for sounding bitchy earlier.
He said: He was sorry for making me feel hurt (regarding the lag in email response). He explained that this was still hard for him, but his failure to communicate with me was not a result of not wanting to talk, he just hadn't felt capable of it. He was sorting things out, he said. He added that he hadn't officially moved yet and asked if I would be ok with talking to him next month in person when he’s back in town.
ME:“That’s a good idea. Next month in person, I’d like that. I think it will be helpful to talk. Goodnight.”
And that’s how it ended; we said “goodnight” the way we did every night for years. And that comforted me. We were finally in contact and I felt like I was well on my way to closure.
HIM: “I really do too. Thanks for getting in touch. I feel better being in touch. Goodnight.”
Next month we would talk in person. I would face him for the first time in over a year. Finally, I felt like I would put all of this to rest. I lay in bed that night feeling relived and picturing our meeting.
I imagined that it would be civil, calm, focused, and respectful. We would trade stories of what our lives were now like since both of us (at least on my end) were different people and would surely have so many things to share. Our meeting would certainly be heartfelt, maybe even tearful, but in the end we would hug each other and say goodbye. Maybe we would keep in touch after that. Maybe it would take another year, but perhaps we would even be friends some day. We were two people who helped shape one another into the people we were today. Two people whose heartache over the last year also shaped the people we would become in the future. Somehow we would respect that, we would share it, and we would continue to grow as individuals who still held a great amount of love and respect for one another, but who knew they were better people without one another.
And then I fell asleep, with March just 2 weeks away.
Now, Dear Followers, let me dab on some red lipstick, take a deep breath, and brace myself to write the next part. Because if you agree that I was getting a little bitchy in my texts, just wait and see what I have to say next.