Sunday, January 29, 2017

Heart of a Lion, Mind of a Fool

She left without so much as a goodbye, well, a verbal goodbye. She was never one for confrontation or similar awkward situations. Just a short note, fifteen maybe twenty words. Something like:

"I'm moving back to my parents', I don't want to do this anymore. I'm sorry. I will get the rest of my stuff when I can."


She had left on a Friday with her mom to visit an aunt, or at least that's what I was told. Over the next few days, we traded a handful of texts and pictures. On that Sunday, she found out her work schedule changed and would be staying through Monday. That Monday afternoon as I leave work for lunch, turning my phone back on, I have a text that says, "I'm back in town, be home soon." Shortly thereafter, at home eating lunch she comes in our apartment looking tired. Not bad, just...well...worn out almost.

I hugged her, told her I missed her and asked how the trip was, but a moment or two later it was time to head back to work. I kissed her goodbye, said I loved her and did this stupid goofy thing we do closing the door ever so slowly and staring at one another between the crack of the door till it closes with dumb looks our faces.

And that was it.

When I came home after work, I found the note. Her stuff packed in bags and the big stuff - the stuff one would need immediately or needed to have with them more sooner than later - were gone.

I sat confused for a few minutes, then my heart began to race and my breathing became labored. I called her, it just rang. Again, it just rang. I sent a text, no answer (we typically get back to each other rather quickly), I called her dad and sounding freaked out I'm sure, I asked, "Is Elizabeth okay?" He responded, in his down-to-Earth, nothing gets me all that excited demeanor, with, "She said she broke it off with you and went to work, she didn't seem upset."

Wait...what?! What just can't be happening, can it?

Stunned, I sent a Facebook messenger note asking her what's going on and I get back, "I left you a note." That note seemed cryptic and I didn't understand.

She followed with, "I'm sorry, I'm a bitch." There were few more words to it, but....that was basically it. And, yes, she said the quoted words you just read, that's not me thinking out loud.

I didn't know what to do. I was scared, discombobulated, couldn't think, couldn't eat.....I was thrown off pace. She isn't a bitch (sure, if you are an ass to her, she will act like one, but don't we all) and why is this happening?

For the next few days she was a ghost. I didn't contact her again for awhile because I was frustrated and mad at her, but all the while heartsick and missed her dearly. I'm not needy, and didn't want to seem like it, but damn it....I missed her a ton.

I saw her leaving what was "our place" on another lunch break three days later. She was putting her TV in her car as I was pulling in, our eyes met...but it was a stone cold glare that pierced through my soul. I wanted to stop her, wrap my arms around her, tell her that I love her and to come back home...but that was fierce and it wanted no part of me.

Thinking she would come back in, I waited a moment and looked out the window. She was in the driver's seat and the car was running. I quickly sent a text asking her if she was coming back in, she writes back, "Why?". "So we can talk", I said. "I said what I needed to say, I don't want to talk about it anymore.", she replied.

I begged her to talk to me, she would have none of it. The next day or two I sent a number of messages and a letter, asking for us to try to start over know, from scratch. I stopped by her house (she wasn't there, her dad didn't know where she was), and even drove by her place of work (against my better "I swear I'm not a stalker" judgment) and she wasn't there, and called a couple of times with no answer.

Finally, a couple of Facebook messenger posts between us took place that following Sunday morning, I poured my heart out (I had to do it this way, she wouldn't talk to me otherwise and avoiding having to look at me like a person at all costs). And I don't mean I made crap up, I FINALLY dug deep, threw it all in. She understood and appreciated my forthcoming, but she's way too smart a girl for that...I was probably two years too late.

I had been a fool, a bit scared, a little apprehensive, a lot stupid, even more ignorant and ultimately, I was completely selfish. And why you ask? Because I was afraid, afraid of losing something of myself. And just exactly what is that "something"? As embarrassing as it is to say, I really, truly don't know.

It was always about me, never about her. Even when I actually tried to make it about Elizabeth, it somehow came back to me. I have to have some sort of chemical imbalance that just drove the best thing that has happened to me since I can remember out my front door. And out of my life.

A young, attractive woman with an interest in getting to know me - WITHOUT ANY EFFORT ON MY PART OTHER THAN JUST EXISTING - and I essentially piss on it. Wow, I have no excuses for what I do and/or why I do it.

I can sit here and tell you how I feel and what I'm feeling, but the real detail is about her. How I made her feel and what I couldn't do for her as she did for me. She didn't get the return from me that she deserved for the time, effort, love, generosity and simple giving of one's self that she gave to me without hesitation. She was all in, no questions asked.

Even with the note she left and her leaving on what seemed like in a flash. She did it, didn't look back, didn't give in, decided she was done and her subconscious blocked any and all of my efforts to get another chance. I could never be that strong, but she is amazing to me in the way she can give of herself, then take it all back with the same mindset and fortitude.

God, I wish I had that wherewithal.

No, I don't believe the decision was on whim, made quickly or without tremendous thought.. It was over time, she grew tired, frustrated, lonely and was in a place she didn't want to be anymore - because of me. She thought hard, kept herself up at night (even moving out to the sofa some nights just to get comfortable), dealt with additional stress and anxiety to go along with the small anxiety issue she had to begin with. Work became harder and looking at me (and wanting to scream, "What the hell is wrong with you!?") came with more disinterest every day. She kept trying, and I didn't - and simply couldn't - notice.

That tired look she had on that Monday she came home from that long weekend makes sense now. She had made a decision, still not completely sure, but that decision was made. She had stepped away for a few days and thought it through. She wanted to move on with her life and do it without me. I cannot imagine how difficult a decision this was for her. Then again, I'm sure I made it that much easier. She's young, full of life, has a huge heart, big ideas and is ready for someone who will understand, make her laugh, make her smile and show her that there is more to this craziness that we live than what she's been able to experience.

She loved me and maybe still does a little, but I was holding her back and making her unhappy. And that is simply unacceptable on all levels.

It makes me sick, but she could not have made a better decision.

And all I can do is blame myself for the end of what once was our path and is now, again, just 41...still trying to figure out my quirky, backwards mind and why it works the way it does.

Here it is, January 29th, a cold, flurry filled Sunday evening with a sleeping Jameson (the cat) purring away in my lap and Whiskey (the other cat) curled up in a ball on the brown rescued, yard sale chair I bought when I moved into this apartment four years ago. We are just four weeks into 2017 and I have no idea as to who I am or what it is I want or what I should look forward to. Yes, things change, things improve and people move on, I know. But damn...Elizabeth, me saying "sorry" to you, again, just doesn't do you justice.

Once I could tell how you feel by the look on your face. Reality now tells me clear that was a different time, and a different place...

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