And now for something completely different

So now that I’ve gone pwp, I feel like I can discuss an unrelated issue that has resurfaced in my personal life. If you read One Smart Mama, you may have come across this letter – yes, I am “Perplexed”! Well, here’s the next episode in this docu-drama.

So today I was walking home from the library, and saw a familiar figure coming across the quad. There was no avoiding running into my old flame, the guy who broke my heart so many years ago. Following some inane chit-chat (“it’s so funny how I never run into you on campus!”) I ended up agreeing to have coffee next Monday afternoon. It’s the same day as my next ultrasound – so I’m reserving the right to cancel if I get bad news. But anyway, regardless, there it is.

The previous overture, the one mentioned in the letter to Mel, I was able to brush off and ignore, and that was a month ago. A whole month!!! Wow – so much has happened since then.

But I digress.

As I got closer to home, I wondered whether T. was still here or had already left to go back to VA. I’d left my cell phone at home by mistake and wasn’t able to call and find out. I thought, “I’m going to cry if the car’s not there.” Then I heard the car door slam and I broke into a trot. Yay, he was still here! So happy!

I love my husband with my whole heart, and the last thing I want to do is anything that could hurt our marriage. I told him about the run-in and he cracked his usual jokes about how he’s going to go to A’s office and widdle in the corners. Or call his cell phone and growl. 🙂 But I’m not entirely sure how much of this is pro forma and how much is actual anxiety.

To me, there is just no comparison. It’s like the difference between Hercules and Twiggy (T. being Hercules).

Ok, so while we’re on the topic, here’s the other story behind the story, events that I’m still pondering.

One Thursday evening in September, I had dinner with another old friend, we’ll call her Sally. Sally and I met about a year after the falling-out with A, so she got the whole sob story while it was still fairly fresh. In a strange twist of fate, Sally ended up in grad school at the same institution where A. got his first job… which is where I am now. So anyway, at this recent dinner Sally asked me whether I’d seen or talked to A. since I came here last year. I said only once, but that I still felt that there were a lot of issues left unresolved from the way the relationship had imploded so long ago. She said, “I’ll pray for you.”

Cynic and skeptic that I am, I just thought “HA!” But then I thought, “ok, why not? Bring it on! Let’s see if this prayer thing has legs.”

Exactly one week later, I was walking across campus with a new friend (referenced in my comment on Mel’s post) and we ended up talking about A, and it turned out she KNOWS him, and boy did she ever have some choice words to say, none of them positive. It was one of the most surreal experiences of my life. Everything she said rang true – as she described his relationships with women she knew, it was like hearing my own life being described to me. And suddenly I knew – it wasn’t me – all this time, IT WASN’T ME! Or, ok, it was partly my fault that things imploded, but in another sense it was inevitable. The way she described the particular vulnerabilities of the women he’d dated here were the same vulnerabilities I had 10 years ago. But not anymore. So much has been made whole through T’s unqualified and generous love. I felt freed of the remorse, self-recrimination, and self-doubts that had plagued me for 10 years. For the next four or five days I felt almost giddy with happiness. The word “rejoice” actually feels about right for how I felt.

And then exactly one week after that conversation, I got the e-mail invite to dinner. And diverted it.

T. and I nicknamed the new friend “Messenger from God,” or MFG for short. It’s so funny, because it wasn’t the resolution I had imagined AT ALL, when Sally said she’d pray for me.

So when I ran into A this afternoon, I thought, maybe it’s time to face this too. Maybe this is the next step in the process. We’ll see.

This post has gotten really long, but I’m going to make it longer. After the conversation with MFG, this is the song that was in my head:

Everybody loves you
and they want to know your story
you go riding out a mystery
concealed in all your glory
but when it comes to flesh and blood
you remind me of Shallott
only made of shadows
even though you’re not

I remember how I spent
all my energy and time
in affected conversation
trying to pry inside your mind
you are as beautiful as truth
and as empty as a shell
and I came to you one night
and it made me feel like hell

Oh, to reach through all your surface
just to find an empty pool
and to suffer all your pride
as I lay down by your side
and you swallowed up my heart
left me a fool
left me a fool

I resign myself to silence
I will never blow your cover
no one ever has to know
who the hero took for lover
but it comes to mind as you blaze on
as brilliant as a star
how many you’ve left behind
how many causalties there are
(Indigo Girls)

Not me. Not anymore.


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