As you know I am the queen of writing you letters. Anniversary, birthday, Valentine’s day… Or after a big fight. I read something on that topic today that rang true. “Writing is safer somehow, because my pen cannot stutter like my lips do. Words can get stuck in throats, not fingertips. I can’t stumble on paper trails of blue and red lines, because writing is definite and clear. No one can tell if I am laughing or crying through words alone.”
I tried to tell you in person Sunday all of the things that were bursting out of me. I honestly felt that was the last time I would ever see you. I planned that my drive away from your apartment (The one I felt was so ghetto, but grew to love) would be my last. I bought the sleeping pills earlier in the day. I made sure they were not the same kind I had tried to use back in October. These were not pain killers. Though I guess in some sense they were taken as one.
Relief from pain was essentially what my goal was. Except Motrin doesn’t relieve emotional pain. So when I walked down the aisle looking for the off brand (because even facing death I am still a cheap ass) I searched for that magic bottle that I prayed would end the pain for good. A magical cure to everything awful I have felt for so long.
I didn’t cry as I took them this time.
I saw your eyes before I left, how their blue was drained from all the love and warmth I had gotten used to. I remember you telling me how blue eyes frightened you as a child. You saw them as your dad’s eyes; cold, hard and icy blue. I never understood until I stood there, looking at your crossed arms and furrowed brow that there was a side to you that I had never seen. The hard side of you. The side of you that was the reason nobody messed with you in High School. Where as I, with brown eyes and a round face, never caught a break.
I was treading on thin ice. I knew it. But I couldn’t stop myself from at least trying to feel what your comfort felt like again. It didn’t take long before I was a blubbering mess, wanting to tell you just how much I do love you. And how I regret every second of our relationship that I didn’t show you how much you meant to me.
I’ve told you before, sometimes I get locked in. I can see people getting uncomfortable, shifting, not wanting me to continue talking but I can’t stop. My anxiety sets in and suddenly I am speaking way too much and at a million miles per hour. That day felt like that. I suddenly felt like I could feel time slipping through my fingers as I looking at the most handsome person in the world I was losing.
And with every word I realized it didn’t matter. You aren’t irrational, this had already been thought through. Your weight shifting, your eyes flicking between the door and me.
I beg you for one last embrace, and for a minute I can actually lie and convince myself there is hope. I cupped that jaw I had kissed tenderly countless times before, and I leaned in to kiss you one last time.
And I didn’t need the pills after that. I died a thousand deaths as you tore away, insisting that it would only hurt me more.
It was over. We are over. (I still can’t type that sentence without having to quickly convince myself that it isn’t final yet.)
As I walked out that door, sobbing, I got into my car and everything disconnected. For the first time since I had met you, there was no future. There were no wedding plans, no ideas of what to name children, no floor plans for our future home we would build and design together.
For the first time in a year in a half, my heart was back to only being mine. And suddenly I remembered the analogy that I heard as a kid, that when you glue a salt and pepper shaker together and you go to pull them apart, one is going to have to give. One shaker is going to have a part of itself broken off and still bound by that glue to the other shaker.
As I walked across the grass to my normal street parking, I realized that I was the weaker shaker. My heart, once bound to yours with commitment, trust and what I still believe was love, is alone. A piece of my heart now missing, leaving me desperate to fill that hole.
So I took those pills. Not one by one, but by the handful. Driving and thinking of the year I had let go to waste. Still seeing those cold blue eyes which threatened to break the angry facade I was keeping to prevent my eyes from pooling up with tears again.
They hit fast. In the 15 minutes between when I took the pills and when I pulled up in my house I was already feeling the effects. I felt sluggish and ready to collapse with every step. I fell to my knees in the bathroom desperately gagging trying to heave up the biggest mistake I had ever made and would ever make if they worked.
As I sat there panicking, I remembered dancing with you in your room listening to you serenading me in the voice you didn’t let me hear for a very long time since you thought it was terrible. And how magical and infinite the moment felt.
I looked up at the painting hanging on my wall showcasing flowers and suddenly I remembered every wild flower you had picked on our walks and handed to me.
I reached for the phone, barely able to tell dispatch who I was, where I was and what an idiot I was.
My neighbors all came outside and watched, calling my parents and asking what was happening. Why I was sobbing, barely conscious, having a thick tube of black tar shoved down my throat. Why the police were there. Why my younger brother was so scared.
The whole ride to the hospital was still. The paramedic held my hand assuring me that I was going to be okay. Before sticking in the needle while we rocked around in the back of the ambulance. The pain didn’t matter anymore. My mouth was dripping thick, black, chalky paste, my stomach turned and turned threatening to heave up the pills and black charcoal.
And as pathetic as it sounds all I could think about was our trip out to the lake, us laughing and kissing and watching the sun go down from the docked rowing boats. All I could think about was wishing that it was you holding my hand and looking at me the way you had before when I was sick, lying in a hospital bed.
Though I didn’t cry anymore. Not at the hospital. Not at work when I went back the day after I was released. Not until today when I had finished both my shifts at work and I was home. I turned on the song “Thinking of You” and I remembered a simpler time when I cried over that song thinking about how it applied to my cousin, and not me. I realized that there is nobody in the world that I love like I love you. And I hurt realizing that there are millions of people better than me out there who will love you and cherish you like you felt I never did.
But for me you are it. To quote the song that broke open the floodgates, “How do I get better once I’ve had the best?”
I can stop asking myself that question. I want to be better. I cried, promising you I would change and get better. But I am torn knowing that the selfish side of me wants you to stay. Wants you to wait until you can trust me again, because I know that a year ago I made a commitment to be your wife. Though a lot has changed and I have been hurt, that fact has stayed constant. The other part of me weeps, knowing that it isn’t fair to ask you to deal with my insanity. And that sometimes love is letting someone go because their happiness is a lot more important than your own. And I don’t know. I would love to be the one who gives you butterflies, who you cannot wait to get home to. I would love to have you feel the same way about me as you did when we first fell in love.
So all I can do is give you space, and pray that you are not completely set. I can fight myself from calling you at 2 am blubbering about how I love you. When you don’t believe me, and you see things like that as disrespecting you. (And disturbing your sleep.) Or from texting you when something I would have told you before, comes to mind. I can try to not worry at night when I no longer get a “I’ll be home in 15 minutes” text when you are leaving the station.
Maybe this whole love thing is just a game of chance. And all of that stuff about soul mates is something humans made up to make love more exciting. All I know is it doesn’t matter to me anymore. You once told me, a long time ago now, that “The one is the one who wants to be the one.” I was offended by that. I believed growing up that God or fate or someone had created each of us with someone else in mind. I prayed that when you were made the higher powers knew that I would come along and that we would fit together like puzzle pieces.
But if I have learned anything in my years, it is that your puzzles pieces may fit together, but they may not be the correct piece to complete the picture.
If I am not the woman you marry, the woman you raise children with, then I hope that she cherishes every part of you.
That she sees that little smile and spark in your eyes as you make love. Or that she adores the deep inward curve at the base of your back like I do.
I hope that she drinks her tea slowly, prolonging the night and enjoying your talks, like I did. (Even though it drove you crazy.)
And as for me, I don’t think the world will ever be the same. Because every clear night could have been one we spent gazing at the stars together, reflecting on how our completely separate lives happened to converge.
And how a stranger became my most trusted ally, who gave me some of the best memories of my life.