There are things I still carry around with me. That I miss you the most when it rains, and my mind drifts back to when we used to lie in your bed and watch the sky change colors during a storm. That it still feels like taking a punch to the gut every time I see you. That I trusted you more than I ever trusted anyone in my life, and I don't know if I'll ever really get over how much you hurt me. That there have been other break ups before and after you, but that for some cosmic reason I can only hope to someday understand, it is the memory of our relationship that is like pouring salt in a fresh wound.
I am trying not to care. I am trying to realize that it was never going to work. And I do realize that. When I see you, I am trying to see the REAL you -- the insecure, immature man child that you are -- instead of the potential that I always saw in you. I don't want you back. I just want not to hurt anymore. Or at least, not to see you anymore, which I think is really what causes me to hurt in the first place. When you weren't around, I wasn't feeling this way. Or at least I wasn't paying attention to it. This sounds mean, huh? I don't mean for it to. I don't want bad things for you. Wishing bad things on someone else is a waste of energy. And I think honestly it only comes back to us in the form of bad karma.
Maybe it's the time of year. It's harder to be alone when the nights get colder. Or maybe it's because "Dexter" premiered last night, and we always used to watch it together, on your sofa under the afghan with the giant holes in it, after you dropped the baby back off at her mother's house. Or maybe it's seeing your comments on our mutual friends' facebook pages -- a recent photo of you and Addi, so big now I don't know that I'd recognize her. Maybe it's because my brother is getting married on Saturday, and I have to go the wedding alone and read a poem, preferably that I've written. Last time I read a poem at a wedding, you were my date. Seems like a thousand years ago now. Apparently, I am now the poet laureate of wedding ceremonies.
Maybe it's because even though there are many amazing things happening in my life right now, they seem somehow diminshed without someone special to share them with. And it seems unfair that you seem to be always attached to someone, while I seem to be always alone. I shouldn't compare; I know. (Every time I type a semi-colon, by the way, I remember how you used to laugh at me for using them in texts and online chatting.) Anyway, it shouldn't matter what you're doing or who you're with. And I guess it doesn't, really. Except that it does. It matters because I still hurt, and you look at me as though you don't know me, and I feel foolish, and I feel stupid, and I feel used, and I hurt like hell. And I am angry with myself for still allowing it to hurt this much.
I know I shouldn't dwell on negative shit. I know I have a lot of really good things going for me. But sometimes, it just hurts like a motherfucker, and everywhere I look, everyone seems to need something from me -- my friends, my family, my patients -- and I am drained and tired and sick to death of forcing smiles ("surface smiles," I think you used to call them), and I just fee like I don't have a damn thing left to give to anybody. Sometimes, I find myself drinking margaritas with a friend after a night of speed dating hell that was not my idea where I was reunited with a freak from my past who apparently is an obsessed fan and can quote my work to me verbatim, and I find myself telling my friend, "You know, the irony becomes less funny when it's your life, and you feel like it's all just a big cosmic joke." And sometimes -- more often than not -- I find the conversation turning to you, and I find in spite of myself that the tears are stinging my eyes and the lump is rising in my throat, and I am excusing myself to the rest room where I can break down in peace. And sometimes, in the rest room, I find something random and ridiculous like side by side toilets in a single stall bathroom...
...and I think, "Goddamn, he would find this funny." And the hurt that comes with that thought is so exquisite that I can feel it burning from my stomach to the back of my throat, threatening to take me down.
But I refuse to be taken down. I'll write a story about these goddamn toilets. And maybe about you. And maybe about the burning, exquisite hurt that follows a love whose potential went unrealized. And maybe someday, there will be someone for me whose greatest legacy in my life won't be the pain left by his absence, but the pain alleviated by his presence.
Until then, I have words. And I have a spirit. And I will not be broken.