I’m going to miss your lovely face,
While you’re off on your adventures.
But I will wait for you right here,
Even til I may need dentures.
I waited a long time, after the end of my engagement. I would wonder frequently at the beginning of my solitude, why he didn’t come to get me. Why he didn’t just stop being silly and come to find me. I only lived a few miles from him when I moved out. And would listen for his car. Not long after we broke up, I would go to the window if I heard a car that may be his (old, convertible classic, distinctive).
I would find myself standing in the shower and realise the bathroom door was closed, would get out of the shower to open it – just in case he chose that moment to knock at the front door – so I could hear it. I would sometimes decide not to have the stereo on during Sunday afternoons at home, for fear of missing his call. And for a few months, I really didn’t understand why he hadn’t come back for me.
Then early one Saturday morning, his car pulled up outside my flat. I looked down on it in the street, from where I was overlooking the village green, eating breakfast.
And I stopped moving. I sat very still. Just breathing. My heartfelt wish? He was truly just out there. And he sat in his car for 20 minutes. Twice, I could see, he went for the door. Then settled back into the seat. Once he picked up his phone… but didn’t dial. I watched, in that voyeur state for those 20 minutes. Knowing from his body language the feelings he moved through, the different energies; determined, resigned, tensing, collapsing, nervous, sad.
And then his shoulders slumped for a moment. And I watched him take a deep breath. He sat upright, started the car, and began to pull away. He looked up as he moved from the curb, seeing me there sitting at the little cafe table by the window. I like to think the word he mouthed to me, with his slow-smiling, resigned acknowledgement was “sorry”.
And you know, I was ok with that. I watched him go. And knew I would be fine. We met up a week later for a coffee, at his request; laughed and flirted, and secured a semblance of friendship that meant we could both respect each other and importantly ourselves. And we never spoke about that Saturday morning.
I know this sounds like I was delusional, like I had a faith in something that only existed in my imagination. For me, and later in conversation with him, for him too, there was a belief that the very connection that had pulled us together, that had stopped the world so we could meet that first time, was held sacred and important long after we began separate lives. It remains the truest of feelings, and it makes me smile in a soft-focus nostalgic kind of way. He was the first, the only, guy I’ve ever ‘fallen’ in love with. The sadness and wounds are healed, the loss a slight flutter in moments of reminiscing. The rest? A beautiful experience and I wouldn’t have exchanged all that heart-break for the not having felt love in the first place.
A Facebook memory popped up this morning, from a post I shared a few years ago. Much of what Jeff Brown writes resonates with me, though he has a strong belief in an otherworldly external deity. He is still able to capture the human capacity to love and heal in all it’s challenging but beautiful cycles. He wrote this and it was a precious piece to me at the time. Not new understanding for me, the contrary, but a timely reminder that it is rarely our own journey that makes others turn away from the love we have ready to gift. I thought I would share.
“Sometimes people walk away from love because it is so beautiful that it terrifies them. Sometimes they leave because the connection shines a bright light on their dark places and they are not ready to work them through. Sometimes they run away because they are not developmentally prepared to merge with another – they have more individuation work to do first. Sometimes they take off because love is not a priority in their lives – they have another path and purpose to walk first. Sometimes they end it because they prefer a relationship that is more practical than conscious, one that does not threaten the ways that they organise reality. Because so many of us carry shame, we have a tendency to personalise love’s leavings, triggered by the rejection and feelings of abandonment. But this is not always true. Sometimes it has nothing to do with us. Sometimes the one who leaves is just not ready to hold it safe. Sometimes they know something we don’t – they know their limits at that moment in time. Real love is no easy path – readiness is everything. May we grieve loss without personalising it. May we learn to love ourselves in the absence of the lover.”
– Jeff Brown
Today I am procrastinating, but tomorrow? Oh, tomorrow!
Is it possible, that any action is better than a dis-eased, stagnating, procrastination? The choice of transit over inertia, of impulse in order to distract us from our paralysing vulnerabilities. Are animation and engagement as vital as the end result, wherever they take us? More so? Embracing movement… and the doing… become habitual drivers forward, a process of healing in itself. Even in place of unlayering and self-discovery – delayed when we are not ready. If nothing else, in these brief moments of change, we gift ourselves energy.
The ways in which we respond to fraught, sad, or unexpected outcomes, reflect who we are at our most basic. Victim or victorious. And sometimes, the moving forward, without thinking of what the journey may look like, is all that we can do.