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Conversations in the Dark

Screen shot 2014-08-31 at 7.49.16 PMLong, dark drives when cell phones have passed out of batteries and the roads are just clear enough that attention to being able to stop-and-go in a stick shift isn’t necessary are moments ripe for falling into conversation about that which you should talk about, but don’t want to. As it was for A-Ron and me.

We were returning to our fair part of the bay from a wedding, and though we’d been jovial just after a dinner of puff-pasty encrusted tomato soup and sole, the mood had shifted to bittersweet as we talked about us.

“I’ve just never casually dated someone for this long,” he said.

“Well, that makes this new ground for two of us,” I replied. There was silence, and though he hadn’t asked, I felt like I should fill it. “I don’t like this,” I said. “I just can’t seem to not hold anyone at arm’s length.”

“I can tell,” he said. “There’s something really strong blocking…well, I’m not sure if it’s just me. But it’s blocking me out.”

“It’s not just you.”

More silence. I wanted to tell him when this would change. When I would be able to open myself up and give him – or anyone – what they deserved. I’ve accepted what has been offered, but I have not help up my hands and given anything back. But I didn’t have that information.

“I want to be over all this,” I said. “I’ve spent this entire year working on it.”

“You know,” A-Ron said. “It’s okay. I’ve been there. God, haven’t we all? We’ve all been there. I know you’re working on it. I know you’re trying. And I appreciate your honesty. And hell, I appreciate that you’re still here.”

“I just…” I had to stop as tears welled up. Eff it, I thought. Let ’em come. I let myself begin to cry. “I just don’t feel like I love the way other people do. I can’t turn it on and off. Once it’s on, it’s just on. I still love everyone I’ve ever loved. Not in the same way, but probably closer than anyone who dates me wants to think about. And God. I wish I could turn it off. I wish it was a switch, a lever, a button. It would make my life so much easier. For whatever reason, knowing that it is a switch for other people actually makes it worse. It drags me back to the idea that it wasn’t love in the first place, and they just feel foolish for thinking it was so.” 

A-Ron took my hand. “I know,” he said. “And I’m sorry.”

There are so many moments when what I don’t need is a date; what I really need is a friend.

2 Responses so far.

  1. Corey says:

    I think other people aren’t like that because they are too caught up in their insecurities, or thinking that the other person wronged them. Too blinded by the little stuff to realize that they still love everyone that they have loved before. There is also the possibility that many have not loved they way they thought they did. That they did the infatuation part of love very well but couldn’t stick it out. Some people have the “stick it out” kind of love down from the beginning, no matter what happens. I think many block it because it hurts too much to continue to love those they have loved before. The cognitive dissonance that comes when they love someone they use to be with but then also want to try to love someone else and that doesn’t seem faithful or right. Maybe that’s just life. No, that’s definitely life, finding a way to escape the dissonance for just a second, or pretend it’s not there. Maybe you’re just better at being with yours. But it is hard, and confusing.

    • admin says:

      Very wise, and well said. For whatever reason, I hope you are right to some degree – it’s easier than thinking they just no longer love.

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