Saturday, July 10, 2004

Entry 2035 Some Things Should Not Be Asked

Not too long ago I was accused of being angry and bitter in discussing ex-girlfriends.

Well, maybe “accused” is too strong. Let’s just say that, in a conversation after a date, I was told that my attitude toward some ex-girlfriends was somewhat less than healthy. I think the actual terms she used were…angry and bitter.

The thing that I find most amusing about this is…she asked.

If somebody asks why a longer relationship you’ve had ended, the answer is not likely that one person joined the French Foreign Legion. I would expect the answer to be infidelity, lying, drinking, any of the nasty things that characterize any relationship ending. Or, you just grew apart…or didn’t grow together, which is not necessarily the same thing. Point being, it’s probably not going to be a pretty answer. In fact, if you have such an answer, they’re not going to believe you.

“Billy was a wonderful guy…but after seven years of us being happy together he met his Soul Mate at the gym…I wish them both all the best.”

Uuuuhhh no. I don’t think so. I would be asking…so how do you really feel? I mean, REALLY?  Yes, it’s normal to forgive and forget…it’s healthy. But you must’ve had some feelings about it, when it happened. And that’s what I’m talking about…and that’s how I described these past relationships. They’re in the past now…I don’t have any resentment or “darker emotions” about them. But while it was going on, the ending part, that might’ve been a different story.

Hey I’ve had my share of bad ones…and not all of them were the other person’s fault. Similarly, some of them were not all my fault. In this respect my past is not that much different than anyone else’s, I suppose.

Like, for example…let me tell you about what could have been the best relationship I ever had. No anger, no bitterness. But there is still…sadness.

When I moved to Arizona in 1987, I left behind the girl that I still believe should’ve been my wife. Not a day goes by that I don’t wonder about that…and just to summarize: the very weekend that I negotiated a real estate sale that allowed me, allowed us the opportunity to leave, to get away from the Sunset Grill existence that we had and start a new life, of which we were richly deserving…ah, Fate!

“Do you remember that pain I’ve had in my side for three weeks? I have a cyst on one of my ovaries.”

You could hear the doors, all of them, slowly slamming shut. She couldn’t leave…I couldn’t stay. Ironically, months before I met her I had been to AZ for the second time. When we met I talked about it all the time. But slowly, I forgot…or I allowed myself to just settle for what was my existence.

“Let’s go down to the Sunset Grill, watch the working girls go by,
Watch the basket people mumble, and gaze out into the auburn sky.
Maybe we’ll leave by springtime…meanwhile, have another beer….
What would we do without all these freaks anyway? And besides—
All our friends are here.”

(And YOU KNOW at the end of that song—they ain’t leaving. They’ll talk about it until they die…but they ain’t leaving.)

Well that was me…until 1986. It was April of that year that she and I vacationed here, in AZ. And the dream that I had nearly let die—the dream of living here—came roaring back to life…thanks to her.

I was lying by the pool at the now defunct Motel 6 on Grant Road and I-10 in Tucson…it was about 6 pm. Suddenly she ran excitedly from our room, yelling my name…she had been calling apartment complexes…she had found a couple that she liked.

We visited…and soon we had found our prospective future home.

When we returned to Pittsburgh a few days later—a city that I still deeply love—and saw the banners proclaiming it as “America’s Most Livable City”, as chosen by Places Rated Almanac…we saw the sleet and the clouds, felt the 30 degree wind, all after a week of 80 degree temperatures….

We muttered to each other, “Yeah? Well, when does the next PLANE leave?”

We tried to save our money…but there was always something. We grew discouraged. While at lunch with her father one weekend, we confessed to him that our dream was very far away…both literally and figuratively.

And then, several months later…my good news. And her bad.

She shared a health history with her brother…he had thyroid cancer. He beat it, eventually. But she was scared.

She ain’t leaving.

All she could talk about was how concerned she was. It consumed her, and rightfully so.

And I ain’t staying.

And all I could talk about was how I couldn’t wait to go, to get away.

It consumed me, too. And also…perhaps rightfully so.

And, just so you don’t think that I was some kind of idiot for leaving her, despite how I felt about moving to AZ...there was more too. How she took up with, became involved with a man almost twice her age, who had been married twice before. How he couldn’t have any more children. How desperately she wanted children…how she should have had my children.

How I was still there while this all started, and for months as it went on. How it broke my heart.

How I guess she did it because she knew I was leaving.

I walked the beach in Ocean City, Maryland…my life was like a flooded basement. But I’ve told you all this before.

We made love for the last time, the night before I left. How detached she was…compared to our glorious past, how disappointing and sad it was. How I told her it was the worst sex I had ever had. How…she cried. How she shouted out her car window that she loved me for the last time, as she drove away…for the last time.

I was certain that I would never see her again.

For years I carried a torch for her…God, I missed her, and the life we could have had!

But it’s okay…life goes on. I hope she’s happy…honestly I do. Years ago I moved least, I tried to. I learned to try and accept what happened…but I will never understand the why, or the how of the circumstances that pulled us apart.

I’ve had some relationships since then…but none that could truly compare. But regardless--I certainly tried.

If you ask what happened with some of my past girlfriends…some of what I say you might not like. But all of it is the truth…I don’t have secrets. I’ll tell you whatever you want to know, whatever you feel you should know.

But hey, just remember--you asked…!

Wednesday, July 7, 2004

Entry 2016 (Revised, from Entry 1950) 'Why'?

"How many times do I have to try to tell you
That I'm sorry for the things I've done
But when I start to try to tell you
That's when you have to tell me
Hey... this kind of trouble's only just begun
I tell myself too many times
Why don't you ever learn to keep your big mouth shut
That's why it hurts so bad to hear the words
That keep on falling from your mouth
Falling from your mouth
Falling from your mouth
Tell me...

I may be mad
I may be blind
I may be viciously unkind
But I can still read what you're thinking
And I've heard is said too many times
That you'd be better off
Why can't you see this boat is sinking
(this boat is sinking this boat is sinking)
Let's go down to the water's edge
And we can cast away those doubts
Some things are better left unsaid
But they still turn me inside out
Turning inside out turning inside out
Tell me...
Tell me...

This is the book I never read
These are the words I never said
This is the path I'll never tread
These are the dreams I'll dream instead
This is the joy that's seldom spread
These are the tears...
The tears we shed
This is the fear
This is the dread
These are the contents of my head
And these are the years that we have spent
And this is what they represent
And this is how I feel
Do you know how I feel ?
'cause i don't think you know how I feel
I don't think you know what I feel
I don't think you know what I feel
You don't know what I feel."

—“Why", Annie Lennox, 1992. All Rights Reserved.