thu 13 dec 2007 10:39:48 witte de withstraat
my last affair, again
a friend just asked me about this in an email, and i realized my answer was swelling into somthing more for my peace of mind than his, so i decided it belongs in my journal instead of an email.
years ago my beloved told me "no promises" and we fell in love. i liked the no-promises thing. at the time i was trying to get away from promises.
a few years after that she broke up with me. it was difficult. i kept looking for promises where there had been none.
some of our friends were sad that this surprising, refreshing affair was ending. they wondered why.
my beloved used to spin digestible explanations for them to hear -- eg, that i didn't want children, or that i was too slow getting a divorce from my ex, or that maybe i didn't seem like settling-down material. she didn't tell me those things.
so when i'd hear the spin reasons back from others, i'd go to my beloved asking stuff like "will you marry me?" and "do you want to have kids?" etc. well it turned out, no, she didn't want those things. those were just cover stories. whatever her real "reasons" were, they were too difficult or time-consuming to describe in public.
to me she only complained that now that i had propelled her forward, she kept having to slow down for me.
she wasn't proud of the fact that "looks were a factor", that it had begun to burden her that we didn't outwardly seem to belong together, either physically or socially. i can comiserate: the question mark hanging over her head in the social milieu, the either real or imagined obligation to explain what a girl like her was doing with a guy like me. i've felt this kind of feeling in my previous relationship, and yes it's a selfish feeling, but a real one. so that's a good reason. and yet that reason feels inadequate.
in the midst of those doubts, the panic of 9/11 suddenly drove my beloved closer to her family. in the years following, she became reconciled with her mother, much less afraid of being abandoned by her. and because her mother had damned me in absentia, that was also a good reason to break up with me. and yet that reason too feels inadequate.
my beloved felt guilty about breaking up with me, cuz she knew we each saw "us" from a different perspective. for her, meeting me was a sort of liberating impulse, a tempestuous "affair" that kicked her forward in her life, toward things she really wanted, both in the world and in bed. but it wasn't meant to be an ending.
for me, meeting her was like the boon at the end of my lifelong quest for the perfect love. i had gone to heaven: she was my *reward* for having been a good boy and endured all those misfires and all that loneliness. the finality of it is what sealed my fidelity to her. it was self-evident to me that my other life was over and my she was the girl for me. she was the answer. to me it was unimaginable that i would ever abandon her. but not to her.
so i wasn't pushing to make it official by pushing for a divorce. for me, any external social pressure would literally profane the thing which seemed so divinely ordained. and having just emerged from my previous relationship, i was of course so absolutely *done* trying to fit in with other people's families and social complexes. much too late, i found out this was a serious problem for my beloved, in fact it was a dealbreaker. i wished in retrospect that it had been made clearer to me -- that i needed to attend to the formalities or i would lose her. so that was a big reason, but it still feels inadequate.
there's a reason why the reasons all feel inadequate. the thing is, the mind invents "reasons" to vindicate the pure instincts of the underlying persona.
when my beloved and i first fell in love, i never stipulated that it should make sense. did i? nope, it all just seemed too stupefyingly miraculous. to question it would be like if moses said "now hold on a minute, how can that bush be burning like that?" in that light, my latter-day craving to make sense of why we broke up has always seemed misplaced.
if there simply were no such thing as an adequate "because", that would actually make the most sense.
what happened was, we fell asleep and dreamed the whole thing, then one of us woke up. the passion winked out, and the mind was left groping for reasons why it "should" be over.
the truth is there is a lot i would have done, not to lose her. i still wish i could have another chance. knowing the inevitable truth that i cannot, and being unable to accept that, is what makes me what i am now.