04 June, 2012

The Person-Shaped Hole

You know that voice in the back of your head that whispers,"this is a terrible idea, and I don't mean a Bad Idea (tm), but it's truly terrible and you will rue not listening to me..."? 

Rue it, I say!
I never, ever regret listening to that voice, and I always without fail regret ignoring it. Especially when ignoring it takes the form of sticking my fingers in my ears, squeezing my eyes shut, and singing "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" at top volume. For five months.

Mine eyes got very tired of the glory of the coming of the lord. 

Let me back up.

There is this person who has been a dear - often a best - friend for a dozen years. We have been one another's biggest fans, loudest cheerleaders, clearest eyes, and broadest shoulders when needed. Recently he moved back to California, and we decided to give being friends with benefits a shot. After all, who better to console a person after a bad break-up than their biggest fan? It... was a bad plan. I knew it was a bad plan when I first heard the words, "I'm not ready for a relationship right now, is that okay?" come out of his mouth back in December. I knew it was a bad plan when I called it off, then a few days later we drank too many Jack Rose cocktails over Doctor Who and fell back together. I thought that it was a less-bad plan when, after the Jack Rose incident, things shifted a bit; he was more careful of me, sweeter and concerned. When he came to meet my friends and family and charmed them all. When he said, "you've got me, T. Don't worry."  It turns out that charm is my kryptonite, and I didn't expect this person - THIS person - to take advantage of that, even unconsciously, because when one is healing from a bad break-up, one will do pretty much anything to feel better and validated. He put me in charge of remembering that this was all fun and games, then let himself say whatever would bring a light to my eyes or a smile to my face - even if he didn't actually mean it. So that's what happened. 

And it happened with a vengeance that only the voice in the back of my head is capable of wreaking, because that voice is a grade-A bitch who loves to say, "I told you so!" 

This last Thursday, his words fell like rain: This means too much. I'm sorry. You're perfect and beautiful and amazing and (adjectives), but I can't do this. I'm not a forever kind of man. I think I'll be single forever. I'm so sorry. It must be me, because you're wonderful and (more adjectives). I don't remember saying the things you are saying I did. I fucked this up. I met this girl - she came out of nowhere - she doesn't matter - nothing happened. I thought I was being clear. I'm so, so sorry. Mea culpa, Tika. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa.

And then, the double-edged sword of:
This started to feel like it was for forever, so I need out. 
I'm not That Guy for you, T. I'm just not. 

I didn't say it was okay, because it isn't. I didn't say "I forgive you," because I don't yet. I didn't call him a coward or plead or accuse or shriek or set the relationship on fire - although I came so close to that last that I had to put my phone down and look hard in the mirror for a moment because I do so love to watch bridges burn. It comes from the same part of me that doesn't look over cliffs because I might try to fly.


The worst of it all is, when relationships don't work out, this is the person I turn to. The person who says all the adjectives and makes me feel better, who sends me weird shit in my email to make me laugh, who plays video games or watches ridiculous British TV show marathons until I have something else to talk about, who reminds me that whomever I left or left me is the one who lost because I'm marvelous. That's what we do for one another. Did.

And now, all those things that usually make me feel better - losing myself in a video game or show, finding quirky little corners of the internet to share, looking up new (or very old) adjectives - feel instead like glass splinters and I don't know where to turn to distract myself, so I've been standing very still in the middle of my apartment, just staring at this person-shaped hole.