Okay, so for those of you who don’t actually know me, here’s a little story:
Once upon a time over starbucks, in a city not too far from here, a girl met a boy.
She’d been born in April, a sweet faced child with honey colored hair that darkened as she got older. She laughed loudly and played with GI Joes. She grew up happy in a small two bedroom brick house that squatted close to the ground. She clambered up the spindly dogwood tree in her backyard to look in the kitchen window at her parents. There were always dogs bounding through the grass and cats strewn lazily around the furniture. She grew up happy and loved.
He’d been born in March. He grew up in a huge two story house with a bay window that overlooked the river. His family fought with firsts and harsh words. He grew up sharp and angry. He had the violence of love and the stillness of the picture perfect pretend. He played hockey and learned to be shrewd. His best friend was a lopsided beagle. He knew the words to every Beatles song, ever.
Years passed and they grew up different, but the same. He learned to love, but flee. She learned that love meant heartbreak and pain. She learned the value of walls and burned bridges and made huge bonfires from her rage. He learned that the safest place to be was alone.
They each were twisted. They each learned to cut first. They believed they were unworthy.
Years later, trying to become healthy and happy, they met in the dark, telling secrets among strangers. They met in a room filled with love and sobriety. He’d gotten there first, and she was still fumbling through her first year. She didn’t notice him and he fled the room quickly to get away from her.
They met again when she was left by his friend. He watched her drive off with dark eyes and waited. She packed her exboyfriend’s things in a box and came to believe that it was for the best.
They met for the last time over a deck of cards and a pack of Camel lights. The night was low and close under the branching tree that flowed up from the pavement to spread and reach toward the green starbucks canopy. The table wobbled as they played. She laughed and sparkled. She danced and wrote words like a swelling thumping jazz song that he couldn’t get out of his head. He had a wide smile and broad shoulders decked with a smokey voice that tasted like licorice. She couldn’t stop thinking about him.
She tried to set him up with her best friend. He was dangerous. He had to be unavailable and the easiest way to turn him off was to place him with someone she could never betray. It failed spectacularly. She sat in the movie seat, eyes wide and glowing- hyper aware of his shoulder so close to hers- and believed that robots needed love too. She bought the little Wall-E toy, and it reminded her of that night. They ate, the three of them, her, her best friend, and the boy. She watched her plan fail as they picked at each other awkwardly and talked to her all night. She had planned that she would lean back in her chair and watch them fall in love.
But her plans never did work right.
He threw a party for her when she’d wrestled herself to nine months sober. He cooked ribs and invited everyone to watch Zombie movies. He had a knack for morbid irony. He left her bits of poetry stashed in small places in her purse, her books, her pockets. They piled like puppies and shot pellet guns until dawn. They managed to keep the fire between them light and friendly for exactly two days after that.
Then it was slick kisses and clutching fingers. It was the feel of broad shoulders and hands against soft pale skin. She shivered. He growled.
The little girl woke up one day and realized she was in love. The little boy had found someone who laughed as big as the sky and sparkled.
The story doesn’t end like they do in the movies, or the story books. Those never talk about the little battles. It never touches on the fact that she doesn’t like doing laundry. It doesn’t talk about the nights when the sex becomes routine and bland. It doesn’t talk about the jealousy and the self doubt. They lie. It never shows the end. It never shows the secrets kept to keep from hurting each other that destroyed the core.
It never shows the little girl opening presents that tell more truly than any word that he just did not know her. It doesn’t show the moment when she feels her heart break while she fingers the cheap abalone shell earings shaped into silver hearts. It doesn’t show the boy cry in front of her for the first time when he unwraps the Wii she thought he would love. The packing, the pain, the Budget trucks and the mess left behind when love doesn’t last forever. The story neglects the nasty text messages sent from a place of pain and fear. It doesn’t include the letters and poems he wrote some other little girl that wasn’t her.
I miss the way you used to dance around the classroom. I thought you were lucky to know me, but now I’m starting to realize how lucky I was to know you. I’ll tell you one day.
The movies always panned away before the little girl found herself outside her apartment in a strange place screaming and unable to breathe as her world crashed down. All of this is glossed over.
But the girl loved him. He was beautiful, brilliant, and a good man. He tried as hard as he could to keep her happy and punished himself when she wasn’t. She wasn’t happy alot. She’d uprooted her life and followed him instead of standing firm. They’d both given too much and tried in all the wrong ways. They’d lost track of the people they loved. Not her for him, or him for her. They’d lost track of how much they loved themselves. She’d stopped dancing. He’d stopped writing poetry. She’d gotten complacent and it matched his. Theirs was a romance of mistakes.
This is the love story of Meagn and Jacob.
He called me this morning and it was like a cloud moved out of my chest and wafted away. I miss him. He was my best friend. He’s the one who held me when I cried over my grandmother passing. He’s the one who leaned against me, a solid weight of trust. But that’s broken and we’re awkward and trying to not let all that we shared end up just being another: “And then we never saw each other again.” I know it’s dangerous. I know I’m asking to be hurt all over again.
But I’m going to try. I’m not going to try and get him BACK. Well, that’s not true. Shit. I’m not going to actively pursue him, my heart is too fragile right now, but I’m going to let him back in.
We’re going to Disneyland on friday. I just want to take a break from the craziness that is my life and run around like a hooligan. I want to laugh with him again. I’m selfish. I’m weak. I’m heartbroken and damn, I really do miss the sound of his voice.
But I’m not stupid. I’m going into this honest. I’m keeping my friends in the loop. I’m not going to hide it from them expecting their stern disapproval and disappointment. I’m terrified right now, but I’m learning to just let go.
I’m not in control. I’ve never been good at making plans. I have to trust that the beautiful vibrating center of the world that keeps atoms in chaos without collision will keep me from shaking apart too.