on our first date i wore a navy scalloped skirt. i wore makeup. eye-makeup. concealer, even, which would have been a great comfort to my mother.
and i thought, what am i doing? i was so nervous. but so damn excited.
i entered the restaurant and asked the girl at the front desk if there was a man waiting for anyone. she pointed to the other side of the u-shaped counter in the bar.
i exhaled. audibly.
i had met him only two nights before and while i knew i thought him attractive then, i couldn't remember what he looked like. i feared i wouldn't recognize him. wouldn't be able to pick him out of a crowd.
but there he was. sitting at the bar. and yup, he was cute.
and god i loved how i felt as i walked toward him.
i always loved how i felt walking toward him.
it was the walking away that was hard.
when i called to tell him that i couldn't do it anymore i tried to make it very clear that it was not that i didn't want to. i just couldn't continue in this fashion. and oh how i listened for the moment of hesitation on his side, for the moment that he would fight me. fight for me.
it did not come.
but i had his book. and he had my earring. and such things needed to find their way home.
i offered that he leave it on his stoop and i would carry out the trade. he said such a thing was ridiculous. we could get a drink. be adults about this.
but somehow the drink didn't happen. and because technically it was i who chose to end things, i swallowed this and accepted the short window he provided in which to do essentially what i had suggested in the first place.
i found myself swallowing a lot over the course of our brief courtship. and never failed to be surprised (even in how it ended) by the extent to which he could disappoint me.
my mother told me to let the earring go. to just let it go. ask him to put it in the mail, realize he probably wouldn't and make peace with that.
but the thing was, he had all my secrets. i'd be dammed if he got the earring too.
and so i went. and bumbled there at the bottom of his doorstep for about two minutes.
and then i walked away. and never have i understood the story of lot's wife so well. we look back because we want to know that we're not alone. and oh how i didn't want to be alone. but i didn't. look back, that is. i gathered every remaining shred of self-worth and dignity and walked away without turning around.
(and cried as i did so).
i know i did the best possible thing. the relationship was unequal and unhealthy. he was selfish and i was overzealous. he was not the right guy, and i was not the right girl. and so i walked away. and i didn't look back.
and yet i wished all the while that he'd come up from behind, take my hand, and say let's try just a little bit harder for just a little bit longer.
because for each of his flaws i have my own. i know this.
but he did not.
i lack imagination. in life, i mean. i can't ever imagine things changing. or meeting someone else. and yet i know these things to be certain--more certain than anything else. but my horse-blinders are big, dark and all-encompassing.
perhaps the thing to remember here is that in walking away from him, i am walking toward someone else.