March 23, 2012

event horizons

It's a bit like being told not to think of a pink elephant: moments later, find yourself inevitably weighing the texture of its ears, feeling space warp around it and letting it sink and bob and float in the peskiest part of your consciousness; aggravating in its seeming ability to disappear until an inopportune moment before appearing in some exaggerated form, filling all available brainspace.

Mine's no surrealist pachyderm, mind, but the red-haired man I haven't quite adjusted to no longer loving; tracing the arc of our time together starting with his number in my twitter inbox to our tentative first kiss in the rain (under a streetlight, after a night of craft beer samples,) all the way through to his last distant look into my eyes, one year and six cities later. In the middle lie memories of a year of furious textual innuendo, stretches of distance punctuated by ridiculous bursts of intimacy (I'm sorry, everybody's couches,) and feeling a little more complete as we drifted off, entangled (for a few days, once every couple of months.) It was, until the very end, a good relationship, and I was fairly certain that I was and was dating a good man.

I've been lucky, to some extent, that none of this hurts, per se, as much as I just sort of miss it. There've been a couple close calls, wondering if he's over me already (probably,) if at some point he hurt the way I did (probably not,) and if all the things that he can trace directly to me will remind him of the good times or of a life and a love he decided he needed a clean break from (who the fuck knows.) The actual bits where things hurt carried a physicality that was both unexpected and painful; different from an anxiety or a displeasure, more like some novel combination of instant-onset loneliness and a blow to the gut—something I am glad to experience as infrequently as possible.

It works out in my favor, then, to not have much in the way of tangibles; the bag I bought because we bought too much stuff in Portland, the glasses and tie he picked out for me on aforementioned Portland trip, a letter that was enclosed the time he mailed his computer to me so I could take it to work, a copy of The Trial (which I should return, come to think of it.) There's a row of bottles of Scotch we were supposed to drink together (I refused to fly with them, though, so it was going to wait until we at least lived in the same city,) a single t-shirt bearing a Toronto streetcar (ironic, when I think about the reason he gave for bringing things to an end,) and a whole archive of photos, which has been both the hardest to deal with (being a literal record,) and the easiest (editing photos is an autopilot sort of thing, now.)

Having never really thought about how these things work, I'd assumed that discussing the end of things with people would be fairly boilerplate, but that's been far from the case. In the midst of yet another explanation to yet another friend (don't feel bad, friends, I know you ask because you care, and I treasure you all for it,) I found words coming out that I hadn't been thinking before, about how there were things I was busy not seeing, which in retrospect were both emblematic and problematic. There was a callousness towards people he'd come to take for granted; the manner in which I was sprung on his parents (a story for another time,) spoke to that, as well as some enormously insensitive comment that left me reminding him to apologize to a best friend. Hindsight also reveals that I made excuses for his doing things I wouldn't have pulled (and would hope someone called me on,) and also that the space from which the end of our relationship arose and the manner of his sullen, silent ending of it were ultimately things I let myself be surprised by.

I probably shouldn't have been surprised, then, when he took an in-joke of ours (the absurd phenomenon that arises when a big dog and a little dog encounter each other; draw parallels at your own risk,) and turned it into a single-serving tumblr and sent me the first message since our breakup and/or Bad Decisions Night 2012 during a launch day at work. I found myself not really wanting to deal with it, bafflingly missing my appetite (which comes and goes, still; I've gone down a pant size,) and just sort of displeased that he'd take something that I'd considered a joint thing and decided on taking it somewhere I wasn't entirely on board with. My response was measured but displeased, making it clear I needed more time before I was ready to resume a friendship (but that the desire existed,) and his response was both unrepentant and dismissive, missing the point I thought I'd made and being generally revealing of where he was, as far as I was concerned.

I had a whole paragraph in my head about this but really it's been sort of useful in moving this whole episode from a thing I miss to a thing I enjoyed-but-am-done-with, mostly.

Reconfigure associations, rebuild the maps in my head without the places defined with "we", and return to being okay with being myself: amateur semiotics as heartbreak prophylactic?

No comments: