March 03, 2012

he took a duck in the face

in what will surprise nobody, I am freely lifting a mechanism from a William Gibson novel as a method of dealing with how I'm feeling; this time it's from Pattern Recognition, in which Cayce is told to write letters to people before not sending them as a way to work through people-related situations. 

I got in, and then we didn't do the things you'd planned, sidetracked by errands and school and your bros, and I found this upsetting, after a while. I spent a night being distant and angry and unsure of how to proceed, and the next morning I tried to apologize, realizing the absurdity of wasting what little time we had together by being pointlessly furious, and mentioned that I wanted to talk about this later.

You said, in bed, after your day on peyote (in the company of your friends, who later apologized for timing this during my visit, claiming ignorance on their part and leadership on yours,) that my concerns were valid and my manner reasonable; too reasonable, even. I was careful to keep an even tone and not to assign blame, but simply laid out the manner in which your actions left me feeling somewhere between underfoot and unwanted, which was I was sure far from your intention and possibly a result of an overload of daily life, grad school, the sheer novelty of this whole thing, and unclear expectations of mine. I'd felt this way for a while, but didn't want to saddle you with a bad trip, so I sat on it for a bit (and realized, later, that maybe the morning sex and the evening talk was spectacularly awful mixed messaging.) You apologized, then, and buried your face in your pillow, and seemed more upset than I was about it, so I pulled you close (or tried, anyway) to remind you that this wasn't something either of us had experience with, that I didn't think it was the end of the world, that I wanted to be convinced that you wanted me there, and that, ultimately, I knew we'd get through this because we'd already made it this far.

Falling asleep, I looked at you and thought that we'd be okay, that we'd hit a speedbump and talked about it, that you'd understood me (like you always did,) that we'd wake up tomorrow and it'd be a new day. I sighed a little, smoothed out your hair a little, and slept.

I woke up, and something wasn't right; it felt like you weren't entirely present, and you alternated between sullen and vindictive when we were alone but dropping the facade when we were with other people; no hands held, the barest of acknowledgement but alone time together—everything I wanted, in the worst way possible.

It was fucking awful, in a nutshell. As you're now aware, I don't react well to the silent treatment and as I pleaded with you, for all intents and, to come back to me, you pulled the walls higher, until I spent half a night on the couch, buried in a book, because I couldn't stand to have you so near physically and so far in every other way. We still went out over those days, and I executed the brunch you'd thought would be fun (but didn't get any sort of plan together, somewhat unsurprisingly) and there was a wander through a park and some graffiti, a park, an exhibit and a niece-request-led shopping trip and a variety of things that would have otherwise maybe have been fun, had I not been frozen out.

Here, then, lies the crux of the issue: if I'm having a problem, and I try to discuss it rationally, and this is going to happen every time I bring something up (and it might not, but I have no way of knowing,) then my choices in a situation like this are as follows: get put through the wringer again (and what a wringer it is), or be a doormat.

It's an enormously shitty feeling to realize this, Aidan, and it's even worse to do it having spent all sorts of time and effort getting across the country, bearing gifts and baring self because we've spun around the sun once since we started this thing and I succumbed to my worst hopeless romantic impulses, having thought you'd be if not excited then at least pleased, on some level, to see me.

When you left, I tried to break down your wall, convinced that it was the last chance I'd get, and as you walked away having issued all sorts of non-answers to my obviously distressed questions, I was pretty sure that was the last I'd see of you. I threw myself at the last errands I needed to run before leaving Toronto, bought dinner, and headed back to get my things, hand off my key to your place, and actually leave. I wasn't sure I'd keep food down, so Stefan had the majority of the roti I'd bought while I downed a pair of scotches and explained, in some detail, the depth of my confusion and nascent fury. He was both understanding and apologetic, trying to convince me that you weren't a lost cause and that I hadn't wasted a year generally and a week, specifically.

I left, unable to shake your last words, and followed with seven hours of dwelling on train, bus, and plane, ending outside the airport but before I got into a car with my parents, who'd been kept ignorant of the whole thing (boyfriend, distance, anniversary, troubles.)

I came home to an acceptance letter, and so I told you, and you congratulated me (an infuriating one-eighty, right as I touched down, it seemed,) and after that I made no effort for ten days, partially because I knew you were drowning in schoolwork and also because I wanted to see what happened.

Nothing happened; I stewed, and consulted friends who'd survived long-distance relationships and vented to confidantes and realized I'd done all I could, and that ultimately the means of continuation lie outside my influence, and there isn't much I can do but ask you not to do that again, to match my rationality with your own, to show or tell or somehow make clear that this isn't something I can go through and that fuck you I deserve better, because I do.

All I really want is an apology and a good-faith commitment to engage when I try and bring up how I'm feeling. I feel like it's not too much to ask, and I know we're both stubborn men (your mother warned me, after she asked about kids and before she mentioned how she thought that bag we bought in Portland was delightful,) but I need you to bend, here, or you're going to break me.

love, still,

No comments: