Wednesday, July 9, 2008

enough

the first time you fall in love, it changes you forever.

i know.

his name was e. he was tall and funny and i loved him more that winter than i've loved anyone since ... strong and true and completely without fear or guile ... the way i hope to love again someday.

when he ended things, it was over the phone. it was vague. and i was undone. i never knew the reason for the split and it was there, i think, that my imagination began its marathon ... running far and fast ahead of me, dodging logic and running circles 'round reason. i assumed he'd found someone more beautiful, more intelligent, closer to home ... more of everything and less of me. i figured - no, i knew - i wasn't enough.

i wasn't entirely wrong.

i saw him one last time, in a hallway. he was standing with his back to me and she was leaning into him. it was she who saw me first and when he turned, he seemed embarrassed. sad, too. he shrugged, a meager attempt at an apology, i imagined, as the girl revealed herself and my world skipped a beat.

her name was k. and she was my arch nemesis. (when you're sixteen - all elbows and lip gloss and drama, it's okay to have an arch nemesis. it's expected, even.)

she was tall and blonde and beautiful ... cool, in that effortless way the wealthy seem born with. she was the opposite of me in every way. we knew each other, though not well, through competition; always finishing first and second, always wanting to best the other.

she smiled, then, slyly and looked down at me, heavy lidded and pleased with herself ... smug and victorious ... and held him, tightly - the way she'd hold any other trophy.

i didn't know what to do, so i did what it turns out i now always do when i hear my heart start to break ... i smiled, as warmly as i could, took a few steps backwards and walked away. and i never looked back.

i almost never look back.

that cut was deep and the scar remains ... thick, though softer now with age, and fading slightly. it manifests itself in my overdeveloped fear of rejection. unwarranted, some say, but still, i am who i am and i do what i do. and in the beginnings of things, or in the middle (when i'm happy and my guard is down), i am certain that it's waiting around the next corner, at the end of the hallway, leaning against a wall.

it goes away. it does. it burns off, with heat and light, like the fog outside my window and i like to think it keeps me humble, grateful, present. but mostly, i think it means i miss the simple joy of things ... of a compliment, of a conversation, of a meal ... and i don't want to do that. i think it means i push when i don't mean to and race ahead when i really would be content to walk ... and i don't want to do that. i don't want to make it easy for people to walk right in and out of my life. not anymore. i've had enough.

i want to give myself a chance to feel in this moment - as this moment - and not with any eye to yesterday or tomorrow. i want to just be ... for myself ... right now. there is time. there is always time.

i know.

because e. and i found each other again and are friends, now. the best kind. (the kind who keeps the connection to the person i used to be - that earliest version of myself, when the whole wide world was open to me and all i had to do was choose a direction, pick my path. the kind who represents potential and possibility in their purest forms - before heartbreak. or doubt. or envy. or vanity. before responsibility. and obligation. and compromise. before. the kind who knows my history and keeps my secrets and who understands the power of gravity.)

and last night, he told me the story of the hallway. from his side. and how he's never been more at odds with himself than he was in that moment - one girl wrapped around him; the other deep inside him. and how, when he needed them most, his words failed him. how, in that moment, and in the days and weeks before, he was the one who wasn't 'enough.' it was never about me at all. not everything is about me.

and suddenly, everything looks a little different. and the fog is burning off. and so is the fear.

yeah. the first time i fell in love, it changed me forever.

it's changing me again.

2 comments:

Mel said...

wow - this is so beautiful. i know how it feels to be rejected, not once but many times over. it scarred me, yes, but it made me humble as well. as i mature, i realize that love always carries a risk with it. you should be ready to be hurt all the time, because that is what loving entails. there's a saying that it's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

i hope that everything will turn out well between you and e. don't stop loving even when you've been so badly hurt in the past, because the only way to live meaningfully is to love.

moonfacedgirl said...

everything is well with e. we are friends and that is all either of us wants. and it is good to know he is near when i need a hand to steady me or to put me in my place. i like to think that the future object of my affection will benefit from his proximity.

 
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