Definitions of love
There is a difference between loving the idea of someone and actually loving who they are…
What is love exactly? Love can be described in so many words both positive and negative, and I simply do not have the time to go through all of them. God…I wish I had given this some real thought two years ago. I wouldn’t be sitting here today contemplating the question had I done so sooner. I wouldn’t be hurting the way that I do now as much as I try not to. I’d have saved myself a million tears and nearly as many regrets. I’d be happy and content and not this shell of a man that I am now.
I feel silly sometimes. I feel desperate at other times — and you know how much I hate desperation. Always I feel empty, remorseful, and utterly alone. Even now, all this time later despite knowing that it’s just plain stupid for me to continue to be hung up on this I still am. Love is this dull ache that occasionally rises to a feverish crescendo only to die back down and wait in the background for something else to trigger the memories. It never goes away. It always lurks. It makes no sense. I know better, and yet I can’t help it.
I went out last night to sit with a friend and talk. I lasted all of fifteen minutes before I had to leave. I’m not allowed to forget you it seems. Two songs came up on the jukebox in sequential order not long after I arrived. The first song was the very first song I ever sang to you. I closed my eyes and managed to hold it together as I mouthed the words and silently sang to myself. As the song came to a close I was almost proud of myself that I was able to get through it without incident — and then the second song of the back to back played. It was one you used to listen to all the time. You’d port it through the speakers and sing along to it in the shower. Sometimes I would stand outside the door. Other times I’d sneak in and peak at you from behind the curtain and silently watch and listen. It took me a moment to recognize it, but as soon as I did the tears started to well up and I knew I couldn’t hold back. I had to get out of there. I made a quick lame excuse and left. I’m sure he’s wondering what the hell happened.
The tears were streaming down my face before I even hit the door. Giant wracking sobs seized me the moment I was in the safety of my vehicle. I dare not ever contact you again, but I only wish you knew what you’ve done to me. I am so tragically stuck in love with you. We loved so hard at one point, and now it utterly kills me to have to try to pretend it never mattered. It’s so much effort now for me to sit here daily and try to convince myself of the truth, to look into the mirror and say the words. Some days I am successful, but many days things like this just jump out of the woodwork and make their presence known. Moments like this cause me to wonder if this world we live in is just my personal rendition of Hell. I am Sisyphus pushing the boulder up the hill, only to have it tumble back down the other side every time I reach the top.
One of the nasty side effects of sobriety is the restoration of my near perfect recall. I deleted all of our conversations, texts, and emails so that I could not go back and torture myself by rereading them. I couldn’t bring myself to delete your voicemails, but I can’t bring myself to listen to them either, same as the pictures I have…I just can’t bear to look at them. It does not make a bit of a difference. I remember…I remember everything. Nearly every day I wake up to new memories of old situations and conversations. I wish them gone, but once they get caught in this bear trap of a mind they are there to stay. It’s almost enough to drive me to drink alone again, but I don’t because of the flickering light of useless hope I still have.
In one of our last civil conversations I set an arbitrary date for how long I would wait for you. It was one year past the date of that conversation. I remember the date and I meant it. Chances are my self-imposed banishment from loving someone else will extend beyond that as even now I just can’t see myself being able to do it. When I said I’d take you back no matter what had transpired since I meant that as well. Love is blind like that. It doesn’t matter to me as long as you come back into the fold. But I know you won’t. That’s the bitch of it. I know, and yet I can’t let go. I just have to wait for the day when my desire to love someone new trumps my senseless need to hang on to the hopes of the past.
I’ve now since successfully squandered several opportunities at love. Most of them I’m not really all that concerned with. One or two could have been ideal…transpositions of you onto another frame, and yet I could not pull that trigger. I’ve only been on the one date and I walked out in the middle of it. That was as close as I’ve come to something tangible. The other, well, we are talking once again after some hurt feelings and time apart. Maybe she’s just giving me time to sort these things out. We haven’t talked about you or feelings since the Sunday afternoon phone call, but I do care about her. She knows where the line is drawn. I told her flat out if the phone rang and you were on the other end I’d pick up, as unlikely as that scenario may be. I don’t understand why she waits. Maybe some day her patience will be rewarded, but I think it is more likely that she’ll grow tired of waiting for me to get over you and look to greener pastures.
I could easily have her, and she would just as easily and willingly step into the role you relinquished, but I can’t bring myself to let someone else occupy that space in my mind and heart. Love is so many things. Depending on your perspective, it is torture. Her and I are both there right now. She tortures herself waiting for me as I torture myself waiting for you. Only her patience has a chance of being rewarded. I’m pretty sure all I am doing now is whittling time off my personal clock for what time I have left on this earth, which is a sad way to say I’m pretty sure death will precede a reconciliation no matter what I’ve done since you’ve been gone or the sentiments I hold.
Love is forgiveness. I am finally starting to love myself once again, as I am finally beginning to forgive myself for my transgressions. Certain people have said some negative things about you when I have talked about the fallout at the end. I’ve defended you every time. Don’t get me wrong — there are moments when I myself have gotten a little angry about it. I’ve questioned whether or not you ever really did love me. In the end I believe you did, it was just too much for you to process when I pulled back the curtain. It was too late. Things had gone too far and I should have made admissions and taken action sooner. That’s my fault, and so even when those moments arise I am quick to strike it back down. I don’t blame you. I forgive you. I put you in an untenable situation and that is why I have worked so hard since to ensure that never happens again.
Love is hope, and love is work if you want to maintain it or if you want it back. It is blind loyalty and acceptance of faults. It is patience and understanding. It is dedicating one’s self to knowing all the things that need to be known about what makes someone tick. It is sacrfice. It is giving everything you have and expecting nothing in return. It is so many things, and I have examined it from a myriad of angles as I have studied you in the time since you’ve been gone. There are only two outcomes at this point. One day, I may push that rock up the hill one last time, and it will balance at the summit. That would be the day you finally pick up the phone, a day I do not count on. The only other outcome is I finally grow tired of chasing the boulder down the other side of the mountain. It is the more likely of the two scenarios, and when that day comes I will finally be free. That will be the day I am finally able to make someone else happy and in turn myself. I have patiently waited to bestow these gifts of love and knowledge on you. I continue to expand upon it even now, but I’ll wind up giving it all to someone else. You waited so long for so many things, and I’ve been amassing it all in hopes of your return. It’s still yours for the taking, but I shouldn’t feel guilty sharing it with someone else. I still believe in my heart that we were meant to be, and I probably always will. However, I can’t wait forever for you to come to the same conclusion even if you did hold that belief at one time yourself. No matter what happens, you will always hold a special place in my heart and no matter what I am doing or who I am with I will always pick up that phone if you call. It’s love. I love you and I just can’t help it.