That Tuesday I’m on my way to dancing the night away when I receive his text, a very long one.
Yet, it only takes 3 lines to change my mood entirely. It’s like a big, dirty truck has stopped in front on my cute and colourful Mini Cooper, and offloaded a staggering amount of shit all over my car. With me inside.
“I’m afraid I cannot be the man you want me to be in your life”.
Wow, A. has mind reading skills I was unaware of. Actually, it’s more clairvoyance, rather than mind reading, given that I myself don’t know yet what I want from him. I’ve been taking things so delicately and slowly this time that I haven’t questioned myself yet as I used to do in the past. For once, I was enjoying the moment, the discovery. But he has seen in the future for me, too. How sweet of him.
“There’s a danger feelings develop, and I know you’ve been hurt many times in the past, so I want to be honest with you”. The choice of words is very interesting here. A danger. To me, it would be a blessing and a joy, if feelings develop. What are we dating for, at our age, if not to find that connection that digs deep into our souls?
He continues by saying that he knows he’s not the man for me long term, that he knows I want honesty from people and so here he is, doing the right thing, even if it’s the hardest. He hopes we can be friends in time (oh, God, my hate for platitudes doesn’t kick in simply because I’m basically shocked by the whole, unexpected text), given that “I’m one of the most beautiful persons he’s met, both inside and outside” (and yet, still, it’s not enough, clearly…). He concludes hoping that I can appreciate the fact he’s doing the right thing, putting my long term feelings first, rather than being selfish, repeating again he’d hate more than anything else not being honest with me and hurting me.
I’m at Moorgate station when I read this. I think that it’s the right place to feel so desolate. Abandoned. Hurt. Sad. Shocked. Where is all this coming from? Where were the signs for it?
I take some time before answering him. A recent Vipassana meditation retreat has taught me not to react to things, but take my time to observe how I feel about them. After two hours, I feel desolate. Abandoned. Hurt. Sad. Shocked. And angry. Why a text, that doesn’t allow me to ask him questions?
I answer him: “I guess I should appreciate the honesty, but after more than 40 hrs spent together, can we at least talk about this?”. I’m in his hands, waiting for him to be kind enough to talk to me. And though I really loved his hands on me, I hate being in his hands. Where is the equality here?
The night is a gloomy extravaganza of self-doubts. WHERE IS THE HONESTY HE UNDERLINES SO MANY TIMES? He is not giving me any explanations whatsoever. WHY DOES HE THINK WE WOULDN’T WORK IN THE LONG TERM? WHY? By not saying it, he leaves the door open to all sorts of insecurities… Is it because I am too hippy? Too spiritual? Too arrogant? Too crazy? Is it because he’s more religious than he made me believe and our differences would have been an obstacle? Is it because he knows I’d like to have a family, and he doesn’t at all? Or, on the contrary, he wants 10 children and has understood that I can’t be the woman to make his dream come true? Have I said something wrong? Have I done something wrong?
My mind and spirit are on turmoil. So unfair that a person can have so much power on us. So I stop, hoping that, being the reasonable and sweet guy I think he is, he will call me the day after.
……Maybe he called one of you, because surely he didn’t call me. Working day over, football match over (A defeat that I’m sure A. was very disappointed about, and that was clearly a direct result for the awful karma he had accumulated by writing me that text. Clearly.), I send him a video. The fourth one I record, actually, because the first ones were just too long and too sad. If he doesn’t give me the chance to talk about it, I want him to at least see and hear me.
I tell him that no, despite his belief, writing me a text is not the right thing to do. The right thing to do would have been to talk face to face about it. I ask him to please, please, please tell me why he thinks we wouldn’t work. If he is so concerned about hurting me, he should know that by being vague he is hurting me ten times more because I have self-doubts jumping at me from everywhere.
“I’m not asking for another chance. I just wanna know why”, says one of Rocky’s songs, and that’s exactly what I want. Just tell me why. I can think of the worst reasons and maybe the truth is simply that he has met someone else on Match.com. Or that he had a girlfriend in Birmingham. Or that he’s actually attracted to men and is living a lie. What do I know about his world? I will accept everything, some things more easily than others, but I’m not here to make him change his mind. I cannot change, if that’s the problem. I’m here just to understand why.
My gut feeling is that, behind those 34 lines of text, there is a lot of FEAR. Fear of how happy we could be together. I just can’t believe that I was blind to his signs. I rather think that we both saw something promising, and beautiful, and we reacted in opposite ways: me, welcoming with my arms open and a curious smile, him, getting frozen in his track.
That night, when I’m sleeping and my mobile is switched off, he leaves me a message where he wants me to understand that I’ve done nothing wrong. “You’ve been great, you are faultless, please listen carefully when I tell you it’s nothing you did or said. It’s entirely my issue. It’s me, not you. I hope we can talk in the next week or so, and I do miss you”.
Well, at least he called me, even if at 1 am. At least I can stop with the self-doubts, that I so not need, thankyouverymuch. At least he says we’ll talk about it. But the “it’s not you, it’s me” is as old and trite and my great-great-great grandmother’s wrinkly ass, so I write him again to please let’s talk about it because, again, he’s not telling me the truth.
Before lunchtime he sends me his conclusive, “let’s stop it all here pls” text, where he says clearly he’s not interested in taking things further, and it’s just the way he feels. “It’s the same you or many other people have felt”.
Not exactly, A. I can always explain why I don’t think a man and I are suited. There’s always a reason if I don’t want to see him again. Very often, more than one. And I’m sure you know your reasons. The difference between us is that I tell them. I tell them because I think that there is nothing better than honesty and transparency. Even if I don’t want to hurt the other person, I have to put my feelings aside when this other person is asking me for clarification. Twice. I tell them because it’s my way to show respect.
He concludes by saying that he doesn’t think it’s useful to talk about it, and so he’d be grateful if I could respect his decision.
Funny he asks that. Does he know how grateful I would have been if he had respected my requests to being given some explanations?
Two weeks have passed since then. Curiously enough, I feel worst now that at the beginning, when I told myself I had had my (brutal) closure with his crystal clear: “I’m not interested in taking things further”. For the last week I’ve felt some anger mounting up for all the things I’ve been denied here: explanations, clarity, honesty, the possibility to express my voice and playing my role. And, of course, and once again, I’ve been denied a happy ending.
A friend of mine pointed out that yes, some explanations would help me move forward more quickly. If he’s met somebody else, tough shit. If I’m too intense, I cannot change. But if it’s everything born out of fear… That’s what I wouldn’t accept. Being afraid is the worst crime we can commit towards ourselves. We end up mutilating ourselves, we condemn ourselves to small horizons just because we are afraid to fly far. And I would like to help him not to be afraid. Especially not of me. Not of us.
Was it fear, A.? Is my gut instinct right? I can be patient, and understanding, and sweet. If you only had opened up with me, things might have gone differently. I could have been delicate, I could have taken things even more slowly. You only had to talk to me, A…. What a shame, and what a waste, in a city where you meet many people but where you rarely get this connection.
….And just when I’m there thinking of all the ways I could have helped him stepped out of his fear, a friend of mine asks me bluntly: “We will never know his reasons, so live with that. Your instinct is that it’s fear, and you say you could have worked with this… But don’t you think that, ultimately, you deserve someone that is not afraid?”
An enlightening question. Funnily, a proof of how much you can get by opening up and sharing with others.
A very direct question, to which I don’t even answer. It pierces all the layers that wrap this story, going straight to the core that really matters.
I look at her, stunned. Even my restless legs stop in their never ending movements. I breathe deeply. Smile bitterly. I sigh. I nod. I bite my lips.
And I know what to do. Now I know I can only move on.