“I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride; so I love you because I know no other way.”
I often quote from Pablo Neruda. Last Valentines Day I gave Richard a book of his poems and then right after purchased myself the same book. I think he and I have read the book cover to cover more times than either of us can count. I discovered a website that had some additional poems of his on it, some of them are not as published or as popular. I found myself wanting to share them with him and I sent him a few favorites. He wrote me back….
“These poems are impossibly beautiful. Sometimes I read them as though from you to me and sometimes from me to you and sometimes both ways.”
I completely understand what he means. I do the same thing. I read them and sometimes it seems as if they are almost a back and forth. I speak and then he responds. There is a rhythm there that matches our own. That must be why I am so drawn to his work. Pablo Neruda…read him.
I left my blog over a week ago full of confusion and uncertainty regarding where Richard and I would land as we both fell back to the ground. Would we come together once again like scattered pieces of mercury or would we have drifted so far apart during the three long weeks that made up his absence that we were able to stay away from each other.
He came to see me the night after he made it back into the country. I was overjoyed to see him yet I felt a detachment there that I tried hard to hide. I realized that I had distanced myself, I had hardened myself to him. Finally as we sat on opposite ends of my couch talking to each other I admitted how I was feeling. I told him I was detached. I told him that I had made some room between us and I thought it was good for him that I be less needy, less dependent and good for me too. He asked me how admitting that made me feel. Empowered I said…empowered and very, very sad. I feel like I lost a part of myself I told him.
He asked me to explain the empowered feeling and I told him I did better talking about the sad feelings because there were more of those. He smiled at me then…that disarming smile that makes me want to not say another word. The one that reminds me of how I feel and how so much of what it is I am trying to take back isn’t mine to truly take back. That is hard to say and hard to understand unless you have truly felt owned inside and out by another person. It is as if I was trying to play with something that was placed high out of my reach and then I finally got it and didn’t know quite what to do with it.
Richard told me that I was not ever going to see anyone else as perfect for me as long as I had him, as long as I kept him high on a pedestal. His very role in my life lifted him there and here I was trying to tug at his sleeve and ask him to step down when everything thing in my body wanted to keep him right where he was. I told him he was wrong….so wrong. I reminded him that my ability and my habit of taking a man and totally tearing him apart and finding a million reasons why he was not right for me began long before he entered my life. I’d like to give him credit for ruining me for all other men but I can’t. I see it more as my ability…or really as my fear of having one person who is everything to me. There is safety in that but so much danger too. I fear giving my heart and having it handed right back to me. I fear being mistreated, abused…hurt. I can’t get over that. I am finally coming to a place in my life where the fear of all that haunts me is less. It is not filling up as much of my cup as it did before. I am better now. The past couple years have made me better. And now…well, I don’t know what I am going to do with all of that. I don’t know if the past few years of growth and self understanding and acceptance have been all for naught. What can I do with all of that now? Yet…it also makes me wonder if everything I have done in the past couple years has been to get me ready for this. To get me ready for this final stage in my life where I am forced to face all of my demons…both large and small and conquer them once and for all. Oh, I don’t know. Perhaps I just think too much.
That first night back at my house as Richard and I talked I felt something in me break just a little and I realized I was fighting a losing battle. There were really two paths before me. There was one without Richard. I could stay detached and force him from my heart and from my life. I have proven I am capable of forcing people from both. I could allow him to stay there on the fringes of my life and somehow block the color he provides that wants to run into everything I do. Remember those art activities you would do when you were a kid…the watercolor and coffee filter one where it just takes a drop to run across the entire filter and leave it soaked in colors? That is how I feel somehow with Richard. Like I am his filter and his color floods over me and there is no stopping it. So I could accept all of that…keep him there and block the color that has truly lightened my life or I could step boldly off the page and wrap my arms around what I do have of him, what I have left of life, what I have left of me and let myself take as much as I can. I can take as much love and understanding from Richard…I can give as much of myself to him and wouldn’t I be the better person for it? I can find a way to sneak past the feelings that make it bad. The ones that hurt because I only get a small part of his day…I think i am realizing that although I get less of his time I get so much of his thoughts. I never placed as much worth in that as I should have. There is good and bad in that. The good is selfish….because I like being in his mind…in his fantasies, in his imagination and in his heart. The bad side is sort of cut in to two pieces again…bad for L because she is intuitive enough to know that I am on Richard’s mind, that he is thinking of me more than he should and that I am also deep in his heart. And for Richard he has to deal with the fall out of a hurt and angry wife who is aware that there is another woman on her husband’s mind.
And yet…as hard as it has been we have all had moments of great connection and grace that make this bearable for us all.
I think that we have held this together for longer than any of us ever really expected. Although there were times when Richard and I discussed being in each others life for years we know that isn’t the likely outcome. I think something as intense as what he and I share needs to close naturally. I don’t think ownership is something that can just be stopped or taken away. I am not ready for it to be taken away. I am not ready to be set free. It is too easy for him to pull me back over to where he wants me to be.
And yes I know the bad really does outweigh the good. Only when I am with him none of the bad really matters…and isn’t that silly? I know that I am a fixture in his life right now….and even in L’s life. When one of us struggle all of us feel it. L and I have allowed our relationship to become somewhat damaged. It’s been hard on both of us and even though we both know we can both end it at anytime we haven’t. We are going to repair that first….I am going today to visit her and then I am going out to lunch with Richard. We are talking about another photo shoot in October. She thinks we should re-do some shots…so there is progress and then acceptance….and then there is backsliding and doubts….but it always comes back to connecting and understanding and love. I think as long as we have those three components nothing needs to change.
So where am I? Am I owned by Richard. No, I don’t think so. I don’t think it needs a name to be what it is. I am free to date whoever I please and move forward. He is giving me guidance, a steady firm hand and the dominance that I need. He is giving me love and hope and strength and a voice that understands me…all of me. He is also giving me time…as much as he can. And its enough right now to make me feel like I am a true fixture and a necessary element in his life. I believe him now when he tells me his life is better with me in it. I trust him when he tells me that he loves me. All of that sort of snuck up on me and it is the result of the guidance, the steady firm hand..the dominance that I require.
All of that is good. I see all of that as good. Today the scale is saying perhaps the good outweighs the bad. That’s today. And if I have learned nothing from the past couple years…more specifically the past few months it is that today is all that we really have and it is all that truly matters.