This post has taken a while to write about and as I sit here, I’m still not sure I want to talk about it. Part of me hopes that this will be a cathartic experience, and another part of me is simultaneously choking back tears.
The fact of the matter is that The Giant and I should’ve been in Portland at this very moment. Instead, I’m sitting at home, writing about my interpretation of what happened since his phone call 1-1/2 weeks ago. In all fairness, he said that he didn’t call me to explicitly break up with me; he wanted to discuss a couple of things that we’d been talking about and during the discussion, realized that he did not see a good ending to this, with our differences being too great to be overcome.
That was a Wednesday night and I left for class in LA the following day, completely dazed, confused, and shattered. I felt like the rug was pulled from right under me, just as I’d finally admitted to myself that despite the ambiguity of what our relationship actually was, I somehow, at some point, loved him. Honestly, I knew I had for a while, maybe 1-1/2 months, but was so confused about what I meant to him, what this relationship meant to him that I was admittedly hot and cold. I was flying to LA and was going to address things with the AirBnB guy and that whatever may have started was not going to continue. In a heartbeat, everything changed.
I got back to NYC on Sunday morning. With Sundays having been our long-standing date day/night, I’d asked him to bring two shirts I’d forgotten at his apartment, and we agreed to meet that afternoon in DUMBO, the same neighborhood where we met nearly eight months before. He wanted a hug that I was not going to give him. He had a birthday gift for me that I would not accept. All I wanted was my stuff so I could piece things back together again. He asked why I was always so tough. I told him that it’s what my experiences taught me. Through tears, I told him that I would be fine, because I have to be fine. He got frustrated and said, yea – you’re always fine. I asked who else was going to take care of me, him? No. I watched his face turn red, tears forming in his eyes, and knew this was not easy for him either. I finally hugged him, and we sat there, completely intertwined on that bench on the pier, for almost two hours. He said that he wasn’t sure that this was the right decision to make. I assured him that it wasn’t, but that I would honor his decision. I mustered up all the courage and nerve I had, held his face with both my hands, and still behind sad, crying eyes, told him that I loved him so much more than he knew. After all, what else was there to lose? I’d already lost him.
Let’s put this in perspective. I haven’t told a man that I loved him in about four years, when my last relationship ended. In that time, I focused on myself, my health, my career. Men came and went, none of whom would prove to be significant.
I’m not sure how he reacted to my statement, other than saying he had no idea. He said that through the toughness, there were glimpses of how I truly felt. Later, he would tell me that his own therapist was trying to get him more in touch with his own emotions. So despite his not being a wordsmith, maybe if he was more in touch with his emotions, I wouldn’t have had so many questions? Who knows really. I felt that I was as open, expressive, and demonstrative as I could’ve been without making myself feel completely exposed, but now I’ve learned that however exposed I feel, expose myself a little bit more. Vulnerability isn’t a bad thing; it’s what makes us feel all the emotions, and it’s what makes us feel alive.
We went to dinner that night, and spoke as if nothing happened. He’s good at that. I always feel uncomfortable when there’s an elephant in the room. Prior to dinner, he said that he was going to call me in a couple of days after he had a chance to think about all this new information, and that he hoped I would answer.
Two days later, I received an email from him late at night. He wrote how one of the things he regretted the most was how his brother asked me to repeat my name when I met him last month. I ‘d told the Giant how insignificant that made me, and he wrote that he completely understood. He forwarded me an email from his mother, showing me that she wanted to follow me during the Brooklyn Half Marathon, and to prove to me that his entire family knew who I was, where I was from, what I did, that I ran marathons, and am half his size. Then he asked if I would go with him to get our race bibs. I met him that next day, back in DUMBO, and we got our bibs. As we were leaving, more truths came out that I had to pry out of him. Had I pried earlier, maybe that would’ve made a difference, too? Who knows really.
He knows I have a hard stance on not seeing or communicating with exes after breaking up. How the hell am I supposed to move on and get over him if he’s still around? That hardly seems fair. If he’s not sure of his decision, then that is on him to figure out. I already poured my heart out to him, and don’t know what else I could possibly say. He asked if he would see me at certain events, and I said probably not. He warned me that if he sees me, which he is confident he will, that he will come up to me for a hug.
That would hold true when we saw each other yesterday at the end of the Brooklyn Half Marathon. He saw me, held his arms out with a smile on his face. I looked at him and walked away. I was overcome with disgust and anger then hurt and regret. I texted him later that evening and said it made me very uncomfortable to see or talk to him, even from such a short distance. I said that I didn’t think he understood how heartbroken and hurt I was. And that as discussed, unless he wants to try to sort things out, to please leave me alone. He replied later and said that his heart jumped so high when he saw me, which he knew he would, but then sank so low when I walked past him. He said he knew that I really cared about him but didn’t know how strong those feelings were, and instead thought I was one argument away from leaving him on the street. But he said he will comply with my request and that he ran the race so fast so I would be proud of him. I wrote back, told him that there have been so many truths uncovered recently but that I was not sure that any of these would make a difference to him anyway. I told him that I did and still do care about him, that despite my head telling me to be safe, my heart had already made its own decision, that he’d become the safe haven that I’d wondered if I’d ever find again after so many years, only to be blindsided with this breakup, and have the rug pulled out from beneath me. I also congratulated him on a good race, and that he was officially a runner now.
During my time writing this, a friend stopped by. When he asked what I was doing for my birthday, I just started to cry. We proceeded to talk and walk around the park, and all I can say is that throughout this very nascent ordeal, my friends have been pillars of strength and support. Today, my friend said that The Giant definitely sounds confused and needs to sort out his own shit. Maybe he’ll come around later, maybe he won’t, but that I did the right thing in cutting him off to allow myself to heal.
My birthday plans have been salvaged; on Wednesday, my very good girlfriend and I leave for Oregon. I still get to strike through a bucket-list item: snowboarding on my birthday. She and I went to Mexico last year, went diving and visited Chichen Itza and jumped into Cenotes, so I know it will be a good time with her. I’m hoping by then I will be less emotional, to be honest.
Even though it’s going to be different from what was planned two months ago, I will have a happy birthday, dammit.