Thursday, March 8, 2012


Once he broke down into tears as he told me there was just no other girl like me.
Hearing something like that from the one person you want to say it, it's some sort of trap. It's not a promise when he reaches for your hand. It's not a promise when you're leaning against your car and he reaches over and pulls your coat apart, splits it open like a pea pod. It's not a promise when he leans inside and brushes your hair out of your face and looks into your eyes.
It's not even a promise when he promises this is the last time you'll have to have this conversation. Please believe, you may both want to remain hopeful that it's true, but it's definitely not a promise.
It is a promise when he cries with his hands resting on the picnic table without gloves even though it's prickly cold and you feel a bite in your own fingers despite the fact that you're wearing a pair, so you reach over and put your little hands over his big ones and he looks up at you with those brown oil slicks of eyes and you actually return the gaze for the first time since you met that day. You're outside because you didn't want your heart to thaw this time, the frigid temperature is the only thing holding it together. When you touch him, when you look into his eyes, it's over. You're just a puddle, even if you look intact. It's a promise, but you're making it to him and he already knows you mean your promises, so please, refrain.
It's better to be the one not making any promises.
You can believe him later that day-  after following you back to your apartment and having sex with you and then falling asleep until he's got to leave again- when he tells you it's only because he hasn't slept since he last saw you. You can believe.
In fact, you probably should. And you probably will.
Go ahead and believe that he loves you and being around you makes him human.
But maybe keep in mind that he's already human no matter what. The chromosomes just match up, the genetic material. The way he acts, sure it's bad without you, but he'll never be anything other than human. We are still animals. Remember that. Because sometimes you'll wish you could will him to become a wolf or a lion or maybe even a bug you can squash with your shoe in passing. But he'll always be flesh and blood and nothing will change how trapped in human form he'll always remain. Behavior notwithstanding.
Forgive yourself for never knowing if he's really telling the truth or not. It's okay that despite everything you still want to believe every word out of his mouth. It's a pretty mouth. It's a mouth that means something to you. Even if everything he said was only half true, if you always believe him, you've got a 50/50 chance of calling it right.
Sometimes, when things get particularly trying, when he's really feeling low, he'll seek you out again, even after years. Don't mistake this for a change of heart, for love spanning the time and miles in one long connecting stride. He needs validation. He's coming to the person who, when they give it, it actually means something. That's not love. I know, I know. It's something.
It is something.
Try to take it as the something it is and not the something that you wish it would be. Seeing your name in his inbox, it doesn't send him into a tailspin. It doesn't change things. A wave of nausea isn't sweeping over him right now. He's not telling the whole story. Besides, you're a better storyteller.
One day we were at the end of a three hour drive and I knew. I knew we were going nowhere. I started ugly crying as we passed over a set of railroad tracks. I didn't hide it, I wanted him to notice. I wanted him to see what he was doing to me. It's funny how people spring to action when the driver starts getting hysterical.
I told him I wasn't getting on the ferry, he'd have to go to the island without me.
He made me some more promises, so I got on the boat. But, looking out at the water I knew- Even his promises aren't promises.
I loved him as long as he let me anyway. I keep my promises.
And now I keep them to someone else. And it feels better when the other person means their promises too.
So much better.

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