I have closed one door over and over.
This particular one was The One, except that he wasn't, and was my longest, most important relationship up to Nick. In fact, at this point I've known him longer than most people in my life ever.
There's been enough hurt passed back and forth to fill the Grand Canyon, if hurt were solid and tangible. And I have shut the door between us so many times.
I cannot be friends. I feel like I ought to be able to, but I cannot.
We had so many final-final goodbyes. So many times I steeled myself for it to be the last conversation, the last email, the last anything and everything.
I mourned the end. Multiple times. And finally, after the end end, was proud of myself for moving forward. This post, about time being the longest distance between two places, is one of the realest things I think I've written about it.
We spent so much time post-relationship in that confusing, nebulous space of spending too much time together and thinking that because that part was good, it meant it would work out in the end. Or anyway, I thought it would work out.
I don't know why. I've asked myself this approximately 372 times, and my answer is still the same. I don't know. Perhaps because in the beginning it seemed like we were supposed to?
So in the last couple years I've really, really worked on myself. I've gotten past some huge, heavy things. Not like stones in your pockets, encouraging you to Virginia Woolf into the current, but still weigher-downers. The kinds of things that prevent you from being able to offer and accept a healthy version of love.
And so I think I'm pretty close to healed, almost fixed, and very self-aware, and blah blah blah.
But what I've discovered this week is this. You can close doors and think they're closed. You can move forward. You can be really, really happy in your present.
In fact, you can have a present you never thought you'd be lucky enough to have, and the plans for a future together that you wouldn't trade for anything.
And yet a friendly email from behind this closed door of your past, offering you stuff that you left behind, which was found while moving, can still kick you hard in the stomach. Can still leave you sobbing, absolutely turned inside-out sobbing, on the floor.
Which you can only do in the downstairs bathroom for so long before your absence is questioned.
The guilt of crying in response to an email from someone very significant in your past but not part of your current life does nothing to mitigate your hysteria, incidentally. It only makes you cry harder.
You feel like a jerk. And you don't really understand why you're crying.
Is it that you just stopped contact one day, but never really dealt with it? Is this the final mourning?
Is it the fear of never having been important in the first place?
More terrifying, is it that if that person, the one who, until Nick, loved you more than anyone ever had, and who you believed was always, always going to love you, could stop. . .well, then is it possible that the one you intend to marry, who says he will be forever ever ever, might stop loving you one day as well?
You wail this fear, because it is real and present. You're practically incoherent, but it gets across. You are assured this is not the case.
And then, later and calmer, you wonder if maybe partly you really needed a good cry, and this was the perfect catalyst.
If you are me, sometimes it's very hard to tell.
In the light of day, albeit with huge swollen eyes and a fragile ego, I can say this one positive thing. I used to cry like that at least once a month, if not more often. In my really bad strung-along year, I cried like that just about every day.
And this? Was all new to Nick. He'd never seen anything like this from me.
In fact, I've not been this hugely upset in a year.
I think it's progress.