Where Is It to Start With?

April 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

What I want and what I can give don’t balance out. That’s what stops me making any moves toward trying to date. I want so much that I would begrudge the giving-back. It’s always been, “Where’s mine? What’s in it for me?” So desperate to find what’s mine that I couldn’t be bothered with anyone else’s. How I can know what I need and not care if anyone else gets it, I don’t understand. I do care. But how can I give what I feel I don’t have? I wanted a lot from Herself, and I offered her nothing. Do I have any more for anyone else? Do I have it for myself? It’s the asking for it I shouldn’t bother about, isn’t it? Except, how do I both give it to and take it from myself? Where is it to start with?

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Tomorrow’s Not Good for Me

April 24, 2012 § 2 Comments

Thinking about Herself doesn’t elicit what it used to. Sometimes it elicits nothing at all. I don’t like it. I could always count on feeling something and having something to say about it. Frustration was the inspiration of my reluctant muse. Now…I have difficulty conjuring her face. She’s gone but I still look for her. I need nothing from her. I don’t even ask the questions anymore. She was the face of what I wanted, though it was only a mask I had put on her. I wonder what she looks like without it, but it will only be when I stop wondering–when I stop caring–that I will know. It will be the time I look at her without wishing things had been different between us, the time I’m not even looking for her. As clinically cautious as I can be with these words, were I to see her tomorrow I would have no control over what I might say. Tomorrow’s not good for me. I’m just not inspired.

Feeling Sorry for It

April 20, 2012 § 8 Comments

Loneliness is best left alone. I was never lonelier than when I was married to someone who couldn’t understand me. I don’t blame the wife. I was barely accessible to myself, much less anyone else. I was lost trying to play the role of husband. As a father I stepped up, but it was difficult keeping on the brave, happy face for them. I am less lonely now, and I am free to honor my loneliness with attention unclouded by the responsibility of upholding a pretense. I don’t love my loneliness or clutch it to my breast, but I can’t hate it, either, as something to be excised like a tumor. It is a part of me, and I am bound to accepting and understanding it, not to ignoring it behind another pretense. Lonely is just one thing I am, and not, by far, the most important thing. As I hope with Herself, I count on coming to terms with it as the means of reducing it to insignificance. Being used to something is no reason to keep it. Growing up with someone doesn’t require me to be friends with them. Loneliness is no friend, but sometimes I can’t help feeling sorry for it.

Not Too Old

April 17, 2012 § 9 Comments

After Herself filed out of his office with our supervisor, I was left to take a bit more thrashing from the big boss. He said to me after the door closed again, “You are too old for this.” I pitied him at that moment: Had he ever felt for someone the way I felt for her? Had he forgotten or long since chalked up love to an immature impetuousity? a phase to go through between this age and that age? Then you get married, make a go of “reality”–grow up. I’m not too old for anything, including making a fool of myself. Did his wife tell him he was too old for that affair? I’m not a child–the birth of my children saw to that–and my needs are not childish. Neither is there a statute of limitations on acquiring them. Am I too old to make a mistake? to be frustrated and to express it? to apologize? Too old for any of that is old enough to be dead. I have burdens enough. Why carry a headstone around?

Don’t Mention It

April 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

The last postcard I sent was when?…last April? Not to her house, or even the mail, but to her work in a book packed in a plastic bin marked GL for Glen Allen with a lot of other books marked the same. I don’t remember what book it was, except that it was one I’d read. On the back of the card I wrote only “She is nothing like you,” a reference to a Frightened Rabbit song, not a person. She wouldn’t know that, but that was part of the joke. I don’t know which card it was, either, except that it was a Quint Buchholz and was cat or book themed. There was no guarantee she would see it–no guarantee she would have seen the other three–but it would be easily found by whoever unpacked the bin over there. Glen Allen receives our branch’s bins in the morning, so I’d be sure the card arrived on a morning she worked. I didn’t sign them–you kidding?–but she, and only she over there, would recognize my handwriting. That’s a long time ago now. I no longer goad her or solicit her attention (though I still want it), for the same reason I don’t mention her at work: I’m supposed to be over her. This that you read is the postcard now. Don’t mention it.

Too Much Hope

April 10, 2012 § 2 Comments

Who my age can I possibly impress? and how? We’ve all been through the relationship wringer. We all have our laundry lists. We’ve heard the lines, seen the tricks. There’s nothing left but being yourself or giving up. I never had a line, never had a trick. My success, though meager, was, at least relatively, honest. Hardly the success I needed, though. Now, I’m tired of anything but honesty, which is hard to find, hard to deliver. I see the guards people put up, recognize many as my own, and I let them have them. What is it worth to try to penetrate where you’ve been sternly told not to go? Nothing, I’ve found out. And the jungle gets thicker as you behave and wait for the invitation that will never come. Who ventures from their own jungle? Who machetes a clear path from their heart to another? Who’s to trust with such a clear guide? By now we know what we don’t want, but what does that leave us? We exclude the faults, one by one, until we’ve distilled the perfect, and perfectly unattainable, person. And there you are: Alone as it gets. Perfection isn’t a goal, it’s a death sentence, a resignation to fantasy as the best reality you can muster. Go ahead–you live that. I still have too much hope.

My Level of Commitment

April 6, 2012 § Leave a comment

As I crawl from under the foot of the self-imposed tyranny of that so-called love and stand erect, I bear myself a bit more comfortably in going forward back into the fray. Flirting has become fun sport, yet remains so only so long as I do not consider the end to which it is often the means. I play much of that sport on the circulation desk at work, with any female patron that can raise my eyebrows. Encounters are usually brief, just long enough to play one point, which can be evenly volleyed to a satisfactory draw or double-faulted. Winning seems undesirable. What is to be won? What do I really want out of this? I want to know that I can hold serve and return one. I want to know that I’m attractive. I want to know that I can express my attraction to someone without eliciting fear or ridicule. I want more–companionship, compassion, sex–but am not confident in my ability to reciprocate. For now, the game’s the thing. It’s my level of commitment.

Where Am I?

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