Sunday, July 18, 2004

I know the exact date of our first conversation, but not the last day we spoke. I could easily address the envelope to send the book I bought him a few weeks ago, without looking up the address, even though it's been years now. But I won't address it, won't send it. He sent a story, for Valentine's Day, in 1998, about a moon and a fairy, and yesterday's response, call it the reentry into earth's atmosphere, didn't surface after rereading the story, the story seemed to be a part of me like the bedtime stories we hear during childhood, our mother's voices vibrating deep in our psyches. When you love so strongly, its as if a channel opens up straight into the soul, and there it stays, whole and untouched by time.

Things happened that neither of us could explain in that couple of years. Things too weird to expect others to believe, like the time I suddenly "checked out" of the kitchen and found myself walking along a country road, split rail fence, examining the scenery transformed by an ice storm. A few seconds later, my family jolting me back into the kitchen. A few hours later, an unprompted emailed description from him matching my vision. Days later a picture of the road emailed, now icicle free, but the place he'd walked, a place I'd never seen, at least with my eyes, never had described to me, but the fence, the trees, the curve of the road, all there as I'd (what? felt it? seen it? walked it? what part of me was there?)

And then there were things we were so sure would happen, things we promised. I broke some promises, he broke others, finally there was this moment I realized none of it was reality. Many parts were very real, but I couldn't live day to day with what we had, souls linked but hands seperated by 300 miles and so many other barriers to anything like a living breathing partnership. I accepted that for who he was, those things couldn't change, but it doesn't mean I wasn't hurt, didn't lose respect. And so I let it drift away, even though I promised and believed we'd always, forever be connected. Said things that were surely hurtful. Didn't say a lot of things which probably hurt more. There were others after me - I don't really believe that he felt the same about them - but I can imagine that those women felt what I did. And I didn't wish for them the inevitable realization that something so precious and magical wouldn't be enough reason to shake free of the ties. Eventually I realized my part, I'd allowed those ties to get knotted that much tighter by filling in the gaps in his life without expecting something in return. It might be the most amazing and vital part of a relationship: the love, the connection, but it is only a part.

So I have a book that I bought for him sitting now buried under some magazines. A drawer full of memories, letters, bits and pieces of his days. A file full of his poems, many written for me. A lingering sadness.
But no goodbyes.

Do you think people are connected in other lives?

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