Sunday, June 3, 2018

I've got a tombstone hand and a graveyard mind

The brain feels no pain, isn't that what the synners say? Tell that to anyone with a migraine. Tell that to anyone who's ever struggled to communicate something to another brain that simply won't listen. Maybe the brain doesn't feel pain, not in that way, but...something does. I do. And it doesn't seem to stop.

And the hours spin on, circling. I ponder things I'm letting go, I ponder things I'm still clinging to, I ponder things that may be or may never be. And I have no answers, but I'm caught in the spin. No answers doesn't seem to matter. No answers, no pain, but...something.


And always, always, I circle back to you. And him. And where everyone is now.

Honestly, I don't know why him. Someone asked me once, long ago, why you, and my answer was the same: I didn't know then why you, I still don't. I just knew that right then, in that moment, after everything, I still couldn't completely let you go. And eventually, that someone realized it, and very far away even I couldn't reach him. And yes, that was pain, that was heart-rending, and for what we had--whatever we had--it didn't help. It didn't help at all.

But it happened. It took me a long time to put myself back together. I've done it before, many times, so it wasn't a new thing. But I wasn't the same after. I've never been whole, never, but...I was more broken than I expected. And it changed things. Between me and you, between me and my friends, between me and the world--all the changed. I had changed.

I wasn't as strong, in the newly patched form. I wasn't as capable, and I was definitely more afraid. And I think, back then, you were too, but...I never saw it. Or I did, but then...pushed it out of my mind, because I was dealing with so many other things. And for a while...for a long while...that was sort of enough. That you accepted my broken state, gave me time to heal, let me figure things out on my own...but, as usual, with all our forms of communication, there were things being said behind the words, behind the glances, behind the small expressions of the bodies involved. Somewhere in that two-year withdrawal, of healing and fear and testing my path...I either lost the trick of hearing that other communication, or...we both stopped listening. I'm honestly not sure which.

And by the time I was ready to reconnect, to reach out, to get involved in the world again...whatever we were, whatever we had...had been damaged. I was wanting more; you were afraid to offer; but we both kept circling, circling, communicating in that arcane space between each letter. Caught in the spin.

I realized it first. I realized it, and that realization hurt, hurt an incredible amount. The brain feels no pain, right? But I felt pain. I felt confusion. I felt like I was being held close at arms' length. I felt like I was locked in a pairing that was unacknowledged, that would never be acknowledged. And part of that last, that was my fault--when I was asked at first to keep things secret, keep them close, keep things unsaid...we were in a different place. By the time that changed, that edict was already ingrained. In my mind, it was unchanging, never changing, and by the time it could have...we were already pulling apart.

Caught in the spin. The spin never ends.

And I'm honest enough with myself that I began to resent hearing stories of you playing with others, and never playing with me. That sense of being a broken toy, beyond repairing. Because if I wasn't broken, you'd want to play with me, too, right? Because if I meant enough, I'd be part of the play too...right?

At the time I wasn't seeing the larger issues. Then they were explained, and I understood, I comprehended, but...that emotional pain was still there, circling. You wanted me but didn't want to have me. You didn't want me to leave but didn't want to spend time with me. That's...hard. That's so hard.

And I realized, it was harder than I could deal with.

But...I delayed. For weeks, then months, then years, because...I wasn't the only one injured. I wasn't the only one afraid. And I didn't want to hurt you further, and...still, circling, circling, that innate knowledge that I didn't truly want to lose you. But what did I have, towards the end? Friendship. Friendship I valued, deeply, friendship I still value, but...nothing else. And that nothing else was because you were afraid, and I did get that, do get that, but...the end result is the same.

You wouldn't touch me. You couldn't even give me a hug, a kiss on the cheek. Not even that much. And I do, I do know why, I do, but...intellectual knowledge, I have learned, doesn't pare down emotional hurt. It's one reason 'feelings' currently triumph 'truth' in the American media, because a lot of people are caught in that spin, that trope of feelings being more important than knowledge.

Feelings aren't more important than knowledge. But they are there, and they have weight, sometimes enough weight to stagger. And I was staggering. I had reached the point where I had to stay where I was, mired in hurt and confusion, or take the leap that could lead to greater pain for both of us.

And yeah. Decisions like that suck, they always have. And I'm big on stasis, I won't lie. Stasis doesn't make me happy, doesn't create change. Stasis is less scary. Stasis, antithetical to change. What's the profile say? Great love means great risk...but love anyway.

Love anyway.

And I needed to change. I needed to, I needed to see if I could be more, if I still had the ability to grow beyond my boundaries, if I could still contribute to my own life, let alone any others. And I wasn't doing that by staying in place, afraid to move, afraid to reach out, afraid to change.

I took the leap.

And at first, I thought...maybe, maybe we'd make it through this. There was pain, of course there was pain, in the beginning of after-the-leap. I was remaking my life, I was making different choices, choices that didn't always involve you. And that was scary, too, because so much of my life on the grid has involved you. Circling. Circling. Caught in the spin. The unacknowledged, constant spin.

Maybe it was self-delusion. You'd told me, after all. You'd told me that if I took this leap, if I made this change, you couldn't stay close. You'd have to move me away, farther away than I'd been. And intellectually, I thought I understood that. And, intellectually...I thought we could rebuild, find a new plateau, make a new normal.

But I'm watching you pull away. It isn't that you set me aside, took me out of the belonging box, moved me to the friend That's not it at all. You may or may not have changed my label, but you, yourself, pulled away. You're so far from me now I can barely see you. Pinprick against the skyline, now, and I'm no longer sure there's anything left to rebuild.

So why him? I still don't know. Maybe it started because he didn't have the history that you and I had. He could touch me without reflecting on ten thousand painful decisions in the past, and...I needed that, I needed that desperately. And I was willing to exist on scraps, on small moments, on spare attention, but...for a variety of reasons, all of them painful, you couldn't do that.

And I couldn't live without even those scraps. I needed something. Something.

Forty-seven miles of barbed wire, right? Too right. Doesn't change the pain. Doesn't change the spin. Just changes the speed.

At this point, I feel like I'm no longer standing on the empty plain, hand held out, waiting for a response. I think all I'm doing is standing on the empty plain, staring at my hand. And there any point left to waiting? Is there any point left to reaching out? Is there any point left to hoping?

Maybe not. Or maybe it's just going to take time, and there's still at least friendship waiting. At some point. Weeks, months, years from now...maybe I'll wander back to the empty plain, and it won't be empty any more.

I think I'd like that.

But in the meantime, I'm not standing in place. I'm moving forward. And I'm not waiting any more.

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