Monday, September 29, 2008

Damned if I do...

So a couple more days went by; I still hadn't written her back. I was still too overwhelmed to get my thoughts in any kind of order. A few days later, I got this:

>you never responded to my last msg.

So I did...and the floodgates opened again. I wrote:

> I know...I didn't. I guess I feel like I've heard
> you say all those things before...all the reasons
> why things are so difficult now. Trust me, I know
> them. I also know that the course we took was
> probably...maybe..the best one to take at the time,
> but I'm still not sure. I still know I'd do it all
> differently if I had it over again, but you know
> that, too.
> I've been thinking about you a lot lately; this past
> weekend I couldn't think of much else, and I had to
> stop myself & shake myself back into reality a
> couple of times. I'm not saying that to scare you &
> I hope it doesn't, but I guess it just says a
> easily you can still occupy my thoughts.
> The last time I saw you remember it? (this entry), I
> really, really tried to take it all as some kind of
> sign...that I was going to be ok & that life goes
> on. After all, what are the odds of me being in a
> coffee shop at 9 in the morning, on the very day I
> was to leave for the movie, no less. And there you
> were...I remember hearing your voice while I was at
> the counter, and knowing it was you before I ever
> turned around...and I remember exactly what you
> looked like, and how I stood there with coffee
> running down my hand from where I'd sloshed a little
> out the side but I didn't want to wipe it up & I
> hoped you wouldn't notice. I remember you seemed
> like you were disappointed in me for what was going
> on between me & your brother, and how much it still
> stung me to know that I was somehow making you
> unhappy with yet another of my actions. And I
> remember leaving that day & telling myself that it
> was some sort of final test that the universe was
> putting me through, to see if I was man
> enough to go do what I needed to do to follow my
> dreams....until I remembered later that I don't
> believe in that kind of stuff. or maybe I do...I
> dunno sometimes. I know I believe in you....
> I'm not even sure what I'm trying to say now, I
> guess I'm just trying to put everything in
> perspective. I don't have any idea what your
> day-to-day life is like or how you're getting along
> in your relationship, but I'm hard-pressed to argue
> with anything that's made it easier for us to talk
> to each other (or whatever it is we do).
> [Annette] doesn't think anything about you, that I know
> of. She knows who you are, of course, but she
> doesn't know all the long history & I'm not really
> convinced that she should. I know she trusts me &
> that she knows I would never do anything to betray
> that, and I wouldn't, but she knows I had a life
> before, and that you were part of that. I don't
> think she'd react like [the boy/girlfriend] about us talking, but
> then again, [the boy/girlfriend] might have more reason to react
> that way. I have to say, though...the statute of
> limitations on her attitude has to be running out
> quickly; you can be jealous for a year or
> two...fine, but at what point is she going to be
> secure enough with your relationship to not feel
> that way? And if she's not, is that really what's
> making her feel that way? And why is it?
> In any case, I'm just really glad that I've been
> able to communicate with you again. I have no idea
> what the future holds, but I'd like the present to
> hold the promise of us at least letting some of our
> guard down & accepting the fact that we are still
> important to each say the least. I don't
> care how it sounds, but there's always a hole in my
> life when you're not in it. I've tried to get used
> to it before, but it's always there...unless you're
> here. I could write & write to you all night, but I
> think I'll stop now....I'm getting better at
> quitting while I'm ahead.
> Love always...always.
> -[x]

The next day:

> i remember
> that day well. i remember that you looked
> good. i knew what you were about to do, thanks to
> my spies
> and jerry. i was proud. i remember thinking,
> finally he's really gonna direct! i remember feeling
> awkward. it was early and you were out! i know i
> came
> down a little hard on you that morning about jerry,
> but he IS my brother. mostly i felt proud of you,
> but
> i couldnt really show you that. over the years since
> we broke up when i see you i instantly feel
> protective of myself. stupid, i know, as you have
> beat
> yourself up for hurting me more than i ever could.
> i am glad [Annette] isnt the jealous type.[the boy/girlfriend] is
> insecure, it's true. i seem to draw the insecure to
> me. i also attract those that detest change.
> interesting, since resiliance and adaptability are
> strengths of mine. [the boy/girlfriend] HAS become more secure over
> the years. she has abandonment issues from her
> childhood. i know you're thinking 'blah, blah,
> blah',
> but i'm just telling it like it is. her jealousy has
> certainly wained over the years. she trusts me, and
> i
> felt it appropriate to limit contact with you, as
> she
> knew how deep my feelings for you have always been.
> there is nothing going on right now to change that.
> things in my daily life are truly terrific and
> happy.
> for some reason this time
> i just felt the flood gates open and went
> with
> my need to communicate with you, right or wrong.
> i wonder about your life. i wonder how things in it
> are going. i must admit it makes me smile
> to
> think you are marrying a musical theatre performer!
> it
> also makes me jealous, and i am certain she is
> better
> than me, more talented, more beautiful, whatever.
> (PS:
> jerry thinks she looks like kara, buti think she looks
> like kelly clarkson, and i know
> you
> love kelly clarkson) [EDITORS NOTE: neither Annette or Kara resemble Kelly Clarkson in any way, shape or form other than they're all hot...dunno where she gets this]
> i am jealous because she gets
> to
> know your friends and go on vacations and BE a
> couple
> with you, which i never got to do with you. i am
> scared to death i will run into [Annette] at an audition,
> or get cast in a show with her. i feel better
> knowing
> she doesnt think of me as 'the one who got away' and
> isnt the jealous type, but every time [someone]
> mentions
> you two i wanna slap her.
> i am very lucky to have [the boy/girlfriend] in my life. she takes
> great care of me. and i get to perform alot, even if
> it is for peanuts. i feel like i have so much ahead
> of
> me.
> i'm sorry, it's early in the morning and i am
> rambling
> on and on. i am not sure my brain is fully awake, but i
> like that we're 'talking'.

I liked that we were talking, too...even though I was technically doing it behind Annette's back...that hadn't escaped me. but what was I doing, exactly? I wasn't cheating on her; I wasn't scheming to get back together with Roxanne behind her back. I know that it would have killed me if I had found Annette saying the same kind of things to somebody else, but...fuck...what was I supposed to do? What would you do?

I just tried to do the right thing, be true to myself, and to not ruin anyone else's life, which is a habit I've been trying really hard to break for a long time. There was a part of me that wanted more than anything to leap through the crack in the door that Roxanne had opened & try to win her back once & for all, all others be damned...but, even though things with Annette weren't exactly storybook-worthy by then, there was another part of me that still felt like this might be some sort of test from the universe (you know, those kinds of things that I don't believe in & yet still allow to fuck up my shit) that I was supposed to rise above & do the honorable thing. So, that's what I did.

Only thing is, now, I realize that the truly honorable thing would have been to simply follow my heart; tell Annette the truth, end it before she could get hurt, and grab hold of the opportunity Roxanne had presented me with, never to let it go again...but I didn't.

And so, that's how it went for a while. Annette & I went on growing aprt slowly but surely, and Roxanne & I kept talking; less intimately, but just as frequently. For a while. About a month or so later, problems started to develop. Not with us, but with her brother, Jerry.

Jerry, one of my best friends in the world, is a beautiful but troubled soul. I'm sure I've mentioned much about it before. He has struggled with drug, alcohol, anger, and emotional issues all his life, and for the past few years, they had been coming to a head. Last fall, after a horribly failed relationship & a series of other setbacks, Jerry hit rock-bottom. Roxanne & I, being two of the closest people in his life, were, or course, drawn deeply into the situation together. And that's when things sorta got weird again...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

True Confessions

So, yeah. After the whirlwind of the previous year, and after all my steps taken towards semi-closure (wanted or unwanted), and almost a year into my new relationship with the woman I will supposedly marry...after all that (not to mention the better part of 2 decades), she finally says it. Then I get this:

>i'm sorry. i probably shouldnt have sent that last
>email. i probably should have kept it to myself.

I didn't know what the hell to say or do. I knew what I should do (nothing), I knew what I could do (probably nothing), and I knew what I wanted to do in my gut (something). I took a while to answer. I said:

> Dont have any alone time to write back today, but i
> will later. Thank you.....

>i completely understand, and appreciate you telling
>me, or i would be worried sick that i had said too
>much if i didnt hear back from you.

Couple o' days went by; I didn't have time to write her with Anette around, and I still wasn't sure what I should say. I figured that, just like everything else I do, I had to just sit down & see what came out. So I wrote:

> > Don't you dare be sorry...
> >
> > Timing. That's all I kept telling myself all
> these
> > years, too. I've never had good timing, I'd be a
> bad
> > comedian. You have to know I still wonder about us
> > all the time...and how things might have been if I
> > was able to be the man then that I am now, and did
> > what I knew I was supposed to. The last few years
> > would have been so, so different, one way or
> > another.
> > Now, here we are, and part of me just wants to
> grab
> > you & shake you & ask why you couldn't have just
> > said those words to me a few months ago, or a few
> > years ago...or anytime, when you know how badly
> I've
> > always wanted to hear them. And another part of me
> > wants to just hug you, and try to laugh at it the
> > irony of it all...
> >
> > It would be so nice to have the last couple of
> > decades & all we've been through finally all make
> > sense somehow, wouldn't it?
> >
> > I have no idea where my life is going to take
> > me....I think I'm trying to make better choices
> now
> > & some of them seem to be working, but who knows.
> I
> > know that if I ever thought the hell do
> I
> > say this.....well, maybe i just wont say that
> > part...but I do know what i've always known; that
> if
> > we ever had the chance, through whatever
> > circumstance, to start over, that I would do just
> > what i told you before...I would never let you go
> > again. Timing can suck it.
> >
> > I don't know if I should feel bad saying that, but
> > it's nothing I haven't said before, and nothing
> has
> > changed about it. I guess the fact just remains
> > that, while there are certainly some other
> wonderful
> > people in the world, and while we both might be
> able
> > to find some kind of happiness elsewhere, without
> > you, I'll always feel like I'm just settling for
> > something...just like I always have. Now I should
> > probably be the one who's sorry....

And I was. I felt bad...really bad, for the first time in my relationship with Annette. I had my suspicions already on whether she & I were going to make it or not, but it was at that moment when I knew exactly what was going to happen; I knew that I wasn't in love with her. And it wasn't just because of least I don't thinkit was. It was more the fact that, if I really was in love with her in the first place, I wouldn't even have been having that conversation with Roxanne. Which I was. I wasn't gonna do anything about it; I wasn't gonna do the right thing, and follow my heart, and take the opportunity that I had been waiting years for & thought that I would surely never have again. No, I was gonna do the honorable thing...the thing I had committed myself to...the thing that is every man's duty at one time or another: stay in a relationship that you aren't happy in out of some sort of misplaced sense of duty or responsibility.

Besides, it wasn't really an invitation to the dance, exactly. Sure, she finally voiced her feelings about me again after all these years, but she's done that in roundablout ways before, and it really wasn't a huge shock...other than being huge & shocking. But she did say IF we were to find ourselves single again, THEN yadda yadda yadda...and neither one of us were anywhere close to single at that moment.

So, I said what I said & I waited for her response, which was this:

> neither of
> us should be sorry.
> dont shake me and ask me why... you know why:
> timing.
> it didnt work because we werent ready. selfishly, i
> am
> glad to know you still feel this way. part of me
> assumed you didnt anymore. [EDITORS NOTE: WHAT THE FUCK??]
> obviously the choices you
> have been making ARE working for you, on many
> levels.
> you have a beautiful fiance and a career that is
> going
> really well. me too, i have great things in my life
> too. everything happens the way it is supposed to, i
> really believe that. i couldnt say those words to
> you
> at another time because i wasnt supposed to. i was
> very angry with you for a long time. but as i have
> watched you grow, at a distance, i have been so
> proud
> and i cant be angry through my pride. you did the
> best
> you could at the time.
> i only hope you are truly happy. i am genuinely
> pleased that you stopped waiting for me and allowed
> love into your life. i hope she is good to you, and
> lets you be you. i hope journey songs are
> featured
> prominently at your wedding and she gives you a
> whole
> wing of the house you will share together to hang up
> your movie posters.
> we tried... several times. and we are better
> people
> for it. who knows what will befall us in the next 50
> years. i have limited my contact with you the last
> few
> years because of my own anger and because [censored] gets
> jealous of you. rightly so, she was my friend when
> we
> were together. she heard how head over heals i was,
> and ulimately, how heartbroken i became. i
> understand
> her jealousy. i can only imagine what [Annette] must feel
> about me. but, that being said, you have never left
> my
> heart or my thoughts. and undoubtedly you never
> will.

So the night I got that reply from her, I was reading it on my laptop, lying in bed, while Annette was in the shower. I heard her coming toward the room & knew that I couldn't let her see me crying...there'd be no good way to explain that. So I closed the lid of the computer quickly & quietly, wiped my eyes with my sleeve, flipped over on my stomach & pretended to be asleep. A few hours later, I actually got there.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Behind the Lines's been a month now.

The house is still a wreck 'cus I haven't had a lot of time to get it back in order. The first time I went to hang one of my pictures back up in the living room, I found that she had taken my hammer by accident. I did it with a shoe. But, it's my place again...same as it ever was.

I have no idea how to try and condense the last 2 years into a few hundred words...that probably won't happen for a while. I've already talked about why it didn't work out, and that's about the long and short of things. I'm sure there were several amusing anecdotes I could relate, but frankly, I'd feel like I was making light of things if I did that right now, so I wont. It's done & that's that.

I'm doing ok, thanks for asking. I've had my moments, but overall things have been pretty good. It's weird though; this is the first mutually agreed-upon, organic breakup I've had in....well, since Maria, I suppose...and my psyche is obviously not used to it. After years upon years of hardcore breakup drama after drama, I've been having some trouble handling the lack of it in this case. It's like I have a little John Lovitz on one shoulder wearing a red suit & poking me with a pitchfork, going "What are you waiting for...freak out! Do something stupid!", and It's strange to me.'s sad, but I'm ok, and I think she is, too. She's definitely going to be a lot happier than she was here with me, and she deserves that. I just don't like change.

Speaking of which...

(deep breath)

About 6 months after Annette & I moved in together, Roxanne & I started talking again. I honestly can't remember who made contact first, but I'm pretty sure it was her. In fact, I know it was...she sent me an e-mail congradulating me on my, um, engagement. At that point, her brother Jerry & I had not been speaking for several months, and I took the opportunity to ask her how he was doing. We started talking about him & struck up a fairly regular correspondence for a while. We skirted around talking about any actual issues, but it was pretty obvious that we were glad to be talking to each other again.

Yeah, I know...the irony. After all these years, she decides to open up the lines of communication just as I find myself in a serious relationship. I didn't know what to make of it, but I did know one thing; I was going to keep myself well in check. I had made a commitment, and I was determined to honor it for better or worse (although I was already pretty aware that it was the latter by that time), and I wasn't going to let my past derial my future yet again.

At first, I thought that maybe Roxanne now felt 'safe' with me, now that I was engaged; that she just missed our friendship & saw this as a chance to get that back without having to worry about, well, stuff. I didn't really buy that, especially once I realized that she was still keeping our communication a secret from her partner. Not that I'm one to was I.

In any case, I was glad to be talking to her again, of course. I hadn't had much luck having satisfying conversations with Annette yet, and if there was ever anything that Roxanne & I did well, it was talk. The setup was pretty perfect: Annette worked during the day, I worked at home, and Roxanne was working as a receptionist with nothing much to do all day 'cept talk to me. Still, it remained pretty innocent...if a little awkward sometimes because of it.

Right around that time, we were getting ready to have a local premiere for my film. I sent out a mass invite to all my peoples and included her on the list. I didn't think for a second she would come, but I felt I should at least ask. Included in the email was my phone number, which, until that point, she didn't have.

Anyway, she didn't show up for the premiere. Not that I looked or anything...

About a month later, I was on the phone with Elaine, pulling into a parking space at my local Target, when I got a call on the other line. I didn't recognize the number, so I didn't answer it. After I got off the phone, I saw that whomever it was had not left a message. I normally wouldn't have thought twice about it, but for some reason that day I was curious. I called the number. I got Roxanne's voicemail.

I didn't leave a message; I was too surprised. Instead, I took a minute to think, and I did something that I had only done once or twice before in my life up to that point: I sent her a text message. I said something like "I can't believe you call me for the first time in five years & I missed it. Call back anytime." She didn't. I wondered about it for a day or two, but things were busy, so I moved on.

I didn't hear from her for about a week. Then, an email:

> i shouldnt have called you. you gave me your number
> and curiousity got the better of me.

My response:

>It's ok....but curiosity about what?

>i dunno, lots of things. just wanted to talk to you right
>then. why am I doing

I'm hesitant. Is she trying to open some door here? I'm not in a position in my life where I could walk through it, even if I wanted to. Careful...

> Because we've been a part of each other's lives for
> over half of it, and 'cus sometimes we miss just
> talking to each other? I'm not sure I
>buy that, but
>it seems like a good, simple reason, right?

>ok, simple enuff.

(2 minutes later)

>but i dont buy it either. ive been thinking about
>you a lot lately. i wonder about you & annette,
> and i sincerely want you to be happy. i want us
>both to be happy, but that doesnt mean i dont
>wonder about us sometimes. am i making any sense?

>I want us both to be happy, also. It took me a long,
>long time, but I finally came to accept the fact that
>you had found someone that made you happy. It's
>too early to know for sure yet, but I may have found
>that as well. Maybe. That doesn't mean I don't
>wonder about
>you. I have for almost 20 years and
>I'm not real good with change,
> as you know. I guess
>it's just weird for me to hear you say...well, whatever
>it is that you're saying. What are you saying?

> right. i know you're right. we have both found
> people that we are compatible with, that are good to
> us, that really love us. it's true though that we
> will
> always love eachother. i'll admit i think
> about what our life together would have been like if
> we could have made it work. but there is a reason we
> didnt and sometimes i think it always boils down to
> timing for us. your timing, my timing. (sigh) what
> do
> i mean by bringing this up? i have no idea. there is
> a
> reason we didnt work, but i must admit i will always
> wonder what that reason is. (beware of scary
> sentence
> to follow) and IF, for whatever reason, we just FIND
> ourselves organically single again, which of course
> i
> do not expect to happen what with you officially
> getting married and all, but IF that happens, maybe
> we
> should then try again... and see if the timing is
> still off.
> why did i say that? i am not trying to stir
> something
> up, it is just honestly how i am feeling. and what
> was
> rolling around in my head about you last night. i am
> not trying to cause trouble.

Yeah...she said that. Bedtime...more later.