It feels like I’ve lived my whole life balancing on lines, swaying every which way with just the slightest touch of breeze. Each side feels like such ultimatums, equally exciting and fantastic as they are dangerous.
My mother also navigated these lines, a minute by minute Cirque du Soleil as walked the tight rope. But the longer you stand, the weaker the threads become, and she fell to the side that I would be engrossed in – the side my father commanded. He engulfed her and I with love when he was sober, but too often he wasn’t. I hear his words, dripping in venom and such, such cruelty. I see his eyes, how they would turn red like a bull with a snap of your fingers, on such a whim that you could never prepare. I feel his hands on me.
God, I still feel so much fear.
Whatever happened, I wouldn’t fall to that side. I would never allow myself to be trapped. I would never allow myself to become my mother. You see, love became a double edged sword. I learned the lesson growing up that you could only receive love with pain. I didn’t trust it. And to be frank, the times I did try to engage with it did its best to fortify my opinion. I didn’t know if it was for me.
But E, you weren’t like that. I knew you weren’t. You are sweet, funny, smart, and so handsome. We quickly became close friends. How could we not?
I realized soon that you liked me. You didn’t hide it very well — I was much better at that (until I wasn’t). I knew I was dragging you on, but things felt so perfect the way they were. You see, I had finally found were the line was the tightest, stable and safe. Here, I could balance between the two sides, between the will and the won’t they.
Before you left to go back home for a few months, you asked me if I was ready for a relationship. I said I wasn’t, I said I was still scared of men. That was true, but only partially. I was scared of myself. You were so sweet, so perfect, and your last relationship had been hell. I saw what it did to you. You are too sensitive for your own good, and don’t worry, so am I. But god, am I mess. Emotional and panicked. Depressed and confused. How could I put you through that? My issues color the most intimate parts of myself, parts I desperately wanted to keep in the dark.
I was so, so scared of letting you see that. But love only comes when you are willing to live in fear.
I told myself that when you came back, I would confess. But you didn’t come back alone. She’s fantastic by the way. Gorgeous. Independent. Smart. You got someone you deserved, and I am happy for you.