the futility of leaving men
Afterward, I call Jay from my office. Embarrassed about not being able to contain my emotions. About not being able to carry out any of the promises I make to myself. All I can do about feeling awful is cry. I sit on the top of my desk and pull my knees in tightly against my chest. Pray my office mates aren’t coming in or have already left for the day.
We go over what happened, and he fills the unusual role of being the calm and supportive arm in our relationship. I tell him about the conversation-cum-argument that’s reduced me to this – sub-human and flailing. This is what I hate most of all – uncontrollable emotional states.
It all started so simply. I led with my case: I don’t understand what you want from me. It was the response, I suppose, that I wasn’t totally expecting. He wants exactly
what I always give and doesn’t see the need to give me anything in return. Like always, I had to sit through his creation of some metaphysical space that allows us to love one another. Only for him to contradict himself later by complaining that my presence in his life as a melancholy ghost isn’t enough. A relegation to which I no longer desire being a part. There’s real life and there’s what we have
, I said. I think real life has got to be better than this.
What does he want from me?
He wants me to love him. To be there emotionally, as I have been, when he needs me. Why does he love me?
Because I never ask him to do or be anything other than what he is. Because I don’t expect any more from him than he can give. Because I make it so easy. Because thinking about the curve of my waist drives him crazy. Because I make him feel special in a way he’s never felt before. But what does that mean for me?
That question was never answered. And I realize that this situation is no different from any others that I’ve been in. It has less to do with the choice of men that I associate myself with – and more with what I allow myself to do for them – completely ignoring my own needs and stability. The truth is that he will never be anything more than an elusive figure on the periphery of my life.
I’ve never asked you for anything, have I?
, he said, I guess you haven’t.
I need you to please leave me alone. I can’t be in love with you anymore.
We’ll talk again soon,
he said. I’ll come to see you.
No. No, this is the end.
I tell Jules that I meant it. That I don’t want to be at the end of that string any longer. But the truth of it is -- this really hurts. Because I think I’m starting to feel the difference between someone saying
they love you and how they actually behave.