A Letter to My Lovers
In the beginning, we never imagine the end. . .
You teased me relentlessly about being too young – that one year difference, between still in high school and post graduate freedom, seemed as big as an ocean at the time. But we hung in there for a while anyway, navigating the examined drama of a small town relationship with everyone watching and talking. There were things I needed to know that I still thank you for, like teaching me how to play euchre, drink beer out of a keg and gig frogs. I loved your corn silk hair and bronze summer skin on the fourth of July when we walked from town back to your house. All I wanted back then was to feel special – to belong to someone. Despite our “age difference,” you were patient with me and held my hand. I’m sorry the Navy changed you in ways I’ll probably never even understand.
I’m sorry I couldn’t do/be more at the time; independence was too new and novel for me back then. I wasn’t even ready for the responsibility of a kitten. Even though I never said it, I admired you for making tough decisions that changed you and the way you’d been living your life. You gave up a lot, but you gained something even better (I believe). Thinking back on those early months, you helped me feel safe stepping out on my own and that was a big deal. I’ll never forget the time we ate boiled shrimp that you cooked over a fire pit in the middle of that teepee…the peelings we threw back in the fire hissed and shriveled into oblivion.
You were the absolute best liar I’d ever met at the time. I was totally smitten by your danger, your wild stories, your pleather pants and aging Yamaha – the very things I left you for in the end. You inserted yourself so deeply into my life that I completely forgot where I was going. You inspired me with far out dreams of the future…You made me believe in the impossible…at least for a while. Sometimes I wonder if you ever really got anywhere with those ideas or not. I just couldn’t stick around long enough to find out.
When we met, you turned my world upside down. You introduced me to ideas and things I’d never experienced before. I admired your conviction and certainty about life and how we should all BE in it. You taught me how to care about things outside of my own small world, like recycling, spiders, endangered whales and honeybees. Thank God. You encouraged my creativity and amplified my belief in what I was capable of. You taught me to question reality, challenge the status quo, and to think for myself, something I’d been needing a long time. We went on some pretty incredible adventures and in ten short years, created more beauty than most people do in a lifetime. We were hell bent on changing the world, two idealists on fire, for a while. Two refurbished Volkswagens into the whole thing, it was clear that we both had really big dreams, we just weren’t on the same page with those. And…I think if we hadn’t toyed with our relationship as if it were an interesting experiment, things might have been a little less shaky all along.
The gifts you brought to my life were many…But most importantly, you brought me back to myself after I’d lost my way. I hadn’t given much thought or care to myself for a while and you made me feel like a woman again. You introduced me to Alanis, Siddartha and Ashtanga Yoga. You encouraged me to re-inhabit the body I’d quietly abandoned. You loved me in an easy way. We spent hours under the stars walking and talking until for the first time ever, my spiritual life and everyday life became one. You were the first (and only) person to ever take care of me when I was sick. You may have saved my life a time or two. I would have stayed if I hadn’t been so inspired to experience all of my untapped potential…thanks to you, I had the courage to try.
I’d about given up, when you showed up. You latched onto me as if I’d been yours all along and taught me how to have fun again – I’d almost forgotten. We were never a very good match and we knew it, but we played to our strengths and had as much fun as we could while it lasted. We never talked of the future, we were always too busy enjoying the moment. You were so good at that.
I ignored you at first, pretended that I wasn’t attracted or interested, but you kept asking. People around said you were bad news, but that wasn’t exactly true – you just had a lot of life behind you and not all of it good. In fact, I think you were a little surprised by all the good things that came along when we got together. You were just used to things being difficult. Like even when your secret came out, I stayed when I should have been on my way. I made it too easy for you to hurt me – so easy, you probably didn’t even know it was happening, until it was too late.
In the beginning, I had such high hopes. You were my first “good on paper” guy. We went at it with such intention to “get it right this time.” Our whirlwind romance was fast and furious and over before we knew what hit us. If life were only about having fun, we’d have been fine, skydiving, skiing, dancing and dining. But you were right,… the long distance did become a problem because we allowed it to. Too much wine, not enough time. When I realized it was the end, I wasn’t angry, or sad, I was just so disappointed. In a roundabout way you taught me to want more for my life and more from the people I spend it with. You never really believed in me or my potential, so it was a really good thing that I did.