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" New Years Even | 2008 | Hello, My Future Girlfriend "

01.02.08 11:59 a.m.

A monk can be very gentle, very peaceful, while there are no hard words to assail him. But when hard words are directed at him, it is then that he must be really gentle and peaceful.  

-Majjhima Nikaya



Emily calls furious with me for including remarks others have said about her and which aggravated me in a previous entry. While some of it could be productive, to bolster the ego of the dumped, it quickly reached a threshold where I had to defend and contest the ridiculous characterizations being cast upon my previous lover. Emily did not see things at I intended them, which might just mean that I was inarticulate in my deep pain. As I could barely manage to maintain homeostasis, forcing myself to sleep and clean as I would force a person in my situation, it is unlikely it represents my most lucid work to date. Even as I posted it, I thought of a dozen other things I had previously felt it crucial to include but which exhausted me with the slogging of revisions. I wanted that information out of me and into the ether of the web, where it could stop gnawing at me. And instead, it caused the woman chanting her adoration for me only seventy-two hour before to yell "Fuck you!" at me over the phone and tell me that she has never before been so angry with another human being.

I tried to be understanding, even as she screamed. I tried explaining my intentions and the context. She told me that she almost didn't confront me with her anger, because she worried I would seek vengeance on her by tossing her cats into the street. I couldn't quite believe she would think I was capable of such a thing. I have acted out of love or pain with her, but not anger. People tell me that the anger will come, and I don't know that it won't, but I hope to be secure enough in my self and ethics that I will try to communicate my feelings in a way that will allow me to live with myself tomorrow. She is suffering and I only want to be compassionate for her. It is difficult to express my love and compassion for her when she tells me that this ends any chance of a friendship between us and, after she starts to hear that I truly didn't write anything I thought would hurt her - let alone prey on her every insecurity - relents that she doesn't want me to call her for a while. When I tell her I don't want to end this conversation like this, she hears that I don't want to have this conversation now, the antithesis of my meaning. I need to talk. I need some resolution and for both of us to be okay.

I wrote her the following letter, titled "Read this when you are ready", because I had too much that I couldn't keep inside of me until she called:

I am finding it understandably difficult not calling you when I know you are upset with me, but I am doing my best to respect your wishes. As I've said before and as I will keep saying, I love you. Even though you hurt and shocked me by leaving me, I love you and I am not going to stop. We have been through too much together for me to do anything else but see you for who you are and truly, honestly, and completely love you. In the offending entry, I talk about this, how I have delighted in boasting about you and how I see you as a singularly amazing human being whom I am privileged to know and how much it hurts me to hear people speak against you. When I told you to take your furniture and sever our insurance and phone entanglements, I was not being fair to you. I was deciding for you what would be best for you and it caused you obvious pain. I will try not to make such presumptions again. I am not going to intentionally do anything to hurt you in the least. Ever. As we put in our handfasting vows, we will hurt one another from time to time. Even people who have loved as we have will hurt one another. But I need you to understand and truly believe that I have not and will not do anything to hurt you if I can help it. I would never, ever hit you (you saw how the mere thought upset me). I would certainly not put the cats out on the street because you confronted me with your anger. Pye is cuddling against my leg as I write this. I adore the cats and I love you. More importantly, you love me and have for seven years. If you must try to predict my actions, try to remember me as someone who loves you and wants to protect you, someone who considers himself a part of your family. I am not angry with you, just profoundly concerned and understandably hurt. I am not a monster. I am a better man because of you and, though I am wounded, the benefits your time with me created are not going to disappear because you are no longer in my bed. You know better than anyone else the measure of my character, you have loved me warts and all. And, while my being a bastard might make it superficially easier to leave me behind, I am not one and won't be. I want this to be as amicable as possible, I want to always be a cherished part of you as you are of me. I love you and I hope that you are always surrounded by people who give you what you want and need on your journey. When you want to talk, I am around and will be eager to hear from you.

She responds by that night, which I get after working out my frustration in my school's fitness center with my coworker, telling me that she is "incredibly hurt and disappointed" and needs time to work through all this, that she appreciates my concern but that she is fine. This is good enough for now and I tell her she is welcome to whatever time and space she needs. Certainly I was not stingy about allowing this when I had any say in the matter, I won't start badgering her now.

I discussed this with friends and they just warn me to take care of myself in all this, which I feel I am genuinely doing. They tell me that they don't comprehend her anger, that I am the one caught off guard, whose life shattered in the course of an hour by Emily's plans. As has become my mantra in all this, I want to be Emily's friend but I need to be mine. I am taking very good care, surrounding myself with friends, family, and delightful strangers whenever possible.

All the same, I keep thinking too much about everything. Like, if the conventional mythology is true that we regenerate all of out cells within a seven year time span, I am a totally different person than I was before I met Emily. In a way, this iteration of me has only ever existed with Emily in its heart. And what am I going to do about things like vacation? And Valentine's Day? When I don't think and analyze every moment, I can be almost normal, but every quiet moment not spent typing lends itself irrevocably to introspection. Even more so now, I want to have a plan for every eventuality so I won't be blindsided. Immediately after Emily left me, I told people that I wished that I drank or smoked because it would be a relaxing destructive behavior. It took until I spoke to my friend Jill to realize what I actually meant was that I needed something that forced me out of my head and into my body, though she tacitly suggested this could best be found between the lips and legs of new women. Doing that feels disingenuous to me and more than cruel to the females I would be using to anchor myself again, so I will demur.

I think Emily is internally stressed well past her breaking point and endeavoring upon something I would not advise, but I have too many wonderful memories of our times together to consider her anything but a fantastic, if busy, girlfriend. Still, I don't know if she understand how hard it is not to call her every night to wish that she has wonderful dreams, to have her words of love echoing as I put in my ear plugs, how I have to take sleeping pill every night since she left me not because I worry about going to sleep but because I hate waking up from pleasant dreams of her into a reality where she has even removed the hooks on which her house keys hung.

Soon in Xenology: Coping. Warnings and threats to people I've yet to meet.

last watched: Juno
reading: The Great Gatsby
listening: The Moldy Peaches

" New Years Even | 2008 | Hello, My Future Girlfriend "

Thomm Quackenbush is an author and teacher in the Hudson Valley. Double Dragon publishes four novels in his Night's Dream series (We Shadows, Danse Macabre, and Artificial Gods, and Flies to Wanton Boys). He has sold jewelry in Victorian England, confused children as a mad scientist, filed away more books than anyone has ever read, and tried to inspire the learning disabled and gifted. He is capable of crossing one eye, raising one eyebrow, and once accidentally groped a ghost. When not writing, he can be found biking, hiking the Adirondacks, grazing on snacks at art openings, and keeping a straight face when listening to people tell him they are in touch with 164 species of interstellar beings. He likes when you comment.

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