Letting In

Monday, July 15, 2019



It's the moment I realize I'm more changed than I thought.

He shook his head at first, and then looked at me.  His friend's outstretched hand held a cigar.  "I know you don't like these," he said.  But he does, and he was saying no. "It's fine," I said. "Seriously, go for it."

After dinner one evening, we walked by a cigar bar.  The smell poured into the street and I waved my hand in front of my nose.  I mumbled I couldn't stand the smell.  Days later he remembered and in the comfort of his own backyard turned down something he enjoyed...for me.

Staring at him, just a few feet away, he blew the smoke out of the corner of his mouth turning his head away from my direction.  I moved closer and kissed him.  He apologized and I shook my head, unsure why I thought he'd never looked so irresistibly attractive to me, even while doing something I wasn't a major fan of.

As I found my way back to my seat, I recognized the uneasiness as something I'd been feeling lately.  It was the same confusion I felt earlier in the evening when he lowered the spice level on his Thai food. Or when he double checked that it was okay to go camping without me. Or the night I thought I was sick and he stayed up with me and continued to stay up to watch over me when I finally did fall asleep.

The question I kept asking myself was, why is he doing that? The simple answer is that he was thinking about me.  And I don't expect anyone to think of me.

The thing that movies and books don't tell you about love falling apart is how it changes you.  There is far better love out there--they've got that story line nailed down--but they don't talk about how your sense of trust is broken, almost skeptically so.  The person you were before you fell in love for the first time is jaded, even though you don't want to be.  It doesn't matter that you've moved on and are ready for the next adventure.  There's still a visible scar left from the last tumble. Falling again isn't as easy as the first, even though the next person deserves it so much more.

As I leaned my head back and looked up at the stars, I felt a twinge of anger that the past can still hold so much power over who you are.  I was mad that I didn't know how to accept someone else's kindness without wondering what the motive was underneath.  I was mad that I set the bar so low.  I was mad that I ever let someone forget me. I was mad that I no longer trust easily.

An hour or so later, his friend offered him another cigar.  This time, he turned it down without looking to me and, instinctively, I knew if I wasn't there he would have enjoyed another. I leaned into him.  He pulled me closer, where I remained for the rest of the evening with my head on his shoulder.

I'm not who I was before, but maybe that means I'll be open for far more meaningful experiences.

5 comments

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