“..all my resistance will never be distance enough” – Anna Nalick, Wreck of the Day
This is a sad story. In December 2007, I met an amazing and beautiful man. I was twenty-two years old. Still naïve in so many ways. He struck me – he was warm, gentle, and kind. He was intelligent and creative. Covered in tattoos. Screamed and played guitar in a pretty famous hardcore band. Did installation and graffiti art. We met on MySpace in its glory days, when it was okay to do such things. On our second “date” we took a spontaneous trip to Boston…on New Year’s Eve. This is an excerpt from my blog that I kept religiously (and naturally, privately) at the time:
“We walked all around the city in the freezing cold, then we decided to run, so we ran as fast as we could down the streets, and it was so much fun. Then I felt midnight was close, so I looked at my phone, it was 11:59 and you could feel the energy of the entire city pulsing as the clock struck. We kissed in front of Lord & Taylor. It was incredibly romantic. We walked for the longest time with his arm around me, and it fit and felt so right and good. On the ride home, I kind of slept and we touched hands and wrists and fingers…you know, that little stuff at first feels so intimate. He makes me really happy when I’m with him.
The kiss, too. It was like a movie kiss. Maybe even better. Lights and people and taxi cabs and stars. His hands in my hair. It was pretty sensational…”
When I met him I was smitten over someone else, but when he kissed me on the midnight street (just like the David Gray song) things changed. I became…intoxicated. We had insane fun together. He was vegan and straight edge which meant that the things that most people ingest were things he wouldn’t touch. I admired that he was so different. He knew a lot about things. He’d traveled the world and was passionate and thoughtful. Oh, and by far the best lover I had ever experienced. I marveled over his colorful, tattooed body. He was impossibly sexy and exuded a warmth I’d never known.
The problem was, he was in another world. When I was 22, he was 30. He was elusive, to say the least. We would hang out and hook up, and he would vanish for days or weeks on end. It hurt and puzzled me. But then he would come back, and we’d pick things up again and I’d wonder why I had been so worried. Eventually though, I grew tired of feeling so neglected. When I finally worked up the courage to ask him “where things were going,” with us he gave a slew of gently spun excuses – he was unhappy with his job, going through a serious bout of depression, and as I found out later, a pretty rough time with his ex of six years. He didn’t play any intentional games, I don’t think, but I was hurt circumstantially and it sucked. It took quite a long time for me to get over him. The only way to do that properly, is to carve someone from your life completely.
Three years later, he added me on Facebook. He apologized for the way things ended. At the time I think I was dating a former friend and gallery buddy of his, an artist who broke my heart in the end. We went out a couple of times – as friends – and stayed in contact every now and then. He went places. Central America. Alaska. Ireland. He sent postcards. We went for tea when he would come back from trips. There were times I could feel my desire for him rising but I never acted on it. I didn’t dare to. He was huge risk, one I wasn’t willing to take. Then he had a girlfriend. Over a year passed without seeing him at all.
A couple of weeks ago he invited me (along with many) to a show of his. I went. The sounds were penetrating: Like the end of the world. I had noticed he wasn’t with said girl, at least not according to Facebook. I went up to him after the show (after steeling my nerves) and exchanged small talk with my friend there. I mentioned something about getting in touch or getting together. He said he’d look me up. I got a text from him when I got home that night. A week later, I was getting a tattoo finished and we’d made plans to hang out afterwards. And, hang we did. For thirteen hours. We watched a movie, connected, and talked, talked, talked. The rare and soul-bending kind. We went out in the monsoon to get food, he beat me miserably at air hockey, and we went back to his place and talked…listened to music…got totally lost in each other’s company. It was friendship set on fire which is how I hear things are supposed to be. We flirted coyly for hours before he eventually asked if he could kiss me. Which I loved. And kiss we did. For hours and hours… that was pretty all we did (not without burning desire to do everything), but it was every bit electrifying as I remember.
I left his apartment at 4:30 am on Sunday. I was euphoric. He sent me a very sweet text later that morning, saying it was “really, really good talking and reconnecting, getting to know each other…better than before. Let’s meet again, soon?” I responded in kind – and then he ghosted. That was it. I sent him a few texts over the week and his responses were quite short and disinterested. I said we needed to get together soon, and he agreed. Then I asked him what his weekend looked like, and he listed a fully packed schedule from Friday night through Sunday night. Oh. Okay. I told him to let me know when he’s free, and he said “Totally, you bet.”
Needless to say I was sad. I was high on the feeling when I left him and I began to crumble when I didn’t hear from him right away. This prompted me to read back in my old blog, the entries I wrote during the time we had been seeing each other years ago. Events came swirling back. The same thing was happening again. I was disintegrating. We aren’t even involved and I’m already falling apart. As much as I have “experience” in dating, men don’t typically get under my skin like this. Like, ever. But for some reason, I fell down the rabbit hole. I don’t know how. He’s extraordinary. There was an inexplicable connection that ignited and I had thought, or at least hoped, that it was mutual. Neither of us had seemed to want to end our time together. Suddenly…I’d become invisible, and before I knew it…I was again listening to the same sad-girl songs and crying into my cat’s fur.
Kicking myself that I fell into it again. Almost five years later and nothing’s different. I’m twenty-six now. He’s thirty-four. I would think that everything, everything I’ve gone through during the last several tumultuous, wrenching years would have taught me to lower my expectations, to somehow not be so vulnerable and fragile; to expect so much. I wanted so badly to rewrite things with this man. But I can’t. He’s someplace else and always will be. And it seems dramatic to say, but all I know is how I feel. Shattered.