I rarely ask people about their tattoos but had to know about this one — it was a weird, wobbly circle guy facing this oblong triangle thing. It sorta looked like this:
My initial interpretation: Pac Man is about to eat a yummy slice of pizza!
I asked the guy (my new nurse friend — we were having lunch together) what it was, first of all, and then what it meant. He asked if I’d read this book by Shel Silverstein and I said that I hadn’t so he summarized the story for me.
A rock is born with a missing piece and spends all of his time rolling around, desperately trying to find it. He meets butterflies and rolly-pollies and other fun characters along the way and becomes good friends with them. They know they aren’t each other’s missing pieces but they still have a really nice time together anyways.
Well eventually, the rock rolls right down into this field with TONS of missing pieces lying around — some of them too small to fit him properly, some too big to fit at all, and then a few that do fit, almost perfectly.
He squeezes the first piece that fits well so tightly that it breaks inside of him, shattering completely. He’s very sad over it and he’s learned to be careful now, so – afraid of himself – he holds the next piece too loosely and it falls right out.
But then finally, he gets it right; he finds another missing piece, one that suits him well, and he knows exactly how to hold it this time so that it stays without breaking.
Complete now (finally!), he finds that he’s rolling around a lot faster — going so fast, in fact, that he’s going too fast to stop and say “hi” to any of his old friends, or even make new ones. He realizes, quite suddenly, that he can choose one thing or the other: his single, missing piece or everything else in the world. And as he’s realizing this, the triangle is changing too.
After my friend delivered the end of the story (I won’t spoil it for you guys), I already knew what I needed to do, but I wanted to give it time, to see if I’d change my mind… I really wanted to be sure.
Charlie reminded me recently that I gave the bunnies away years ago because I wasn’t sure how things were going to change and then, once they were gone, I couldn’t get them back. I gave somebody else up too, someone very dear to my heart, and now they’re gone forever also. So I wanted to make sure with James — he was too exceptional for me to not give it enough time and thought. I had to think hard about chemistry and lifestyle and long-term goals and what I wanted most; what he wanted most, too…
I spent time imagining two very different futures: a warm home with a husband and kids and a family dog or two (although he was more of a cat person) OR an old van filled with books and notebooks and maps and pens and a cooler and a blanket and a jug of water and a bowl of water and Tycho.
I imagined stability, predictability, routine, some affection; or adventure, possibility, independence and discovery — being able to continue learning and changing and exploring freely while making new friends… maybe even possibly meeting someone I could love with the same kind of fire I loved Chris with. I still don’t know if that’s possible, but I’m hoping.
I don’t really think I’ll ever choose either extreme (mom life or van life), but I also don’t know yet; I’m not sure at all, and I don’t want to feel like another person is stuck not knowing with me, riding along and going places they’d rather not just because I’ll be there.
I don’t know where I’ll be. Or how I’ll be. Or who I’ll be with. Or for how long any of this might happen. And the idea that someone loves me exactly this way, the way that I am right now, and hopes that I won’t change too much is too restrictive, too confining for me; I’d rather change than be loved, I think — right now, at least.
Maybe I’ll just stay here: missing that old love, strumming the guitar, and sipping coffee on weekends. Maybe I won’t change very much.
Or maybe not. Maybe I’ll be something else, somewhere else, for forever or a short, long while…
So, wanting to be as sure as I could be, I waited a few weeks.
On Thursday, I realized I still felt exactly the same and I told him. I didn’t text or email the news because I know that’s the shitty way of going about things so I called him and then he said he was driving down from Huntsville. I think he thought he could change my mind, and I worried that he might; this was my fourth time trying to change our dynamic.
It was one of the saddest days. One of those rare days I feel like a villain because I’m causing someone so much pain and can do absolutely nothing to stop it. I was experiencing my own sadness out there on the front porch, staring down at the grass, but I was feeling his too and it was horrible. I hated looking over and seeing him crying because of me; because I couldn’t be who he wanted me to be in order for him to not cry.
He told me not to make him just another one of my stories and I said that I wouldn’t. While I have several reasons for making the decision that I did, I’m only sharing very general ones here:
- a shortage of time and emotional reserves,
- a disdain for feeling kept, and
- my own intuition — this deep, nagging sense that it isn’t yet time for me to build a nest, dig a hole, or settle down with anyone at all; however great, however almost-perfect, however truly kind and truly unique and so smart and wonderful. I’m deeply sorry, James; I hope you’ll let me take you to dinner someday.
- Also, long distance relationships = no. Big fat no. I cried every single time I had to leave Tycho so I’m imposing a 20-mile-max rule (and this, btw, will go into effect in JANUARY when I’m ACTUALLY READY to date again as I’m anticipating things might slow down some by then — I’m hoping to, after eight long years, have my my degree come mid-December but I’m figuring out how to reconcile that dream with my corp gig right now).
Anyways… until then, I’m still here: working full-time, taking summer and fall classes, making music, completing an internship, writing stories, spending time with my everything “it” girl and rolling around and exploring on my own (outside of a van — would be nice, though) while meeting and making the most wonderful friends along the way.