Friday, June 3, 2011


I escape to my favorite used bookstore/cafe before Roi comes home, literally shoving things into a bag, throwing on something easy, raking a brush through my hair. The need to be somewhere else, anywhere else, is overwhelming. The why is unclear. Is it that I won't be able to meet his smile? Or is it that I can't say anything without the hurt coming through, can't stop the way it mutates into anger somewhere between my heart and my teeth?

Traffic is slowed by the farmers driving their tractors between fields and I wonder if that life is a happy one for them. Imagine the annual cycles of growth, harvest, decay and daydream about the lessons the earth and sky must teach them. The world is blooming and I roll down the window to let in the sun-warmed breeze. 

At the cafe I'm settled into a corner with my tangerine-ginger iced tea and work, for once, is flowing. It has been weeks since I could focus. I ignore the aging man with a wedding band who doesn't bother with discretion as he hungrily takes me in once, twice, trying to get me to meet his eyes so he can flash his rehearsed smile. I give him nothing. I've heard men say "older" women are too jaded to date. One man's jadedness is another woman's wisdom, I say. 

"Love!", the familiar exclamation sends my stomach into my knees. It would be wrong not to raise my eyes, an act of war I'm sure of it. My smile is anemic, I know, but it's the best I can do. 

"I thought I might see you here", he says cheerfully. It's a lie.

"How?", I ask. 

"Because we know each other", he replies. 

"Well...I didn't know you would be here", I retort, retaliating against his play. 

He continues the game of make-believe, the good-guy, the pulling the blanket over his head I-can't-see-you-you-can't-see-me trick. 

It's a cruel turn the Universe gives me, Roi stopping here on his way home. It is also a loud declaration that even after a week away he is stalling getting home, getting back to me. We are both avoiding, unmistakably, the other, so why must he pretend that it is serendipitous and lovely?

"I have a gift for you", he says. 

I walk with him to his motorcycle, him chattering on. He prefaces the gift with, "you probably won't like it" as he always does and is always right about. Two Christmases ago he handed me a box in front of family, assuring me that I probably wouldn't like it but he liked it so he got it anyway. It was a vintage rabbit fur coat, a horrendous patchwork thing that dropped a shocked and awkward silence over the room. A gift not chosen out of carelessness or even ignorance -- to say, "I know you probably won't like it" contradicts ignorance. 

I can't look at him. I try to find what I once felt, try to remember when seeing him was a light in my bones instead of lead, dig deep for some reserve of love to tap into, just enough to at least pretend because I'm so practically not ready to leave and the minute the reality hits him that his hold has slipped, he will punish me. I fail and fail and fail. 


  1. Your pain...I can feel it through your words. Hugs.

  2. That last line makes me a bit afraid for you, your heart. I feel your pain as well, have walked it and as you eloquently stated, held it somewhere between my heart and teeth.

    I'm thinking of you and sending strength.

  3. You are intelligent and I think you can play the game. You can be sneaky, you can wear the wolves clothing in order to protect yourself and it has nothing to do with trying to find the love that once was. Doing that is probably dangerous, because you will get caught fumbling. But I know you, from this blog, and you won't get caught tripping while acting 'as if' in an attempt to survive. Put on your game face for interactions with Roi. Make the decision and map it out in your head. This is no different from leaving a physically violent man- you have to have a plan and you have to get cunning.

  4. SS - thanks darlin.

    GG - I worry for my heart too. The energy it takes to protect it in this situation is overwhelming.

    Kelly - That's what I'm wishing for, that I could find that cunning. Intelligence isn't helping because my emotions keep getting in the way. I can't help but show them no matter how hard I try to pretend or shove them down.

  5. Briar, the only time I've ever been able to be cunning has been when things directly affect/could have an effect on custody. It's the only time that something matters more to me than my stupid heart and my attraction to my ex.

    It probably makes me one of those conniving bitches, but I am as methodical as a chess master when it comes to that stuff.

    I'm sharing this in an attempt to say, I don't know how to do it, either. The only way I got out was in a blink of an eye. God (my personal HP) gave me the intuition to see the out and I took it. Just keep praying for God to give you the right words, and strengthened intuition to see the signs and sense and open doors, maybe? So that you never miss a beat and you can slip out on the rest. (Musically speaking, that is.)

    My out literally happened in an unplanned afternoon. Jermaine wanted to take my less than 3 week old, breastfeeding infant on the Houston metro bus, without me (w/o money), to the mall. I told him no. My mom was planning to come get me to take me and Myles to the mall to get baby clothes with gift cards I had received as gifts. He told me no. I called my mom and told her, she said she was coming anyway. I knew that was going to be it. Within thirty minutes, she was there and he was telling me that if I left to never come back and that he would put all my stuff out for them to come back and get that evening. And he did.

    It was the best thing to happen to us, as we've been in this apartment now for five years. In a 1000% better neighborhood, with better schools, etc. And God got us out of there because Jermaine was running around smoking crack and being with other girls instead of being with us, so it was for the best.

    But it happened so fast- so fast. I just had to go with my gut. And I remember knowing as I called my mom and I remember looking at him in the eyes as I told her, Jermaine said that I can't go with you since he can't go on the bus with Myles, I remember choosing my wording just so, so that she would come anyway...and not leave me there....because he was boiling underneath the surface.

    And I know this isn't your situation, but when the time is right, you will know just the same. It will all unfold in front of you. The cunning will just come. The fight or flight will come and you will fight, with your wit and intelligence and you will defeat this.