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Part 4 Placeholder - It’s not right, but it’s okay.

And here comes my phone ringing, it’s him.

He spends hours going over his thoughts and feelings of loss and hurt about us since the last convo.

I’m listening.

He’s thought about it and I had every right to be angry and the broken glass in his apartment was only a reaction to what he had done.

I’m listening.

I feel like I’ve made a mistake.

I’m listening.

Can we work on finding our way back to each other? The cabin is still ours. Let's go tomorrow and talk about reconciling.

My dumb ass trades out my Charlotte bag for the Cabin bag.


The next damn morning. He calls to tell me maybe he should stay for his child’s game, and by the time it’s over it’s going to be really late and too dark to get into those woods. Maybe we can meet up afterwards to talk. As we are video chatting I switch out my bag again. He asks what I’m doing, what am I thinking? I’m really pissed cause these games have been on our calendar for weeks and definitely before any planning of this cabin trip. He told me when he booked that he planned to skip the game and explained to his child he would make the next one the following weekend. So, I tell him I’m headed out of town for the rest of the weekend to think and will call him when I return.

I called when I came back into town as I was near his exit. We meet up and it’s hours of him talking about his past relationship drama and how he just can’t seem to get any of this right. Then he tells me how he would be repeating history. Apparently many years ago he was all ready to move forward, living with and planning a wedding with his soon to be second wife, but had to go and divorce the first one causing a small hiccup in the plans. MAN WHAT?!?! I never knew this and surely didn’t think to ask. And it turns out he and the current wife don’t even have a legal separation agreement!

Then he says something to the effect of I can’t do to you what I keep doing to her. I’m sure I didn’t hear him correctly so I ask him to repeat “I can’t do to you what I KEEP doing to her.” Yup, presence tense. Damn and wow. I know this is over and for the best.

The next morning as I sip coffee in his kitchen and he cleans out emails, We’re chatting about the upcoming day, and what to do about the plans/tickets we had made together. He notices my body coiling (it’s a reaction I try my best to control in public, but I’m in a place that was once home and safe) “babe you’re tensing up.” As I leave, he books me a massage for that evening after I’m done with work.

That week I’m trying my best to pívot my life, starting with the upcoming holidays, and the birthday plans he had made for us. And every few days there’s a message, link to a special song, playlist or video chatting to tell me he misses me. I do too, well the assured person he portrayed himself to be. I still don’t fully know who this current guy is with the uneasy energy who keeps contacting me.

Weeks continue on and my anxiety has fueled panic and depression. So I reach out to my therapist for tools, but first we gotta deal with some grief. I can’t hold down food. He’s still calling and coming by to check in and volunteering his wife’s travel agenda with his child and how upset he is still to be so far away from them for an extended period of time. None of this matters to me, I’m trying to replan my life. And here he comes “babes maybe you’re pregnant!” I’m telling him that’s not happening. He’s excited talking about how much hair and love our child would have. I’m still telling him, that’s definitely not happening. He’s not hearing me. Two days later he’s panicking asking me to please not be pregnant, that’s too stressful. Believe me sir, that’s not happening.

But I still can’t hold down enough food and now I’m losing weight. I can’t sleep at night and can’t stay awake during the day. I’m not only in emotional pain but physical pain. None of the mantras or mudras can help me. In a panic, I email my therapist and she's calling with explanations* and resources.

(*LivIng in close proximity and in an intimate way with someone. Your heartbeats actually regulate when you're asleep. Your cortisol levels line up — your morning and evening cortisol levels. Your respiration rates sometimes align. Now when a partner leaves, your brain and your body really notice it, on a subconscious level. Your cortisol levels go way up. They're sort of like, "Where's my mate? Where's this person who I'm used to regulating with? Something's wrong." These alarm systems go off in your body, because your nervous system suddenly feels like it's under threat because you're alone.)

I’m feeling unsafe and under attack. I’ve been under attack and hurt in the same spot over and over throughout my life, the spot is tender. Just when I think I’ve healed and processed grieving, I’m hurt again. It’s happened too many times and my system is shutting down and possibly even a nervous breakdown. She wants to be proactive and schedule extended leave from work.

I’m directed to fill out insurance forms.

He’s still sending songs, links, playlists, video calling and contacting as he makes random decisions. I don’t have much input. I’m tired and weak. He’s bringing me homemade soup and attempting to convince me to let him take care of me til I’m better. It’s not a good idea and honestly I don't know which guy is presenting himself in these conversations anymore.

“Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave”

Then after family functions or outings with friends he’s coming to tell me how life is different leaving those experiences and not coming home to us. A place that now reminds him of me with the touches and changes I made over time. How much he loves me and wishes we could be together. I get it. But all I can do is listen.

I get my ass out of town for Thanksgiving to clear my mind and I’m feeling good. I think I’m going to be okay. Then I return home to a package, a “for couples experience” with the works he's ordered. I toss the boxes in the closet, but all the memories and plans we made come rushing back. We talked about making a conscious decision to love and be loved by one another. We were meticulously planning a future together, how do I undo all those plans in my head and my heart?

I push on with the help of therapy, friends and my winning support system.

We went to dinner and an intimate concert that he had planned months prior. He’s commenting on my change in emotion and invites me to join him for Christmas in Central America. He’s been on his own leave from work with no plans of returning any time soon and it’s really tempting as he talks about eating street food, dancing and drinking on rooftops and exploring everything I love about travel. And since I’m taking leave, let’s take our time in returning. My brother calls it long-suffering, but I’ve finally built enough resolve to say no, plus I’ve made my own plans. Then here he comes talking about well maybe he will just go from there to South America to see his kid. I’m going to guess this was already well in the works anyway. What if I had canceled my plans and said yes? Did he ever even intend to spend the holidays with me from the beginning? What about all those plans and money spent for my birthday celebration? How was that supposed to pan out?

Then quickly, we’re in the Christmas party season and I’m in his neighborhood for a friend's gathering. He knows it because these events were on his calendar too from when we would share schedules for planning. And of course he contacts me to meet up. I do, but it’s different. I’m hurt but numb. He asks if I still plan to go on with the plans he made for my birthday away. I do and I did, without him.

“O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”

Eventually one day of talking, he notes that he realized that much of the time we talk is when he reaches out. I agree. Cause, what could I be reaching out for? I can’t fight for a man that was never free to be with me. And after what I’ve learned from the streets since our break up about even more wreckage he’s left behind with this same cycle of mess I’d be a fool.

I did not move forward with the leave of absence, but I know it’s an option if necessary because some heavy stuff has been triggered to work through. I deleted all of the remaining calendar events and removed him from my social media.

The calls decreased.

The texts became less frequent.

My life goes on after the Starr Spangled Shit Show, so many before mine have and many others after me will.

I read a quote by Maya Angelou “Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.” I’m building up to that as well.


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