Warning: Even though Naked Wednesday was yesterday, I’m going to get naked, truly naked, and bare something I’ve only discussed with one person ever. I’ve written several poems and journal entries about it, all of which I have burned in the hopes that the smoke would somehow carry this burden away.
I hear a lot of people refer to an ex as The One Who Got Away, as if a relationship with that person was somehow Meant To Be, but Fate made some tragic mistake and things didn’t work out. I’ve never liked the expression, because it always reminds me of one person. I had a dream about her last night, which is the first time I’ve really thought about her (albeit subconscious thought) in years. Maybe the dream was inspired by VB’s post about Frank Warren’s belief that everyone has a secret that would break your heart. This is one of mine, and it’s the one that hurt the most.
I met her in college, while I was still involved in my first official long-term relationship with a girl who lived five hours from where I was. We got along great. I always dismiss the Spark, and laugh at all that Chemistry mumbo jumbo, and I do it because of this girl. If I’ve ever had Chemistry with someone, if ever there was a Spark between two people, it was between She and I.
She was one of the guys, in terms of hanging out. She could hang with the boys and fit right in with her ponytail sticking out the back of a baseball cap and her tee shirt and faded blue jeans. She was pretty, but she didn’t care. She didn’t go out of her way to flaunt it, and that made her all the more attractive. She got every joke I ever made around her, and made jokes where I was the only other person at the table who laughed. She was perfect for me. Fidelity is for morons. I’m a moron.
One night, She and I staggered back to my dorm room after a night of drunken carousing and obscure, dark humor. She had crashed in my dorm, and I at her apartment, several times, without anything physical ever happening. There was no resting of heads on chests or anything remotely indicative that either of us wanted anything more from the other. So comfortable were we with one another that I had no problem telling my then-girlfriend about her, and never detected a hint of jealousy from her about it.
That night, however, She kissed me. I kissed her back. Things progressed until I stopped them, with two discarded shirts and a bra now decorating the floor of my dorm. I said four words that I have regretted ever since. “I Can’t Do This.” She smiled slightly, picked up her shirt and bra, kissed me on the cheek, and said, “I Hoped You Wouldn’t Say That.” and then she left.
I lay there for the rest of the night, wondering why I had stopped myself, wondering what would have happened if I hadn’t, wondering if I loved my then-girlfriend. The next morning, I called her. She didn’t answer. She didn’t show up for the class that we shared. She didn’t return my call. Days went by. The weekend came, and I hadn’t heard back.
I drove out to spend the weekend with the then-girlfriend. I told what happened, and how it made me wonder about the State of Things, and how confused I was. She convinced me that everything would be fine, and that I wouldn’t have stopped things if I wasn’t in love.
When I came back to school, my friends were waiting on me with grim faces. They said that they had bad news. The words ‘Apparent Suicide’ were mentioned, and explanations on how she had been mixed up in some problems that she’d hidden from us…. I wasn’t listening any more. I was too busy throwing up.
Two days later, I received a letter in the mail. It was from Her. She was trying to absolve me of any guilt I might feel. She explained her problems, which had nothing to do with me. And she closed with “You were my Escape, and I tried to run too far. I’m sorry.”
The Police kept the letter, and left me only with regret. And there you have it. Naked Stuckey’s Big Secret #1. Big Secret #2 came shortly after that, but that’s for another day.
So last night, I dreamt that she and I were sitting by the lake and talking about how I never really let it go, and how I would never be truly happy with anyone until I stopped comparing them to her. I think she’s right. Do I want to let go, though? I’ve been carrying this weight for almost 15 years… who would I become if I put it down? That’s some scary shit.
And now, I’m going to get dressed, and go for a walk. And maybe have a cigarette. Thanks for listening, World.