Nine Hundred And One

Nine hundred times.

One and a half hours of soft twilight.

Eternity.

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What My Hands Can Do

I wanted to write this out, but as it is with these things, it had a mind of its own.

It’s strange to be this old and be afraid of human contact. No, I haven’t phrased that well. Perhaps ‘afraid of being touched with romantic intent’? Because I have my hands in and on people all day, and no issues there. But apparently, as I’ve recently found out, I learnt my lesson of not being wanted to be touched so well, that I’ve forgotten what it can even feel like.

He held my hand, and I froze. I had so literally forgotten that someone can want to touch me, too. That someone can want to take my hand- I live in a world where this is a possibility, this is a real thing. Someone can want to walk with me and hold my hand, or put their arm around me and actually like holding me. And the weight of the last god knows how many times I had shamefacedly or belligerently asked for hugs welled up inside my chest, just under the realization that this- this could be a part of my reality. Of my life. I could be hugged. I could be held. It was not something outlandish or alien to want. Someone can want to hold my hand.

And that idea, the very breadth of that concept, seems so vast, I’ve hardly been able to think of it in the last few days without still feeling bewildered. To think, I’d forgotten, I was allowed to want this too. That I’d been loving with so many limits, on what my hands could, and could not do.

Who knew?

Rebuilding.

If you truly love something, set it free. You’ll love it more, even if you find, you now love it differently.

I should be angry. Maybe. I know that I’m unhappy with how quickly you moved on. With how a few months of a different routine and a different city was enough for you to find a different woman. I’m unhappy about that, too. Maybe I could have forgiven you falling in love easier, had there been any cause whatsoever for me to forgive you. My vanity is bruised by it- I thought I’d loved you more, loved you enough for all those years to have damaged you more- but I didn’t. Or, to be precise, you didn’t. You didn’t love me enough to be damaged by a lack of me there. And a new routine and new city was enough for you to be ready, for a new woman. And not even for new love. Just a new bedmate.

So I’m angry at that. Or maybe anger is too strong a word for this vague displeasure. This bruised ego that would have been soothed by finding out that you were struggling a little too. This part of me that is insulted by how smoothly you moved on, without having felt my absence as acutely as I did yours. I think I wanted you to be a little unhappy. Just enough to afford some passing last respect to the remains of who we were. What we were. It feels too soon. Bringing your new girlfriend to your wife’s funeral, soon. Not the fact that I know of it, though, but the fact that it happened at all.

But that’s the staggering turn on the dime. However fleeting and sharp my hubris stabs, I am not unhappy. I’m happy for you, and for me. I loved you so, so inhumanly much. And seeing you now, away, makes me happier still. Because this is everything I would never have been able to give you. This is everything you were denying yourself, being with me. This is you in your element. And we spent utterly glorious years together. You gave me so much, you made me so much more than I was, and you stood by as I became even more. And you deprived yourself, and the world and circumstances deprived you of so much. And you don’t have it now- but you’re getting there. And more than anything, I am overwhelmingly happy for you, and for whoever else you decide you want on that journey next to you- however passingly.

Am I not jealous? I am. She’s had her hands on you. She’s had you in ways no one except I did. Every inch of our bodies was hallowed ground for the other, pure and saved from the sullying touch of any passing fancy. And now she has her lips where I put mine. She has your hands holding her the way you held me. And when you’re in her, her soul isn’t crying in the delirious ecstasy of a woman being loved in every plane of being. She’s taking all the parts of you that belonged to me, and not treating them with enough reverence.

For me. For you, it’s enough. This is enough. This is what you want. Because you don’t belong to me. And that is why it doesn’t hurt me anymore. Because you belong to yourself now, to revere and desecrate as you please. And I belong to me now. And what did, and what we shared, belongs to both of us. In memory.

My love. My sweetest, dearest friend. I will always feel too much and write too much and cry too much, and be much too strong than I should be. But there is the great distance now that I will never love you too much again. I will always love you, and celebrate you, and revel in our having been. And you are welcome to visit our home, as I often do, in the late hours of the night, in maudlin and in memory. My arms will always hold a home for your heart. But of a different sort now. I love you. And I’m still walking.