Hi. We've never met. For all I know, you have little idea I still exist. My name is Justin, and S and I had been together for just over two years before I came in our office to use the computer and saw that she had left her email logged-in.
Let me tell you something. I don't hate you. I don't even hate S. Still. I am writing this to you with tears streaming down my face. I have just gotten off the phone with my mother, and my best friend, and some sort of catharsis is setting in. I don't hate S. I just want to die.
For the last couple of months, our relationship has had its share of ups and downs. I would think more ups than downs, but then again, I just discovered that, generally, my life since S met you has been one illusion after another. Fuck it. I KNOW we had a lot more ups than downs.
On February 28th, with almost no warning, and only a couple weeks after S had told me that everything between us was going to be fine, and that she had come to understand her feelings for me on a greater level, she told me that she "needed to be alone."
This "need to be alone" has been an infrequent but no less horrifying maxim since, as I've discovered, she met you. I occasionally had my doubts about its nature; I have my moments of insecurity, too. Occasionally, I would open up to S and tell her... and without fail, she would say that I had "nothing to worry about." That it wasn't someone else. Obviously, it is, and was... you. In fact, in one of S's last emails to me before dropping the bomb that she needed to be alone (just six short days ago, mind you), she specifically and unequivocally stated that we were together, there was no one else, and that I could call on her whenever I was feeling insecure; that she was there for me.
Last night, returning from my deployment (much like the one you are on now), she met me at the airport. S is a strong woman. I knew she would try to be stoic in her resolve to "take some time off." I lost all sense of dignity. We drove home -- to OUR home. I was sobbing, fearful, in crisis-mode. We had a bit of breakthrough in a parking lot before arriving. We finally came home, and S and I had it all out, again. I say again, because we've had similar -- but no less intense -- episodes since October. You know -- shortly after you came around. In the end, though, after countless hours of the most abject agony imaginable, S agreed to stay with me.
Her argument last night, as it has always been, was that she was no longer ready to be in such a committed relationship. That she had taken my 6-y/o daughter too far along, and she wanted to break before... well, before I don't know what. My daughter is madly in love with S. As I am. Or was. I don't know anymore.
Lat night, S held me, and I held S, and I fell asleep after we made love, content that everything was right in my universe... because the ONE reason for my existence was breathing softly under my arm, and would be the following morning.
This morning, she woke for work, and I surfaced from my own slumber. As has been my devoted custom for two years, I said, "Good morning, I love you." She said she loved me, too. As she was preparing for work, I quickly realized that she was a bit off, again. I asked her to tell me what she was feeling.
She told me that she was regretting last night, that she was confused about making a decision contrary to a decision that she thought she'd already made. We were right back to where we had started only hours before. I made my same case -- that I was worth it, that we were worth it, that she was the only focus of my existence. She told me, in clearer than usual terms, that she wanted to go stay with her mom, so she could come to know (with us being apart), whether or not she wanted to be with me. My response was that she can't keep me at arms length, only to come and embrace me when it suited her. I begged, again. She left, with me in tears -- who knew that I had so many to shed? -- and sent me a text message: "It's over, Justin." I called her, and she surprised me by answering. Nothing changed. She told me that she'd come home later in the evening and get what she needed to stay with her mom.
I came to use the computer, later, after pacing the house in panic. Really, Dan, S has been my life. I suppose the only reason I can write this message with any clarity is because I am in full-on shock. No pain I have EVER experienced matches this. I haven't eaten in almost three days. The sleep S and I shared last night was the first in even more.
S hadn't logged-out of her email, apparently, because clicking on its history brought me straight to your exchanges with her. No password needed. Reading your long series of missives twisted the knife already present in my heart. I have ceased breathing.
S is leaving me, for you. She has been secretly communicating to you all the while hugging my daughter, holding my hand in the car, making love to me in our bedroom, telling funny stories to her family about something retarded I had done. All the while asking me to do something for her; knowing full well that she must only point, and I'd jump. She's been using her work email, she's been sending you secret letters, she's been sending you pictures. And all the while, I was NOT pretending. I believed. S is a very skilled liar. She was pretending.
Last night, when we were making love, she said, "Justin, you complete me." Make sense of this for me, Dan. Every breath I've taken for two years has been to speak her name. For two years... for two years, I have tried to prove to S, over and over again, that I was the one for her. I don't think I had to prove that she was the one for me. Nothing could be more apparent, to anyone. She made me believe, over and over, that I was the one for her. I complete her.
When S and I met, she was just "leaving" her ex-boyfriend Dan. The Other Dan, I'll say now. We would do fantastic things together, S and I, and she was in the middle of breaking up with him. There was not just one occasion when she and I were laying in bed and she was on the phone with him -- not completely done.
How naive I was. I had my fears, sometimes, that if she could do that to The Other Dan, she could do it to me. But, in order to allay those fears, I chose to redouble my efforts showing her that I wasn't him -- that I wouldn't make the mistakes he did, and that I would deserve her love. For two years, I tried.
I can't decide if I failed or if S is truly that terrible. That she is some sort of serial ... I don't know. What's the word? I pondered the idea, in one of my emails to her from Africa, that she may be afflicted with some sort of "conquer and abandon" perspective on love, on relationships. I guess so.
I still can't hate S. I love her. I know in sending this email to you, that I will be inflicting pain. My simple solace is knowing that it doesn't hold a candle to the pain I am suffering now. I'm in no condition to wonder, really, about my motive in doing so. I don't know if it is to warn you, or if it is to write to both of you, meaning Dan and S... certainly, she'll come to read it. I love her, Dan.
You have talked, in your exchanges, about such insipid and otherwise meaningless things... S and I shared life. Her journal is no longer private to me; I know that she felt that, too. We have shared the most unbelievable experiences. Together. We have lived. We have laughed together, we have cried together, we have fought and won and lost and loved together. Every profound experience I have ever truly had is found within S.
She lied to me. She lied to The Other Dan. And yet, I love her.
Magnifying the agony is my relationship with her family. Have you met them, Dan? You're discussing moving in with one another.. certainly you've met them? Me, well... I cannot love a family more than I love hers. They are more than surrogates for mine. I love them individually and apart. I would do anything for Mommy -- maybe you know her as Susan. Or not. I don't know. Mommy hugged me when my father passed away, she cried when I was in pain, she has come to love my daughter. I have spent countless nights at Mommy's house, enjoying her selfless matriarchy. I have helped her as much as you would your own mom, Dan. As she has helped me. As she has loved me. I am repaid in her embrace, in her worry when I was deploying to Africa. Her sister, N. Her older sister, S. Her uncles, aunts, cousins, her grandmother, Madar, the sweetest woman on earth. All had taken me in, all had loved me. Now they are all taken from me, by own selfish act: S's. I gave her my daughter, she gave me her family. Now she throws it all away for witty banter and "getting you" and cheesedogs down pants and short skirts.
Does she know you, Dan? Does she know you as well as she knows me? I would say that I know her, but I evidently do not. Two years is a long time, comparatively.
She is Baha'i. As am I. Certainly you know that. Did you know that she has told me countless times that she believed Baha'u'allah had fated us together?
Did you even know that she and I were still together?
Dan, you are in Iraq. I was in Africa, for a while, doing the thing you may have read about. Then I went to Qatar, where I flew missions over Iraq. Though I didn't have mortars flying over my head as I made another trip to the commissary, my missions in Iraq -- as well you should know -- were considered in danger of being brought down by a lucky bastard and an RPG or MANPAD. Nonetheless, the point I'm trying to make is this: her picture was with me on every mission. Her Baha'i prayer book was in my breast pocket. Her last email to me still on my mind. The sound of her voice from our last phone call still in my ears. Every time something shitty happened, or even when it didn't... like in briefings before the mission, I thought: If I die today, I will have done so not for such altruistic reasons as country and service. I will die today complete and whole and in comfort because S loves me. In fact, when S was still waffling over whether or not to begin work as a civilian -- because it would likely entail a deployment to Iraq --, I told her that I would IA there. I told her that I would follow her to Iraq on a moment's notice, because as sappy and sentimental as it may seem, if anything were to happen to either of us, I would want to know that I had done everything I could to ensure we spent every possible moment together.
I hope you are as weak as I am, Dan. That may sound strange, but let me tell you why: because even after discovering what I have, even after the most unimaginable torment I have suffered, I love S with all my heart. If you are strong, and you are treated by S as I have been, you would run. You would steel your face and heart and move on. I do not trust myself to do that. I want to die, instead. Fortunately, in the middle of this email to you, I was called by work. Lo and behold, I'm deploying again next month. Same place.
Here's to you, Dan. Good luck.