Mind you, "fun" while deployed is relative. My fun was three games of full-court basketball. Only one of the opposing team's players was an asshat. All in all, a good day.
That being, I had at various moments through the day thought about this blog, and its consequence on me and my need (if not intent) to heal. As cathartic as I've felt in documenting the implosion of my recent relationship, it occurred to me that I was running out of anything terribly profound to say.
Which is most certainly not to say that thoughts of S don't find their way, uninvited, into my head with any less frequency. Moreover, these thoughts are getting repetitive... and subjecting myself to writing them -- much less someone unfortunate enough to read them... well, it seemed counterproductive.
It was, of course, with unbelievable pride (and the feeling of having made some sort of amorphous connection) that I discovered a few readers.
INPY is foremost. He has given my writing much more respect than it deserves, but I, too, am simply amazed at how insanely similar our experiences have been. I cannot wait to meet him once I've returned to the U.S.
However, one of the readers who'd found their way to my missives at INPY's behest posted a comment which left me alternately irritated and reflective. The poster suggested that, based on his or her personal experience, my healing would come with greater speed if I just answered a few questions.
Here they are:
- What did you do that led her to cheat on you?
- Why were you so dependent upon her?
- In reality, is she the woman you thought she was?
- What constituted your concept of love?
- Why do you feel like you can't continue without her?
- Why did your relationship fail?
Did you, dear reader, notice the first one? Did it strike you as it did me?
What did I do that led her to cheat? This is as unhealthy a psychology as I can imagine. Seriously. Isn't this the equivalent of asking a battered wife what she did to make her husband beat her?
I get the whole "enabling" line of thinking. Really, I do. But it ends here. The only possible answer to that question is the sickening cliche: "I was too nice." And I patently refuse (forgive me, Roosh) to buy into the idea that in not being sufficiently "alpha" placed me in the position where the only predictable outcome was S's infidelity. Fuck that.
Having caught my breath, though, I can't help but think of those times when I was given the "sign." In my defense, they were few. No less painful, but few. I don't think I've written about them, here, so I'll get on with the two that are most vivid in my mind:
Very early into our relationship, S and I went out with some of her friends from work (our social circles didn't cross much, then). We went to some low-rent dance club in Augusta. Now, it is also important to note that I do not dance. Rather, I do not dance well. And I'm painfully aware of this. Yet, one of the thousand reasons I fell in love with S was her ability to make me feel good when I was dancing.
She made me feel sexy, rather than the oafish wad on the dance floor that I had believed myself to be. She knew she had my blessing to dance with whomever she wanted -- this was a boundary we'd already felt-out. But she almost always chose me. More importantly, I had fun. So much fun.
Other girls in the clique that had joined us were actually jealous. No kidding!
Right. Back to the dance club.
It is important to note, at this point, that S and I had made cosmic, passionate love at home before leaving for the club.
Towards the end of the evening, me with a permanent grin and she with the flirty, sexy sweatiness that only a beautiful woman dancing can produce, we started the "it's closing time" shuffle from the edge of the floor to the exit.
One of the guys with whom she'd shared a few dances came up to her, and asked for her number. Mind you, I'm right there. Next to her.
She pulled out her cell phone and gave it to him.
For the most recent two months, I had been suffering the absolutely insane (yet senseless to outsiders) schedule and degradation of "Initiation." This special sort of hell is reserved for those selected for Chief Petty Officer (E-7) in the Navy. To summarize -- and, more importantly, get to the point -- for eight weeks, I had neither slept nor eaten well as I ran with frightened fervor from one seemingly inane task to another.
Right. So, the conclusion of this exercise in stress and humiliation -- Initiation -- lies in being "pinned." This is when those who have successfully passed the countless tests of integrity and humility are paraded before visitors and dignitaries in our fresh new uniforms and ultimately placed at a podium where we are ceremoniously given our new rank insignia. (This is serious business, by the way.) It is also important to note that, at this point, the new Chief has not slept -- at all -- in over 36 hours. Despite the exhaustion, no one who has lived it will ever forget this day.
On this professionally momentous occasion, I had chosen my best friend, Scott, and S to place the new rank insignia on my collar.
Afterwards, we went back to my house and planned the evening. I was, of course, in no condition to do anything huge, so we elected to have a quiet, fun evening at a Falls Church Irish pub. Just the three of us. Me, my best friend, and the most important person in my life, S.
Several pints into the evening, I get up to use the restroom. When I return, I am fucking floored to discover that S had just unbuttoned some AU-fraternity-type-fuck's button-down shirt. To expose his chest.
I'm not sure how or why his chest had come up in the very short conversation that must have occurred in my absence (after all, I only had to pee), but her behavior was apparently excused by "I didn't think you'd mind."
I felt my face redden, and I turned to Scott, and simply (and authoritatively, I'm sure, since I'd just become a Chief) told him, "The night is over."
I realized at the time that both of these disasters were "signs." I didn't choose to ignore them. S and I, well... rather I worked through them.
A year and a half would pass before she left. Before she cheated.
I am the forgiving type. I know no other way to be. I sincerely believe that a relationship worth having is a relationship full of forgiveness, among other things. I couldn't have walked away from her at either of those points, because I loved her. I guess -- in the end -- it is a matter of knowing where the line is. My line. I just don't.
My position is vetted by my parents, strangely. My father passed away unexpectedly last summer, and my mom remains in an abject pain I cannot begin to fathom. They had been married over 35 years, and not apart for a single day during that period. Not one.
He died on her birthday. And dad -- well... he cheated. I remember: I was perhaps 10 or 11. I heard it all. All of it. Someone else might be tempted to say I shouldn't have learned of it. I'm glad I did.
She forgave. She certainly didn't forget, but she forgave. I know this, because when I called my Mom the day S had left, she reminded me of it. She was trying to express empathy for me as I struggled through the idea of forgiving S, even before she asked for it. (Incidentally, it is probably profound that at right this minute it occurs to me, for the first time, that S has never asked forgiveness. Hmm.)
I've gone on too long; I'm losing focus. I'll explore the other questions -- the ones that don't set me in a froth -- tomorrow. Or whenever the hell next I have the opportunity.
But before I close... going back to the beginning... suppose I heal sufficiently that I've no reason to post here about S. Glory the day. What the hell do I write about then? Admittedly, I had no expectation that anyone would find my words, or provide deep insight. My best friend is a prolific writer, and he convinced me that in getting my feelings and experiences down on paper (?) would help me help myself.
I don't know if it's working -- I haven't not written, so I have nothing to compare it against.
Trudging on. One African keystroke at a time.