Saturday, March 23, 2013

the end of S

Today is the end of the very Requiem that gave this blog its nature... and its name.

Though I've considered myself healed for some time now, today I pounded the last nail into the coffin that was my relationship with S.

Because I started this blog -- this Requiem -- with a letter I'd sent exposing every ragged edge of my freshly rent heart, I think it is fitting I end it with another letter, this one exposing to the world the mended wounds and puffy scars.

I don't think you -- or anyone -- will ever understand how extraordinarily difficult it is for me to read what you've written.

S. -- you're not dying. I died. For almost a year. A year, S.. I cannot -- for the life of me -- think of why you'd come to me a year after you left me in the way that you have. I feel foolish for even having devoted all that much thought to it, S., because it doesn't really matter, not in the end: I do not want to get back together. I want to say that I'm sorry, that I'm so sorry that I know it hurts you to see me write that, but I feel foolish. Because none of this is my fault.

None of this is my fault. Its not my fault that you left me. Its not my fault that you "hated" Nichole. Its not my fault that you were scared. Its not my fault that you cheated on me. Its not my fault that you let me suffer. Its not my fault that you let me let my daughter -- my blood -- depend on you and then suffer her own crushing disappointment because you left us. Its not my fault that Nichole trusts me as a father even less now. Its not my fault that I've had to pray to be a good enough father to Madison to explain that just because she's now twice seen people who say they love one another suddenly -- and in her child's mind, willfully -- disappear.

It isn't my fault, so I'm not going to say that I'm sorry. I have nothing to be sorry for. Lest you be convinced otherwise, though S., I am not angry, either. The only thing I am feeling is that I've moved on from the darkest chapter of my life.

And this is most certainly not about having found someone else, either. This is for me. And me alone.

Though much of what you wrote in this, your latest email bothered me a great deal. Because as I was reading your words, I had no control over the thoughts that sprang up inside me -- simultaneously as your words sped past my scanning eyes. Even my subconscious mind is aware of the senseless pain I suffered and works to protect me, even now.

You write of re-discovering your faith... yet I recall prayer books and Ketab-e-Agdas and Feasts and all the trappings of our faith being a very poignant part of our relationship, but no matter how many Feasts we attended in any of three states, you still did what you did. I cannot imagine how going to a conference now is any different than what you -- and we -- had already been doing.

Oh -- but there is one thing I will apologize for. And sincerely, too. I did, in fact, forget your birthday, S.. I'm sorry. Yet there will never be words that you can understand to explain what it was that I was doing or experiencing or feeling that day -- the 11th, that made it just another day in this hell hole. That it was the birthday of the woman that tore my heart out nearly a year ago was the last thing on my mind. Still, you remembered mine, and I didn't give you the same courtesy. Again, S., I'm sorry.

You tell me that you've been re-reading emails and letters and re-watching old videos and rummaging through your memories bag and pondering all it was that you had. That is the point... had. You had them all and you chose to live without them. All they are now are memories, S.... they are not the present, as they were then. That bag of memories stored in our office closet was within an arm's reach while you were writing letters to Dan. They didn't mean anything to you when they were right next to you.

Because I've spent so much time deployed this year, it was all that much more important to me that you loved Madison in my absence. You've told me about watching that old video of her and me playing together in the living room... yet for me, my only consolation in being separated from the both of you was that you were together, even if only sometimes. Yet now -- despite all the efforts I'm making to be her dad -- I've had her for likely not more than 15 days all year. Her soon-to-be stepfather has been more of a dad to her than I, and part of the reason for that is because my most significant link to her -- you -- marched out of our lives.

You've written about all these questions you suppose I have... oh, I do have them, but I no longer need an answer to them to survive. More importantly, I have come -- over time -- to painfully realize that there aren't answers to those questions. The "whys" that haunted me all that time will never be explained to me, and I'm okay with that, now. Certainly you'd make your effort to explain things, but even you, S., don't know the real reasons. Only that your actions led to me being gone...

Of course you remember my Pinning night and the fight that resulted from your unbuttoning that random guy's shirt. Its very much like the situation with Dan, or with so many other things... the fight never really properly ended because you honestly didn't know why you did what you did. Only that you had. And for so many hours I was unwilling to accept it. That you just had to know. But you didn't. In the end, of course, I just decided that I loved you too much not to forgive you, even without a reason. That by placing my heart in your hands despite you having almost willfully wounded it -- by trusting you -- that somehow -- someway -- you would realize something about yourself... you would recognize something within yourself... and you would deal with it, forever erasing your ability to hurt me like that. Certainly, though, it was just a sign. Of so many things to come. Yet I don't regret my choice... I don't regret chasing you down and insisting you get in the car so I could take you home. It's not my fault. And as I've said that that memory is very much like this... well, its because though you may now regret everything that has happened, I am certain you still don't know why. But what is important is this: I have accepted it. It's okay that you don't know. And it's okay that I'll never know.

Its a little amazing to me that you still remember the mug... and that you were tried so hard to get it fixed. It doesn't matter, S.. What matters is that while it sat unattended in a box, you were leading a love affair with another man. It could have sat there forever -- and I would have been disappointed, but not crushed -- had it just sat there while you lovingly pined for my return and afforded me the same loyalty that I gave you. But its a symbol for me; I hope you understand that. A symbol. Something that was so dearly important to me gave you no pause while you pursued someone else. Like me, I feel it was violated.

You wrote about that first time telling me that you love me... and as I read it, do you know what I remember, S.? Sending you that email describing my memory of you telling me that you love me. And your response to it... how it seemed wrong. But the part that kills me about this memory? That I later came home to discover that on the same day I'd sent it to you -- the same moment that I was pouring my heart and soul out and into your hands -- you wrote Dan, and lovingly. That memory, now, is forever tainted for me. Forever.

Another memory for me is also ruined... you write about Baha'u'llah telling you something? Showing you something? Do you know that it took me months, even after you'd left, to delete that text message you sent me from Israel? That loving, beautiful, poetic message you sent me after morning prayers on the mount? Yes. In it you wrote about your belief in Baha'u'llah having fated us together. Oh, and I believed it, too, S., I did. But somehow this divinely-ordained fate we imagined was not to be... this inspiration you found while facing the new day's sun over the most holy of our sites was forgotten. Invoking His name now in evidence of your feelings for me almost physically hurts.

The loudest voice, though -- the emotional defense which just swept over my body as would rage -- is reserved for your notion that I understand you. For so many reasons this is hurtful... I most clearly did not understand you. And the idea that I'm the only one... well, it doesn't fit... not even for you. You'll remember, S., that shortly before I left for this deployment you so cavalierly told me that Dan understood you as "no one else ever will." That would be me. But I'm okay.

You write of crying for weeks after leaving me. I don't know what this is supposed to mean to me... because I cried for you months after you left me. I would go on a mission and be shot at, S., and I would come back to Camp shaking and furious and my body and my will and my heart would just break and I would have to shuffle off to some place no one could find me and I would just lose it. Months. You will never, ever know that kind of pain. I say kind, S., because of all the things I do know about you, I do know that you have suffered tremendous pain. My point is that they are all different... all that pain you suffered -- though no less significant, it wasn't because your then-thought soul mate discarded you. I hope, at least, that you never come to know it.

Ah, another voice inside my head... that your email is supposed to be validation of a sort of change for you... that your love for me has transformed things... only a week or so after you sent me an insulting email in which you derided me for being a "grandpa." S., among all other things -- and something that I lovingly tolerated and ignored because of my love for you -- you were, sometimes, uncontrollably mean. You said terrible, terrible things to me when we were together... and every time, I forgave. I still forgive. Even "grandpa" -- though that is certainly the tamest insult. But I know you remember. I know you remember me coming to you vulnerable and open and hopeful and telling you how you were making me feel.

In those brief six weeks I was back in the States over the late part of Summer, I attended a work barbecue. There was a guy there that I was introduced to, and I was very interested in him, because he had recently gone through a course that I'm scheduled to attend, myself. In passing, he later mentioned that he worked for the same agency for whom you work. I asked him if he knew you, and of course, he did: "Oh, God, man, yeah I know her. She's fucking hot." He asked how I knew you, and I told him, briefly, that we had been together for nearly two years before you left me. I wasn't proud. His response? "Man, I hope you got one last one in; I would have." I was fucking. sick. I wanted to kill him. He, too, S., is a symbol. A symbol of the endless litany of men that paraded themselves past you hoping to attract your attention, attention you often gave. Especially at work. And in at least one notable case, you consummated. To be told, now, that pictures of me and you and perhaps my daughter adorn your computer makes me very uncomfortable. Because now, S., those pictures don't mean what they were supposed to have meant when we were still together. Now they're just some sort of tribute. Before, though... they were supposed to be a sign of the family whom you loved and to whom you were loyal. Now they are but images of the family to whom you weren't loyal.
...could you look at me and never question?

No, S., I could not. I can forgive you, but I could never, ever not question. And I won't put myself in that position, ever again. I don't deserve it. Nothing could ever happen between you and I that would convince me that it would be okay. For me to deploy again. For me to go to my work while you went to your work. For me to sit at home making dinner while you were on a weekend TDY. That I could leave the country safely knowing that my family, my love would be honored and cherished. I cannot trust you, S.. It is forever gone. And I'm sorry for that, but not to you... I'm just sorry. Which is funny... given that I started this letter saying that I wouldn't be.

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