11.16.2004

Lingering

saturday i was sitting in a movie, totally paying attention, when a sentence, out of nowhere, hit me.

"i have just a little bit of cancer." and the image of my father holding up his index finger & thumb to indicate that "little bit" was just as vivid as the moment he said it. immediately, i felt exactly as i had four years ago - my knees went weak, and i felt the cush of the bed underneath me as the tears steamed on my cheeks.

this memory, strangely, made me think. it's amazing how a memory can come flooding back, the feelings can be just as real, and a phrase can echo in your head.

"i can't be your boyfriend anymore." a year and a half ago, that crushed me. i thought that my life was derailing right before me, and i was totally powerless to stop it. nothing i could think to say or do, no position i could take, no reaction i had would get it back on track. i was sad. i was angry. i was hopeful. i was powerful. "well then what the fuck are you still standing in my living room for? get out. now." and i pushed him out the door as he cried.

"i have the most handsome little dog for you," she said over the phone on christmas day. dog?! i don't want a dog. and particularly not a little one. a scrap. a yapper. can he fetch? can i wrestle with him? can he be my pillow as we lay on the floor in front of a fire? little did i know, that sentence would change my life. and in so many ways for the better. leroy can't do any of those things, but he can do many, many, many things i never thought he could.

"i'm going to spend the night at david pritchard's house. and you can't come." a wave of frustration and hurt swept over me and i laid down on the living room carpet and cried. i think there was even some kicking and screaming. i knew my dad wasn't just going for a night. i was five, and i knew. and i knew i couldn't come because he wasn't coming back.

"i love you." whispered. drunk. through tears. some sort of self-destruction was happening right before me, and i couldn't stop it. i couldn't even understand it. but right then, our...whatever took an irreparable turn for the worst. and it never recovered, even when it seemed fantastic. i tried to pretend, for days, that i hadn't heard it. but i had. and that was the beginning of the end, because he didn't mean it, at least not the way he should, and there is no recovering when those words are misused.

"pardon me, do you have a minute?" flirtatious. hopeful. confident. mysterious. this guy - this beautiful, jovial, interesting guy wanted to talk to me. me. and with that, a friendship was formed that has provided both of us an outlet, a fantasy, a boost when things seem less than perfect.

"i'm engaged." i knew it. i knew it was coming, and i knew by the tone of his voice on my message last night that this is what he had to tell me. i didn't call back. and then he emailed; he needed to talk to me. rather than having to face what i already knew over the phone, when my reaction couldn't be hidden, i forced a hint over email. break the ice. prepare myself. but there it was.

and in my mind they still are.