Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Toothpaste Tears Us Apart

Before Tall Blonde Alcholic left for his internship with Colgate in New Jersey he told me how bored he was going to be in a new place and how miserable he was going to be by himself. He gave me no choice but to feel sorry for him and I tried to comfort him by telling him I would miss him with all my heart and would patiently wait in DC until he came home to me.

This was before I left for Alaska, where stormy seas and evergreen trees prevented us from communicating. When I came back after seven days, his story had changed.

The day I got back to Seattle, I called him while I was on the light rail. He told me about how great the internship was and how much fun he was having with his fellow interns and roommates. They had already gone out for several nights and there was even going to be a party in the near future. His invitation fell somewhat flat on my ears, "I guess you can come if you want." Later that night, I finally got in touch with him on AIM. Only he left after 15 or so minutes because he had to go to sleep.

And there I was, the fool feeling sorry for him. I had thought that we were both going to have a terrible time being apart, except he was having the time of his life. And it wasn't so much that it was fun, it was that the people were fun. This immediately made me wonder what set these people apart from me. What's to stop him from falling in love with them over the course of the summer? And when it's all over won't he hate leaving them, and won't he miss seeing them, and wouldn't he rather stay with them? Coming home to me at the end of it all will be nothing more than a cheap consolation prize for giving up the best experience of his life.

On Tuesday night, I left a small party to hide in the bathroom and call him. I turned on the faucet so people outside wouldn't be able to hear me. I asked him why he hadn't called recently, making snide comments about how happy he was in New Jersey and poking fun at his sudden change of heart. He said, "I thought you'd be happy for me. Aren't you glad I'm not miserable?"

And in an instant, the guilt was deflected. I stumbled on the phone, grasping desperately for words that would avoid the truth. I want to be able say that I love him enough to want nothing more than for him to be happy. But deep down I was glad when he first told me was going to be lost without me. Like anyone else, I want to feel important. To see him enjoying himself so much breaks my heart into a million icy pieces and makes me reconsider just how much I really matter to him.

And all of this is much easier for him than it is for me.
I am the one stuck here living our old life. His absence changes everything for me. He is the one who gets to start anew without me. And wouldn't you know, it's still pretty damn great.

So in the end, I suppose neither of us has the upper hand in this argument. I don't love him enough to want him to be happy without me and he doesn't love me enough to be unhappy without me. And neither of us love each other as much as we thought we did before this summer came along and tore us apart.

I turned off the faucet, got off the phone, and went back to the party. Average Brown Quarter-Asian was waiting outside and said to me, "Have you heard from Tall Blonde Alcoholic recently? He can't stop talking about how much he loves New Jersey."

I could have punched her in the face.


Straight Guy from NYC said...

OK I will try this again.

You and him are different kind of people. This is not a bad thing. Often people of different nature are attracted to each-other. Supposedly they complement each other.

Now, if you were the one to go to New Jersey: I imagine a couple of funny posts about your new roommates, their misgivings, their flaws, their funny sides and you're feeling miserable and out of context.

Meanwhile, TBA is having a cruise in Alaska. He comes back from there and calls you. He is ecstatic. Who knew the cruises were so fun? He met the most strange characters and had a great time (and you thought he would feel lonely and desperate in that traveling confined container of people).

You feel jealous that he enjoyed the cruise without you and hurt that he was not contemplating the empty sunsets of uneasy Pacific.

So back to reality. You can't blame the summer or New Jersey for this. He is probably the open type who adapts and enjoys life.

What is more important he announces his fun to you. That's the main proof of his loyalty. His consciousness is clear and he has nothing to hide. On the contrary, the words that you probably want to hear are those that may hide something behind.

So yes, for now, do what he said, be happy that he is happy. You can always worry another day.

Mike said...

small party = you, your mom and dad, and Average Brown Quarter-Asian watching CSI Miami?

Oldyeller said...

What you're feeling is entirely understandable and normal for someone like you who is adorably neurotic. Just because he's not miserable, doesn't mean he doesn't love and miss you. As Straight Guy says, you're two different people, and you have to accept that he's not always going to react to things the way you want or expect. Plus, he's telling the truth--sounds like someone w/o guille. You're lucky to have someone like that.

Oldyeller said...

Also w\o "guile".

Louis said...

If this is someone capable of loving New Jersey, then he's obviously not worth it.

Kevin said...

Step out of your parents' shadow.

Someone loves you.
Your readers love you.

Some people *cough* live vicariously through you.

You're not just some consolation prize.

ASTRA REED said...

Really very interesting story which you have shared with us.. you are really a thoughtful person.. as you have written that you and him is of different kind person like different attitude and nature but this is not a big issue many ppls of different nature attract each other...

dccised said...

Straight Guy: The difference being I was with my family. And we all know there is no fun or love to be had with them.

Mike: CSI New York. I have a thing for Gary Sinise.

Straight Guy from NYC said...

dccised: My main point is that he is not hiding from you the fun that he is having, which means that there is nothing there that conflicts with what you have together. At least, not yet.

The rest is speculation, by my part. I don't know you guys and I am still relatively new to your fantastic blog.
I am not saying you are unable to have fun or enjoy your situations.
Even when you're in a dark mood, your posts are still very entertaining.
Maybe you and him can as well have similar experiences if found in the same situations.
However, I still believe that by nature, you'd always keep higher walls around you. There's a virtue in that too.

Patrice said...

Straight Guy from are too "wordy".

J, I truly enjoy your angst and happiness :)

SGfNYC said...


Hard to be concise at 4:00 AM.

It still beats having nothing valuable to add to the conversation.

Patrice said...

@SGfNYC You do have nice things to say. Also, I'd had a glass or two you know how that goes. Keep up the positive energy :)