Tonight was a surprise night for me. Not all the surprises were pleasant, but even that yielded a pleasant surprise or three.
I asked J last night if he’d be willing to spend tonight with me as I’ve only been with him two nights this week. He told me that he wanted to spend tonight alone, to himself. I planned on sleeping in the living room so he could play games as much as he liked without keeping me awake. As it turned out, he didn’t spend time alone tonight and didn’t tell T that he wanted to, so they spent the evening together. I was really sad about that, and felt pretty left out and confused all evening. When he was ready for bed, it turned out that T had asked him to stay with her tonight, and he had agreed to. It felt like a double smack in the face, to be honest. First to be told that he didn’t want to be with me, that he wanted to be alone, and then to hear that he’d changed his plans and was going to be with T instead.
Honestly, I wanted to just sit down and cry about it. I really felt rejected. I felt worse than rejected, I felt jilted.
Instead, I removed myself from the situation. I went outside, fought down the tears, and reminded myself that tomorrow, J is taking me out for lunch at “our place.” It was his idea to take me out, I didn’t ask him for it, he told me that he wanted to do this. Whatever spurred the decisions he made tonight about not spending the night gaming, and about staying with T after telling me no, it is *not* a message that he doesn’t want me. No, it wasn’t terribly considerate of him, but it wasn’t a commentary on what I’m worth to him, and I let that fact just sort of settle in on me.
When I went back in, he was already tucked into bed. T was waiting as we had planned to take a walk and go to Starbucks together. I admit that at first, I had to force it, but I put a smile on my face and off we went. I’m so glad that I did.
T is great company, firstly. While she doesn’t like to talk about the issues that J and I face, she isn’t without understanding, or compassion. I really didn’t have to say much of anything, but she did mention that the confusion is uncomfortable for her as well. Then we fought to change the topic, to talk about something other than J.
To say that we succeeded is to make a massive understatement. We talked about what we want out of life, what leads to feeling fulfilled and proud of living. We talked about why we each stay. We talked about the discoveries she and I have both made about ourselves, as well. I won’t share what she said, that will be up to her, but we’re staying for similar reasons.. we both recognize that we’re growing and learning here.
Among the things that I told her was that I’ve realized that I am still reacting to wounds that were left on me by an ex. Among these are that any time J doesn’t reach for me, it means he doesn’t want me. The reality is, that’s not the message J is giving. J isn’t giving any message, honestly. The ex though, he wielded my love for him and my desire to be near him like a weapon. Any perceived offense and he would withdraw utterly, even to forbidding me to touch him. By perceived offense, I mean things like… I cooked dinner but he didn’t want a full meal (and hadn’t told me so). The slightest things would send him into this routine of witholding affection. I realized I’ve been responding to J as if he were that ex, and I’ve been doing it a lot. I hadn’t realized that the wounds were even still there, much less that they were causing me so much pain in the present, and I’ve been working on the healing for them.
The conversation went through the evening as a trip to have coffee turned into a trip to the bookstore where I found and bought her a bookmark for her birthday. It’s a pretty thing, silver with ribbons and a quote about living life each day. Amusingly, the conversation on the way home was about how much we both want to be free to just live life. When I gave it to her at home, she was happily surprised at the gift and the coincidence of the conversation.
The sweetest moment of the evening came on the walk home though. I stopped to smell a flowering tree. I commented that the flowers smelled like vanilla. T smelled some and agreed. We stood there for a moment, just smelling the flowers. Then I decided to pull off a cluster of them for her. When I turned to give them to her, she was in the process of pulling flowers off the tree to give to me!
I feel much… safer.. now that she and I had a chance to talk and spend time together. I feel like I still have a friend who cares for me. I feel like I’m not the only one who feels afraid of everything blowing up, but who is willing to put in the work to give things a valid chance. I feel that we’re hearing one another.
… and I can’t get over those flowers and the moment when we realized we were each picking flowers for the other. That was possibly the sweetest and happiest moment in weeks between she and I.