This Friday SCL and I had our first interaction in a public setting since the break-up. I was performing in a community production, and he came to see me. I saw him before the show and really wasn't phased by him being there, even when I was on stage. But when the show was over, that was when everything shifted.
He was there, waiting for me--to give me a hug, to congratulate me on a job well done. And it felt so normal for him to be there. In some ways I felt more supported and loved than I did when we were together. All of the feelings of comfort, familiarity, and support felt so good to me. I looked around and thought, what do the people in this room think of us? What does this look like? I knew the answer: it looked like we were a couple, a partnership, a team. And for the first time in many days, I wanted that again. In that moment I didn't care about all the ways he'd hurt me, how much pain he'd caused me, that he didn't communicate or affirm me. I wanted his familiarity back. I wanted his presence back. I wanted the life I'd grown accustomed to back.
We walked back to the Metro, rode back to our stop side-by-side, and walked back to our apartment hand-in-hand. "This is hard," I said. "I feel like we're together right now. This feels so normal." There was something quite different about being outside of the apartment together that made it feel like we were just as we were before all of this happened, when I still thought all was well, when I believed it was just a matter of time before he came around and decided he truly wanted me.
I cried and cried. Then I worried that if I continued crying SCL would think I couldn't handle this, that we couldn't see each other at all anymore. That we couldn't navigate a new way of handling this pain and transformation in our relationship. He held me as I cried. And as he held me, I felt completely alone. Yes, we were together physically, even touched each other, but I knew that he wasn't going to give me his heart. And I felt so horribly alone. I thought about how if he hadn't come to my performance, I wouldn't have had anyone there who knew me to say, "You were great up there." What loss to consider and to mourn.
He was the reason I was crying, and yet he was comforting me. But who else would? I can't comfort myself, can I? I can't hold myself, stroke my own head, pull me against my own chest, wrap myself up in my own embrace. And that place in his arms--that has been my place for so long. On Friday I still wanted it to be mine.
Eventually I put myself together and went to bed. Mostly I was worried that he'd think he needed to pull away, and I didn't want him to make yet another decision about what was really best for me, for us. I still want to try this new way of breaking up. Sometimes it's just really hard to be this strong.