After coming back from dinner we headed over to my apartment and began to talk.
We spoke about our relationships in the past, the things we are dealing with presently, our children, the times we wished we worked harder on certain situations, and the times we knew we had to throw in the towel.
Then there was the kissing and the touching and the heavy breathing. All the outward signs seemed ripe for the night to be heading to that magical and messy place where everything begins to get real—and difficult.
And then it all stopped abruptly: “You’re not over her, are you?”
Now? I need to answer this question now?
Of course, I am still not over her. We created two children together and, at this point, when I need to fill out an emergency contact form at work, hers is the only name I can come up with. When great things happen, when sad things happen, when the sun is out and I’m glad to be alive, I still text her.
“How are you doing?” I’ll sheepishly ask. And, she always answers. I generally tell people that we had a friendly and amiable split, but the truth of the matter is I almost left under protest. I qualify that with the word “almost” because I packed my things and left the very morning I woke up and came to terms with the fact that nothing was ever really going to change.
And, it is somewhere in that strange room of realism and fantasy where all of life’s discomfort resides. When we can’t continue in an untenable and cold existence and we can’t bear the thought of being without the person.
We are simply in limbo—this purgatory. And it is here we begin to heal.
Biologically, though, we are compelled to be out on the hunt the moment we sign the lease to our new flat. We flirt on social media, we make dates and spend the working week looking forward to them with the anticipation of some kind of titillation and enthusiasm, but it is tantamount to climbing back in the ring with a black eye from our previous bout. You just can’t possibly put up a good fight when you are still so freshly wounded.
If “fight” seems like an improper analogy, think about how difficult it is for most relationships to thrive past the point of lust and excitement. If you are not ready to fight against the natural course of degradation that takes place between a man and a woman over time, it simply will not last.
There are times when it truly feels like you are not so much cultivating a future with someone as you are battling against the odds.
Granted, it’s difficult to accept that solitude is the best medicine. We are creatures that seem to thrive in pairs. Whether this is a function of endless societal brainwashing or whether it is a more scientific phenomenon is utterly besides the point.
Being alone day after day just feels like you are pushing against all the resistance of life, but, it is in that discomfort where all the mending starts. And if we, as people, want to discontinue this endless cycle of relationship mess and drama, it needs to be endured.
The door closed behind her as she left and I lay on the floor and stared at the ceiling for the next 10 minutes, lodged uncomfortably between sexual frustration and the relief of knowing that I did not have to tell an innocent participant next week that I may have made a mistake.
That aggravating place where all the healing begins.
Author: Billy Manas
Image: Groundhog Day/YouTube
Editor: Lieselle Davidson
Copy Editor: Sara Kärpänrn
Social Editor: Leah Sugerman