No one would have guessed that hours earlier when asked if I thought it was worth sticking out and fighting for, I had answered “yes.” The way your words sprung me to action. How I quickly moved from the couch to the bedroom, opening the dresser drawer that held your clothes, like a bookmark, a place holder in the story of us. How I dumped the contents out on the bed while you sat in the other room, beside yourself. How I moved swiftly without any other thought than “No.”
Because I just can’t do this again.
It used to be that when someone told me that they gave up, I would rally to encourage them. I used to be the best fucking cheerleader a person could ask for. Hell, I’d jump in the game and try to go long to win the game for them. And I wasn’t even on the team. I don’t even know how to play but I fake it good. That’s how twisted I was. I thought helping meant doing sometimes to the point of taking over. It was exhausting and exasperating and everyone ended up pissed off one way or another so I stopped.
So now if you give up, I will too. Because I can fight for two but I refuse to.
I know this isn’t the “nice” way of reacting to a person who is down in the dumps so deep they can’t see a way out but it’s my current truth. This lesson comes with battle scars: I cannot love a person enough to make them love themselves.
Sometimes in these moments I think of my mother. A woman of strength who was pushed to drastic actions by an immovable object- my father. He would sit in his misery, a magnet, pulling us all into his sorrow. I look back on those times and wonder how she survived watching a man she loved give up. And it’s no wonder she made the decisions she did. Because someone had to.
In these moments where I leap to action I feel strong and weak. The line between the two is thinner than I ever though possible. I am my mother and my father. I am action and stagnation. I don’t recognize myself- this cold woman who has hidden her heart. I say things I am not sure I 100% believe. I’m ripe with analogies for a thing I don’t even understand. But does anyone really understand love? Because I don’t think so.
We talk until it’s no longer heated. Until the tears have dried up and we’re breathing more regularly. I’ve handed you back the spare keys to my apartment, a makeshift peace offering. Tonight is not the end. You walk out the door with a tentative hug and I return to the bedroom to put your clothes back in the drawer.