Every time I hear or even imagine him singing her praises: how beautiful she is, how brainy, the look of wonder and sliced pain on his face every time he talks about how glorious her poetry or paintings are, I feel spite rolling slowly from one side of my chest to the other, my heart providing security the way inflatable bumpers provide cushioning to bowling balls during children's tournaments.
I used to smile wanly at him, but he wouldn't notice my pained eyes because he was too busy staring off into space in the crowded restaurant as radiant pictures of his married love broadcast behind his darker than dark eyes.
One night I broke into the art studio where she paints and spent hours looking at her neatly lined up brushes, her carefully positioned canvases. Even her well used palettes along with works in progress look like they belong in a museum, full of cobalt and silver and orange and rust and mint and rain and summer and ashes and warm wood. I rarely talk to her, but when I do I try to stay with the conversation. It takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of big heartness not to scream and yell at the HAPPY bitch.
For she is happily married with her own family, she talks about cold autumn afternoons, spooning and snuggling. Warm blankets wrapping up precious children. All of that and still she takes the love of my life even if he's content to flit around the edges of her cozy world saying inappropriate things to other people like how he wishes he were married to her instead of her lucky husband. He doesn't care what anyone thinks. And long ago, he decided that I was unworthy of his love, unworthy of his attentions.
And although I was tempted to, I didn't sabotage her paintings or her supplies even though I wanted to very much. Instead, I crawled through the window I'd forced open, landing painfully on harsh concrete. I sprained my ankle and scrapped my left knee in the process. I sat pitifully on the hard, unforgiving ground crying from pain and love, the full moon washing down on my tears.
Two days later, he and I are sitting in the same diner and once again he is talking about how wonderful she is. He doesn't see me. I look hard at him, my tears forming shrink wrap over my eyes, blurring my vision. "Look at me," I think as hard as I can, as hard as when I wished for a pony when I was eight years old. I try to send the thought to him with all the force of a visionary. I try as hard as I can, but he just becomes more blurry.
"She's just so amazing," he's saying, shaking his wonderful blond head. His glasses are sliding slowly down his slightly pink nose. He pushes them up with his index finger, a completely unconscious gesture, then his eyes drop down to his half eaten burger with caramelized onions and cheddar cheese still not seeing anything. "I'm never going to find someone to love. It's been too long, I'm too set in stone," he says.
I think harder and then harder still until I realize the salt shaker on the table is trembling from my thoughts, "I'm here. In front of you. I love you. Look at me. Look at me." The tears spill from my eyes, not that he will ever notice.
I wrote this post on March 12, 2007 at 8:34 pm while in the middle of a personal relationship shitstorm. I think I posted it for a few hours before taking it down. I remember at the time being proud of the quality of writing but that it hit too close to home for me to feel comfortable with putting it out in the world. I'm still proud of the writing. Thankfully, the guy wasn't the love of my life though I sincerely believed it at the time. He never did see me properly. Oh well, it's his loss.