Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Sixth Sense

I see people. They don't know they're dead.

You know in The Sixth Sense when the ending is revealed and Bruce Willis learns that he's dead and suddenly you can see the entire move from a different point of view?

Him: Meet me at 42nd Street Oyster Bar at 6:30.

I was sitting at the bar, drinking a glass of wine as I waited.

Him: where r u?
Me: I'm the cute girl at the bar
I watched him walk over to me in his motorcycle jacket, smile on his face and sparkle in his eye.

"You look really pretty. Shall we go get our table?"

We had dinner here several times. Before.

We talked about our day, laughing and joking. I helped him retrieve a lost contact lens hiding in his eyelid. It was fun, and light.

But then we got to talking about the day I left.

"You came in so angry with your mind already set. You looked at me hard and cold and said 'What do you have to say to me?' and tore around grabbing your stuff and slamming the door. If you had just stopped to let me talk, I would have said that I thought we just needed a break while I sorted the mess of my life out. Not break up."

Oh. My. God.

And suddenly everything I thought was true was just flipped over, upside down, sitting in a ditch on the side of the road.

Yes, I went to his house with a 'fuck you' look in my eye. I was guarded and vicious and I wanted to get my things and get out before he saw me completely break down.

"You didn't even cry. You were just a cold-hearted bitch (I'm sorry, this sounds harsh, but this is what I thought then) who didn't even give me a chance."

My eyes widened with this new realization and they started to fill with tears. I saw the last six months through his eyes. It was bad.

"I just learned something new today. I had no idea. I was so angry and so hurt. And now I feel so small and incredibly stupid", I gulped out.

"If I didn't know you, I'd think you were lying."

So there it was. All this time I thought he was getting rid of me. And all this time he thought I left him behind.

Later that night I was on the phone with him. He told me, "I remember you said that it was easier for you to communicate with words than with your voice. So write me an email."

I don't even know how to start.

All this time I saw only what I thought was the truth, but it turns out I was blinded by some stupid sense of pride.

When you told me about [the ex-wife's] demands I was furious! I understand when you said that you weren't going to take any chances with your kids. I never doubted that. But it didn't stop me from feeling any less rejected.Then I thought of other things you said in passing "I could never understand anyone who doesn't pray", "I don't have a dance partner", and I wondered if you were also using this as the way for you to get me out, not only of your house, but of your life. Because maybe you were starting to see that I wasn't the one you were looking for.

When you moved me into my apartment, I was hurting. I know you were helping me, but it also felt like you were getting rid of me. After you left, I sat on the floor and sobbed because I felt so completely alone. I left you the key to my apartment. I tried to invite you to come swimming, or to even help me break in my new bed, but your denials felt like a brush off. So when not even a week had passed and you sent me the text 'we have to talk' I thought it was just the final blow. I went to your house expecting the worst.

As I walked up to the front door I saw your wooden box, the one where we kept all our sex stuff, drying out on the stairs. I saw that as your way of clearing out the garbage because you saw that we didn't need that anymore. I knocked and didn't get any answer. I didn't want to use my key because I was already now feeling like a trespasser. Instead I went to the garage and loaded my things into the car.

When you finally opened the door for me I felt a chill from you. You went back into your room to put on some pants, and closed the door behind you. Like I was a stranger. That was when my guard came up, I put on my tough act and thought that if you didn't want me anymore, then I wasnt going be a fool and beg you to not to let me go. That's when I said to you, 'what is it that you want to tell me?' Because I wanted you to just come out and say it. You didn't want me. Instead you said 'you know we haven't been getting along these last few weeks..."

Are you kidding me?! In my head I was screaming, "I'm being forced to leave my home with you, I've had to adjust to a new life, in a new state, with a man who I was still getting to know, trying to figure out how to be a couple, a cook, a parent. I was without my family, barely any friends. I was fucking stressed!! I didn't know what I was doing and I obviously wasn't doing all that great a job." But in that moment all I could think was "it doesn't matter. Save yourself. Just go."

But all you saw was that emotional wall and you kept your distance. And all I saw was you keeping your distance because you were done with me. And that is where we unraveled.

In my heartbroken insanity, when you said it was both you and Chrissy that wanted me to move out, I thought that you had come up with this plan together to help you remove me from your life. And that was why I thought you were a coward.

So six months go by and all this time you're thinking I'm a cold-hearted bitch that took any excuse to run, and to me you were that asshole who hatched a plan with his ex-wife to get rid of me.

If only I hadn't moved right in with you, how could things have been different? I could have been able to become my own person down here and create my new circle of friends and found things that were important for me to be involved in without having to be so dependent on you. I think I asked a lot of you at a time when you were already stretched between work, kids, Grandma and your mom. I don't think I made things any easier for you as being someone else who needed something from you. If we had a chance to get to know each other, to date each other -- not from the two extremes of going 500 miles apart to being 5 feet apart. If we had that chance, I might be rolling over to kiss you good night instead of sending you an email.

And that is my biggest regret.

I got back in touch with you not because I wanted to get back together, because remember, in my mind you didn't want me. I contacted you because I wanted us to be friends. I loved you too much to let you remain a stranger to me. But now I know the huge, stupid mistake I made by putting up that emotional wall and making assumptions and exactly what that cost me. And it sucks. And I am so sorry.



  1. This is a brave posting, for a couple reasons:

    1. Because you are willing to own up to any part you may (or may not) have played in an effort to reconcile. That is by any measure brave.

    2. Because you are being incredibly transparent. By that I mean transparent to him in a fairly confident and trusting manner, and maybe too transparent to all of us. We love you Claudine, but you don't owe us the intimate details of a story in the middle of being written. It isn't that we don't want to know. It is only that maybe it isn't only your story to tell. My hope is that he won't feel too exposed by the telling.

    3. I think you are writing stuff down in a way that makes it easy to remember. Just know that even in this email you are jumping to a number of conclusions. Let me show you:

    a. He says he didn't want to break up, but clearly (from what you have told me) he didn't want it to go where ever it was headed in that moment. That isn't to say that you may have simply been on a side road in the middle of a much more significant adventure, but maybe there was (still may be) something of that side road to resolve. Here is me hoping you resolve the side road before hopping back in the car (don't get me wrong! You deserve to be "in the car" but this might not be the car for you and you deserve to know that too.)

    b. He mentions, in a number of situations a few incompatibilities with his faith, your faith, your collective decisions which may or may not be influenced by his/your faith (ie. the sex stuff, the prayer thing, living together, etc.). Some of this may well be the side road, if you agree that a resolution keeps you in the car and down the road for continued adventures.

    So, you are brave. And while at the moment I am holding my breath like a voyeur shocked by the observation, I want to say that I am cheering for you. I so want you to be happy.

    So when you say you want to be friends and you care, then hopefully you continue to care enough to go slowly and resolve some of the questions and statements you documented in your writing on this topic. You two might really see the value in each other and care for each other, but if you don't share some core stuff, then you will just find the true version of each other having become invested again and disappointed at the investment.

    I believe in you Claud! Brave soul!

  2. supergoodnumberone8:50 PM

    dang, steve@enginpost - great comment - articulate, supportive and loving. i think i'm going to start writing you for personal advice now.

    clau, what he said.