Home > Life or something like it > The Five Things I’ve Learned – Part II

The Five Things I’ve Learned – Part II

03/23/2006

[to continue]

 

     I should always follow my heart.

     It has been a long-standing tradition of sorts for me to always try to have at least one safe-space someplace in my life. If I can’t have it at work — then the safe-space must be home. If it’s not home, then the safe-space must be work. I have to have someplace that I can go to, to feel comfortable, and safe, and not have to totally worry about the masks I need to wear, and having to constantly defend who I am, and what I represent.
     Given what I wasn’t getting it with work, and I wasn’t getting it at home (given that I was living in a homeless shelter)… Well, something had to give. That something was a culmination of the issues surrounding my depression, being homeless, dealing with all sorts of self-hate from the four and a half-years of hell with Rick, and make amends with someone that I had been obsessing about for the last eight months… The man that I fell so hard for, that I found myself facing issues that I thought I had grown from within my adolescence…

 

     Will…

 

     On the 16th of January — one day after I had landed myself in the homeless shelter in Latrobe — I thought it was a good time to try to write the good-bye letter I had agonized over the week after Will and I broke up, and never did send it. I mean — on the one side, I had agonized and obsessed for over 6 months as to whether I should pack my bag up, point my face northward (and later, after moving to Pennsylvania — southward) to follow the one and only lead I had as to where he worked. On the other side, I thought that I should move on and try to live life again.
     On that day — it took me several hours and I ended up with something like this:


16, January, 2006

Will —
     I have tried on a couple of occasions to sit down and write you this letter. The first time was shortly after we had broken up on my brither in order to send you a final good-bye and to return your ring to you as I had promised to do. But given the grief I was feeling, coupled with the insanity I was going through at work at the time — I always found what I wrote to you sounding like I was lashing out at you for the thought that you had left me. But then — I would stop myself and realize — I
was the one that sabotaged what we had — because I was the one that wasn’t as secure as I thought I should have been in our budding relationship.
     Since then however – I found myseld falling into a pit of self-anger and self-loathing because not only did I destroying the very thing I had been looking for — fo so long in my life, but I also hurt the very person that you represented. The man whom deep down, I could call my equal, my confidant, my partner. I also hated myself because when the time came to ewven mail back your ring — I couldn’t let it go because it was the only thing I had of yours, that I could see, and be reminded of how close I had come to peace and contentment.
     In the months to follow – I had broken my vow to go offline because someplace deep inside me — I held onto the hope that if I held the candle out there in the ether — you would somehow make your way back and say, "I missed you." But as time wore on — I realized more and more — you weren’t coming back.
     And further I fell into the pit of despair.
     I wanted you back, but always prevented myself from putting my face into the wind, and heading to the one and only lead I had left for you. Where you worked in Greensboro. I thought about surprising you at work. I thought about showing up there just to see whether you even remembered me. Sometimes, I would imagine it a wonderfully romantic and just a little bit tearful reunion… The meeting of two incomplete souls suddenly becoming whole once again… But more often times, I imagined you would be shocked at me for the audacity I could do such a thing now that your life and your heart has been put together… And that you already have another boyfriend and you were as content as can be… It was because of the later I never followed through on that whim of finding you — for fear that the heartbreak of such news would cause would rend my heart more than I could bear.
     But that never stopped me from hoping you would still show up — following the beacon and the candle I had lit for you on the Internet to find me. And still there had been no sign.
     Things change as things do… It became impossible for me to stay in Atlanta any longer because of the blacklisting I had received from the agency I had worked for, for so long. I couldn’t land jobs in my field because of the outrageous requirements too many places plaved for the certificates and diplomas/degrees — even so much as them asking for such jobs that never required them before. And so, I left Atlanta behind to head to stay with friends in Pennsylvania because facing them would be easier than facing my family — as you are all too keenly aware.
     While [my friends] had helped me for as long as they could — they had even run into issues in their own lives that made it impossible for them to continue. And while they tried as they might — and sort of still do by storing what little I have in my possession — I find myself currently homeless.
     And I still think of you.
     I sometimes wonder — is my thinking of you love? Is it merely the obsession of wanting what I had wrecked back, in the hopes of righting what I had wronged? Is it both? Or is it something more? I have thought on this, and I just don’t know…
     What I do know is this…
     I miss talking to you. I miss your ability to use just a single word to descrie how you felt that challenged me to see all the meanings you possibly meant. I miss talking to you well past the middle of the night, when you used to get home from work. I miss your sense of humour that always caught me off-guard.
     Every time it rains in the middle of the night, I find myself thinking about that sunday night you had stayed over, waking me up concerned that my heartbeat was wrong, and the passions that followed to prove nothing was. Everytime it is bright and overcast, I remember leaning through the window of your car and kissing you good-bye, and seeing the green in your eyes and the contentment in your smile.
     Sometimes when my phone used to ring, I think it’s going to be your calling — telling me you got home safe after the drive. But then I remember that was another lifetime, and another person ago. It’s not today. It’s not who I currently am.
     Seven months later, and your birthday only yesterday, and I realize two things. The first being the obvious — that you are now 26. The second is that you still have my heart, and all that I have left is my pain and my shame to remind me of just how wrong I was not to trust you and have faith in you.
     I ask myself, "Do I want my heart back?" And my answer is, "only if you come back with it." I would love to promise you the moon and the stars that things would be better this time around… But I also know just how unrealistic that would be…
     Will — I’ve been to hell and would be willing to stau there if only I got one word from you to tell me I’m forgiven for the hurt and the pain and the heartbreak I had caused you. I don’t ever expect you back in my life, nor would I expect you to want to rebuild the bridge I had so haphazardly burned. I realize those are unrealistic dreams build on the clouds in the sky, and it’s something I just shouldn’t do anymore.
     I will be content to know you are the last man in my life, I had come so close to loving, "…truly, madly, deeply…" I realize the only thing I have to remind me of you is a ring, a couple of pictures, our conversations online that are now archived, and the memories of that turned upside-down weekend that started so badly, and ended so wonderfully.
     I miss you Will… I still love you… And if it means waiting forever and another lifetime… then that’s what I’m willing to do. It is the one thing I can promise.

Michael Andrew


     I was rend apart writing that letter because I had found myself baring my feelings and my heart in places I really shouldn’t have. While I thought that I had done well in writing that letter — little did I know that it would set up an emotional implosion of epic proportions. A month later — after going through the bullshit at Reese — I made the decision that it was time to find Will and either make amends with him, or try to rekindle the thing that I felt I had destroyed. In the meantime, I had met a man at the Mission that I chose to open up and tell him everything about Will, about how I was feeling about him, and about my being gay… (His name is Dave K… And I’ll be getting to him in a later section).
     A week after I had quit my job at Reese, and opened up/came out at the mission about my being gay… About all the hurt, the depression and the heartache I had put myself through, at the same time I was steeling myself up for a trip South to North Carolina, to go find Will and make amends with him — I decide to make a stop at Jeannie’s to tell here about the bullshit at Reese, and what I wanted to do next. I went upstairs to check my e-mails on my computer, and see what else I needed to do online, when I find myself staring at an e-mail in MySpace I didn’t expect to ever see.
     It was from Will…
     It was 10 days old…
     The gist of the e-mail was that he had stated that he had tried looking for me at my apartment in Atlanta in December, and found out that I had since moved. He had also mentioned that he had found me quite by accident on MySpace, and wanted to re-establish contact with me because he had felt foolish for what he had done. He also said something about ‘…understanding that if I had moved on and didn’t want to re-establish contact with him…"
     I had stayed over that night because it took me close to six hours to get myself together to write him an e-mail telling him that I so did want to get back in touch with him because I had so much to say.. I also left him the number to Jeannie’s so he could get in contact with me, and the times I would be readily available to call back, and tried my best to get as much sleep as I could — given the excitement, anticipation, relief, and fear I was feeling at the time. Needless to say I got only two and a half, maybe three hours of sleep that night — because I couldn’t believe that Will finally looked for me before taking the leap of faith.
     The next day, ten minutes before I was getting ready to hop on the next public transit bus to head back to the Mission, Will called me. I knew it was him the instant I saw the area code, even if the name didn’t come through on the caller ID. We spoke on the phone for about an hour, with me telling him precisely how I felt for him, what I had been planning to do on heading down to see him, and even how much I wanted him back in my life.
     Unfortunately, he hadn’t expected what I had to say to him, as he had indeed moved on with his life, told me that he had been seeing someone, and that all he wanted from me was friendship… While it had sort of shocked and hurt me, I was determined still to follow through with heading down there anyway, with part of me hoping that seeing him face to face would convince him that maybe there was still something there to rekindle. I didn’t tell him that I was heading down immediately. I think the surprise that he had moved on had caused me to be more cautious about simply blurting it out.
     So I went back to the mission and thought about it for a while before I would call him back and tell him I was coming.. I have to admit that I had tried for a couple of days… The first day I did, he was working on way too little sleep, making him quite punchy and giddy. The next time I called, I had called him while he was catching up with his sleep, and he barely could understand what I was trying to tell him, let alone remember it. Took a couple of days before calling him, but when I did — I did it while I was at Jeannie’s again (more for the privacy than anything else).
     Needless to say that he was quite surprised and even sounded more than a little put off over the thought that I was coming down to see him. He tried stressing to me, that when I had told him that I had a choice between heading north to seeing/dealing with family, and heading south and meeting up with him — I should stick to heading north and dealing with family instead. He said that it would be better for me to deal with family than him because in his opinion, ‘family should come first, as it would with [him]’.
     I explained to Will the dangers of dealing with family first, considering that the last thing I needed was having a soft spot with the way some folk within my family react when I try talking with them with an exposed soft-spot. So I thought about it a little more, and then made my decision that I would head south first. However, when I called Will back to tell him this — I also made it a point that at no time did he ever feel obliged to see me at any time, and that at all times there would be a safe space and boundaries that if at any time he felt uncomfortable, he could just leave without feeling obligated towards me in any way. He said okay, and I set the date for leaving from Pennsylvania on March 4th arriving in Greensboro 5th March.

     Seeing Will there at my door after 8 months was a warming feeling. Chatting with him — well what little I was able to do the first night I had seen him because he had his roommate in tow — was a reminder of what I missed. Unfortunately on the first night — Will was able to reinforce precisely what it was he was looking for from me, and why he was looking for it. It was a strange thing though… What he was saying, didn’t quite gibe with what I know of someone seeking out someone platonically… But looking at him across the table while we were having coffee, and seeing his eyes go from hazel to bright blue when I said to him, "I love you" I knew right then and there — no matter the temptation of simply being platonic with him — I needed to get lost, and stay lost.
     I wanted still to tell Will precisely what I was going through for the last eight months, even though he couldn’t tell me what he was going through in that time — so I tried to schedule meeting with him for another day before I left for home (Woonsocket, RI) which was only a couple of days away. I also wanted to return his ring to him — the very ring I’ve been carrying with me as a promise and a hope for reuniting with him.
     I didn’t get the chance to say what I wanted to say to him on that Tuesday either. For one — his friend Brad and Brad’s girlfriend Heather came along — and they had pretty much dominated the conversation when they could. Which when I look back at it in retrospect — I’m glad for it, because it prevented me from saying something stupid, or maudlin, or rash that could cause more pain to Will than I would like to cause. And the other reason was that his work called and wanted him in earlier than normal for Tuesday, which meant that I only had a couple of minutes to actually say some of the things I wanted to say… In the end though — I said nothing that I wanted to say.
     I told him that being his friend, no matter how good the intention is, he had called it right that the temptation would be just too great for me to want to fight for what I believe is right.
     He told me he respected my exile, even if he didn’t think it was necessary.
     I told him that I was fortunate in falling in love three times in my life… (Tommy, Darin, and him) And with this love, I apparently needed to learn, "I love you, goodbye." And I left on that, wishing him well, and peace. 
     I so wanted to hug him. But I couldn’t do it. I feared I wouldn’t want to let him go.
     There are still so many things that I want to write and say. All the things that I should put together and say, just so that for the next eight months, I don’t walk around with them in my head and heart and set myself up for a repeat of my emotional implosion I went through around Valentine’s Day. I might do that in a journal entry later on… Right now though — I have other issues to discuss.

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