Chapter 26 – Reflections
There’s one way of seeing our relationship…
I’m sorry. I’m sorry for everything. I’m sorry for pushing you away and being so defensive all the time. I’m sorry for making you feel like you didn’t matter in comparison to my writing and my travelling. I’m sorry for gloating to you about my grandiose plans of leaving you behind and settling down in South America to bang hot Latina chicks when, in reality, I already had all that I ever wanted when you were in my arms and I was too scared to admit how frightened I was of losing you – how terrified I was that I’d have to choose between satisfying a maniacal need to chase my dreams and the person with whom I felt I had one of the strongest connections I’d ever felt in my entire life. I wanted you so bad but knew I could never give up my dreams and instead of having a conversation with you about these feelings that were tearing me apart, I began to sabotage the relationship. I’m sorry for taking the gift certificate to the local bakery near your house in Hangzhou that you’d given me for my birthday and handing it off to a random homeless guy as you and I’d been walking down the street. I’m sorry for that one night in Shanghai when I was feeling so insecure that I couldn’t help but get excessively drunk in front of you, explicitly say in front of all those people we were hanging out with that you’re not my girlfriend and then hit on the bartender before capping off the evening by mumbling about how much I hate myself, yakking and passing out on the bathroom floor of the apartment we shared together. You’re absolutely right. I am fucked up. And I hope you know how especially sorry I am for all the pain my immature way of handling my emotions may have caused you.
Ever since I’d made my decision to leave without ever even having asked you how you felt about our future, I’ve struggled to accept the consequences. When I think of you, I wanna think of you as mine and I want for things to be the way they once were. But they can’t and the thought drives me insane. It leads me to say things to you that I don’t really mean that push you even farther away. It fucking kills me knowing that I’m no longer the guy you trust enough to rely on or let your guard down around. That I’ll never again be the guy you read the same book as or watch a movie with and have a conversation about it afterwards. That I’ll never be the guy fortunate enough to get to listen to the details of your day when you come home from your dream job as a film director. That we’re continually doing nothing but growing further apart instead of closer together. That there’s nothing I could do or say to make you love me.
I don’t blame you for wanting to put me in the past. I mean, I know letting go is the only way either of us will ever be able to break out of the ugly pattern we’d fallen into, take the time to heal properly and grow into the people we wanna be. But that doesn’t mean actually doing so hurts any less. I know you’ll be just fine without me and I the same without you. And I know one day I’ll learn to be genuinely happy for you and the life you’ve built for yourself. But I can’t be your friend right now, because the wounds are just too raw and I still haven’t learned how to reconcile the fact that I cannot have both your heart and the life that I’ve chosen to live.
Wishing you the world,
Timothy J. Lally
…and then there’s the other…
I’m sorry, I don’t understand. Do you not have a soul? After all the time we spent together in four different countries, not to mention the countless hours you and I sat face-to-face intimately video-chatting with one another, you’re gonna break it off with me not by having a conversation but by telling me via instant message that you just fucked four dudes while on vacation and then start laughing about it when I break down and cry in front of you on my webcam?
And now here we are a year-and-a-half later. Since I’m not shy about my feelings, I’ll admit that it’s been a year-and-a-half I’ve spent missing you like a motherfucker. And since one of the last things you told me after rubbing your four dude fuck fest in my face was how fucked up I am and how I “need a shrink,” it was also a year-and-a-half that I spent wondering what shortcoming or personality defect of mine drove you to so abruptly cut me out of your life when I thought we shared something so very special together. That said, you can only imagine how shocked I’d been a couple weeks ago when answering a call from an unknown number on my cell phone and hearing your voice on the other end.
The conversation we had was great. After apologizing to one another, the way we talked for hours reminded me of the way things once were. But not only that, the way we both talked about family being the most important thing and how we both eventually wanted kids and would be willing to make sacrifices to have these things made me think that there’d actually remained a spark between us. And that’s why I bought a ticket to come out and spend the weekend with you before you got all busy with your film school classes. You warned me that you weren’t gonna have sex with me. I said that that was cool because I believed that the bond we shared was more than just something physical. You agreed.
The whole plane ride over, I’d been dreaming of putting my arms around you and telling you how much I missed you. But when I got off the subway nearest your place and saw you walking towards me, you didn’t even say “hi.” Instead, the first thing you did was ask me if I had any money I could give you to buy a box of Kleenex from the local CVS. Your disdain for me in the flesh left me feeling quite stupid but I shrugged it off, bought you the 2-ply snot rags of your choosing and kept on hoping for the best.
Then back at your apartment, you proceeded to tell me how much you missed your British boyfriend, how your heart ached in his absence and how you wished the pain of living without him would relent. And not only that, but you also felt the need to show me on your Facebook, photos of other guys you’d been sleeping with as well as the new full-length mirror in your bedroom that you told me you planned on standing in front of while getting fucked from behind by an assortment of nondescript hot dudes. And you wonder why I preferred sleeping on the floor over sharing a bed with you Friday and Saturday night.
I don’t know who you are. And I don’t know how I ever allowed myself to fall so deeply in love with you. How could you look me in the face and literally say, “I don’t care about anyone but myself,” and actually mean it? It makes me wonder if you ever even gave a shit about me at all. And I don’t understand why I’ve spent all this time since I’ve last seen you basing my self-esteem on your acceptance of me, or lack thereof – wanting so bad for you to believe in me and support my dreams the way I always supported yours both intangibly and by helping you through your film school application process.
Also, how are you gonna sit there and try to tell me that I have no ambition when I’ve dedicated the last five years of my life to writing two books, paying off fifty-thousand dollars’ worth of student loans and pinching every penny to fulfill my dream of seeing the world? And how can you say I’m still just as fucked up as I was a year-and-a-half ago when I’ve been working so hard to face my problems head-on and become a better person? I just don’t get it. Of course I’m defensive around you – how do you expect me to not shut down when, every time I try to open up, you tell me that my interests are stupid, my beliefs are stupid and that I’m an idiot. And where the fuck do you get off criticizing my receding hairline and telling me I look ten years older than I really am? I hope you know that if your aim was to maim me this past weekend, you did a fantastic fucking job. Congratulations.
You say you don’t want a relationship with me which I can understand since we don’t live in the same city and I’m always travelling and we have this fucked up history between us, but to label us as friends? If your idea of friendship is verbally abusing me to the point that I lash out at you and then follow up by telling me that I’m too sensitive, I don’t wanna be your friend. In fact, if you think it’s okay to treat me or anyone else that way, I think you should go fuck yourself.
Timothy J. Lally
P.S. One more thing – I know you wanna pretend you’re really refined now because you think it’s cool to sit around with self-important dweebs and talk about politics and wanna look down on me because of my hippie idealism and all that shit, but try not to forget that it hasn’t even been a full two years since you videotaped me taking a shit into the top tank of a toilet in a Chinese hotel room and had a good laugh about it with me afterwards. Maybe I’ll see ya around if you ever decide to come back down to earth…until then, have fun being alone in your little – and I quote – “I’m not stuck-up, I just think everyone else is an idiot” world.