Delete

Out of sight, out of mind.

I am … deleted.

It’s been a year and a day since the beginning of the end, and I am hurting. She, I’m quite confident, is not.

By all indications she has effectively deleted me from her browser history. The changes have been gradual, like an afterthought. I’m not sure why I mentioned that I noticed she deleted me from Waze when we were at the vet with Kiwi, but she played dumb – “No.. I did? I didn’t mean to, it must have been when I was playing with the settings”. Sure. Is that also what happened to our Messenger conversation, erased from existence? If you’re not deleting these things, who is?

I see that I’m also fully deleted from her Facebook history, too. Uh, I used someone’s account left open at work to take a peek-see, since I am blocked (Hey, I’m an curious opportunist, not a creepy stalker. Don’t judge me). Nearly 19 years, about 10 of them on Facebook, and only one photo of the two of us remains on her page – a photo in which I look to be about #220. Awesome, and thanks.

You know, it’s one thing to be replaced. It’s yet another to be deleted and utterly invisible. Gone.

I no longer exist in her world, past or present, and that just shatters my heart. If I wasn’t convinced (and I wasn’t) that our entire time spent together was a “waste” before, she solidifies it in her pushing me out and away. Not only do I find it impossible to do the same, I don’t want to. I don’t want to delete half my life. Love Bomb and I may have encountered some choppy waters over the years, but we shared so very much, we were the very best of friends, and we loved each other for a very, very long time. I, for one, don’t want to deny or forget any of that, even when it tears me apart.

Is it unreasonable that I’m still mourning? Is my lingering sadness irrational? I don’t think so. We divorced after almost 19 years, why in the world wouldn’t I be sad? A year is NOT that long.

The fact that she’s not sad, never seemed to be sad, never mourned or questioned her own motives, now THAT’S irrational. To be 52 years old and have never spent one solitary day since adolescence unattached in a relationship, THAT’S unreasonable.

As I drove to work this morning, I watched tiny late-spring flakes land on my windshield. There on the passenger side, I noticed smudge marks on the glass. Footprints. A full year later, and her footprints remain from where she’d prop her feet up on the dashboard. Apparently, it’s time to muck out the car 😬 … and I know that I’ll pause over that smudge. Unlike her, I hesitate to erase the past. Even the dirty parts.

But that’s not it. My three-minute commute also involved a Guns n’ Roses song that ushered in another cache of memories: “Swee-ee-eet chi-ii-ii-ii-ii-ild, chi-ii-ii-ii-ii-ild of mii-ee-eeeeine” … Once upon a time, I belted that tune out with Axl Rose and made Love Bomb laugh. I can’t hear that most songs and not think of her. It happens all the time, be it on the radio, a title sequence for a show, or a smudge on a window.

God damn, it’s every song I used to love.

Let’s be clear, just because I am reminded of her does not mean that I want her back. No, sir. I tend to believe that the emotions I’m feeling are normal. It’s what she’s done that isn’t. It isn’t normal to file 19 years away as easily as stuffing a file into the far reaches of a cabinet and locking the drawer, never to be vulnerable in that connection ever again. I’m reminded of some terminology I used early in the separation: Bandwidth. She simply doesn’t have the bandwidth to deal with things in her life that are unsavory. She can’t deal with a break-up appropriately (and never has). She can’t deal with severing ties to a man who abused her, and with whom she maintains a dysfunctional relationship. She didn’t have the bandwidth to even consider trying to work through some of the kinks in our relationship. She files that uncomfortable stuff away because she just wants to “have fun”: her words – the desires of someone in her 50’s who doesn’t have the bandwidth to grow the fuck up.

“…someone who believes leaving and giving up isn’t an option.” Ha. Well, better luck next time?  (credit: @unwrittendiary)

Grief and Valentines

There’s something especially dread-worthy about Valentine’s Day this year – my first V-Day alone since I was pubescent. Not that I remember doing anything particularly memorable for this Hallmark Holiday in many, many years. It’s a similar feeling to New Year’s at the stroke of midnight – like, I know what you’re doing out there … without me. I actually do remember how exciting firsts are with a new luh-huh-ver (channeling Adele) – major holidays, that New Year’s midnight kiss, “Our First Valentine’s Day”. Gah, especially if you’re both Love Bombs. It’s sure to be an extravaganza! I’m imagining flowers (delivered to work for ultimate impact), cards, chocolates, bubble baths (I seem to recall a trail of rose petals that led from the front door all the way to the tub back when weeeee were young (yep, Adele again) and celebrating our first V-Day). And there will be sex. More sex than I’ve had in years. YEARS I TELL YOU.

Left behind is a shitty place to be on Valentine’s Day.

Maybe it wouldn’t hurt so bad if I didn’t know how they relish in my pain. Social media is a real kick in the ass in this modern age of breaking up. Well, that is before I was fully blocked. Blocking, I discovered, was often strategic. I’d be blocked for a bit *until* a flower delivery and then someone would make sure that I could see that bidness. Honestly, I don’t need to do my own research (er, mild stalking?), someone typically sends me a screenshot or mentions a particularly intriguing (or revolting) post. Love Bomb and I share over 100 friends on Facebook, and there are people looking out for me, many of whom are not impressed with how quickly and easily I was replaced.

But New Girl and Love Bomb, they’re laughing AT me and at my expense, “Haha’ing” on posts that, clearly, are about me. Strategic.

Love Bomb didn’t do that shit to “Caroline”, whom she dumped – for me. It was clear all along that she actually had a sense of remorse, guilt, and a certain degree of sorrowful respect for the one she left behind with no explanation or warning. Granted, we didn’t have social media back then (because OLD), but I certainly never laughed at or talked shit about Caroline – ever. I felt guilty and horrible with the knowledge that she was left alone, traded in and replaced. And I … I was the home wrecker. I desperately hoped she might find it in her heart to forgive me someday. We were civil, but was there forgiveness? In hindsight, no, I don’t think so. Not with the knowledge I not only understand, but now share about just how terribly it hurts to be replaced without so much as a real conversation. She was just better at maintaining a friendship with Love Bomb, despite me. She was a better, stronger person than I. She was better at hiding the pain.

Love Bomb and Caroline had a special, undeniable connection. If you couldn’t tell by looking thru just a few of the 9 years worth of photos of a life they shared, it was unmistakable when it came to Caroline’s passing.

Yes, Caroline died. In hospice care – in a room overcrowded with other dying people.

She should have died in her home. The home they purchased and made theirs. The home I was sharing with Love Bomb at the time. A home I never really felt comfortable in. It wasn’t mine.

The morning Caroline died started much like any other. Love Bomb got in the shower while I enjoyed a few more minutes of shut-eye. Her shower was brief; she dressed quickly. She came in to the bedroom and announced that she had to go see Caroline before work. She said she felt an urgent need to go to hospice, like, right now. And so she did.

In some cosmic sort of way Caroline summoned Love Bomb, waited for her, and moments later, she passed away.

I, for one, feel horrendously guilty, and I wonder if it ever occurs to Love Bomb that she threw away a relationship with someone that she was genuinely cosmically connected to. She brushed it off, “everything happens for a reason”, and explained: “I couldn’t have managed that loss if we were still together”. It would have been devastating, of course. Maybe she’s right – maybe she couldn’t have dealt with that loss – she won’t manage the loss of people who are still living and breathing. She will NOT be alone.

Caroline, I’m so sorry that I was a part of your loss, and that by participating in an adolescent game of passion, I took so much more than just your best friend and partner. I wish we all would have done things differently. Soon, I’ll do an entry about the things we tell ourselves to make ourselves feel better in light of the crappy things we do and say. I think back on those excuses now and can hardly stand myself. My only solace is that I’ve done the hard work to let the grief in; I’ve reflected upon, grown, and learned from my mistakes. I did not appreciate that my 22 year old self could actually change lives and futures forever. I was thoughtless and impulsive, and 22 was my excuse. At 43, one birthday more than you ever enjoyed, Caroline, I get it now, and I’m sorry.

I wonder what you did that first Valentine’s Day alone in 1999 as I followed a trail of rose petals to my tub. Are you laughing at me now? Do you laugh just like they do?