DELVING BETWEEN THE TOES OF LIFE....I AM TOEJAM


2002-12-07 - 8:19 p.m.

I knew E. was someone I could have a meaningful and lasting relationship with the first time he stayed over and I left him a little note in the morning when I left for work. I had rushed home that day and found that not only had he answered my note, but he had taken it with him. It now rests safely within a stack of other notes I have given him on E.ís dresser 4,000 miles away.

I used to leave my ex-boyfriend little notes in the morning when I left. There was hardly ever a reason for it, I just wanted him to wake to something that might touch his heart, that might linger with him throughout his day, make him smile a little. For five years I did that, for five years I would go to work and somehow in the back of my head think that maybe he had left me a little note in response. But almost always I would rush home only to find that my note was left sitting exactly where I had left it, no response, not even a quick ďI love youĒ added to it. This past spring I was cleaning out my house, depositing large amounts of my past into a huge dumpster, getting rid of everything I could so I was no longer working with the old but inventing the new. I had pulled my dresser out and found in a dusty corner, an old note I had left for him. One of the many unanswered notes from the past. I sat there for a long moment, not quite knowing what to do with it. Throwing it away was so sad, it felt like a betrayal...but I had no need for it, just as he has seemingly had no need for it. I donít remember what I ultimately ended up doing with it, I donít know if I indeed threw it away, or if I stuck it within the folds of a book or something and will come across it again. But what I do remember is that a few weeks later, when I had to see him because I had locked my keys in my car and he had the only spare set, he asked me for that note, the note that had fallen behind my dresser. He wanted that and he wanted a picture that had also fallen behind there.

I had called him that morning, though there were other things I could have done to get my keys, the first thing I did was call him. Perhaps I had wanted to see him, I donít remember. He told me to meet him at one of the stores on his sales route. My friend was here from Iowa that day so she and I strode into the store, she was full of my stories about him, about how irrational he had become, how he argued with me about the breakup, how he was treating the breakup like a court battle...he would remind me, ďBut you said you would never break up with me,Ē as though that was his winning argument, as though I would take him back because I had once said that. I saw him at the end of the aisle, looking forlorn, his eyes found way to me and a more crestfallen look stole whatever remnant of life he might have had on his face. For a moment I had paused, wanting to do whatever I could to help alleviate his pain, but I gathered my strength and purposefully walked towards him. He gave me my keys and then asked Nicole if he could have a minute alone with me. Thatís when he asked me for the picture and the note. He said, ďthere is a note that fell behind your dresser a long time ago, and a picture, I want them since you no longer seem to care about those things, I need something to remember you by.Ē It was then that it occurred to me that one of the biggest things missing in our relationship was his acceptance of the moment. With him is was always...someday. Weíll have a big, perfect house....someday. But he wouldnít start anywhere, he wouldnít get a smaller, less perfect house to start with, he wanted it all and until he could have it all he wouldnít live in the moment. He is one of those people for whom TODAY isnít good enough. My notes, those little things I did daily to remind him how much I loved him didnít matter until I broke up with him, then suddenly he wanted them. Wanted something else to remind him that TODAY sucks and will never be good enough because his girlfriend broke up with him.

When I broke up with him he spent a year doing nothing but going to work and then locking himself in a room for the rest of the day. He didnít go out with his friends, he didnít do anything. He just wallowed. The ironic thing is that if he had grasped TODAY, if he had taken something good out of our breakup, (because that is all you can do when something bad happens if you have any hope of ever being happy again, you must take something from the bad and make it good) and done something to make TODAY a good day, I probably would have taken him back. But he didnít. He just shut down. And I moved on. I wanted someone in life for whom the things I do matter, I wanted someone who would take my notes, or answer my notes, someone who would make it known that my presence in their life matters. TODAY.

I canít tell you how my ex is faring these days because I havenít spoken with him since August, it was a one sided conversation, I had called him for his birthday, he had just sat on the other end of the line giving me one word responses to the questions I had asked. His friends tell me he wonít date, his sister tells me that he is getting better, he doesnít lock himself in his room quite as much and he is becoming more open but he still wonít date because according to him I was perfect and it had taken him 26 years to find me and he didnít have that kind of time any more. But he ignores my existence, he didnít call me on my birthday, he doesnít even acknowledge my friends if he runs into them someplace. He is still wallowing, after a year and a half, he has yet to place his feet in TODAY and live. I want so much to grab him by his throat, shake him, tell him how much of his life he has wasted by not grasping TODAY. He is thirty three years old and he has yet to live. I look back and find that I too got sucked into that, for five years I believed in SOMEDAY, but never TODAY. I wasted five years and I still took something away from that. I learned lessons I never would have known....and because of those lessons, because I allowed myself to take something good out of the bad, I ended up happier than I ever could have believed. And he just wallows waiting for SOMEDAY.

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