I’ve been working diligently on this book called The Unboyfriend. It’s basically a written mixed tape of all my exes and a personal exploration of why I have the relationship issues that I have. I started this book because of a man I called my unboyfriend. His name was Trey, but whenever I talked to anyone about him, I would say, “I was with my unboyfriend last night and (blah blah blah)” because he was never really my boyfriend. He was my “un” boyfriend.
When I started this book, it was originally going to be about this one and only relationship, but it soon occurred to me that he was just a chapter in a long line of chapters leading me to where I am today, which is either really well put together as my mom thinks or really fucked up which is what I think. So I’ve worked on this book and I’m not even halfway finished, but when I started this chapter, which was also the beginning of the book at the time, I had to stop and work on other chapters because I got so heartsick every time that I couldn’t finish the chapter. Even though the relationship was finished, I hadn’t metaphorically turned the page and if I finished the chapter, it was going to be the closure that I wasn’t sure I wanted. I woke up really early today and I finished the chapter. Well, I thought I finished the chapter. I felt like I did, because when I put the last period on the page, I had to fight back the tears. But then when I started to read it again I hated it so much that I tried to start it over and the irony of it is so painful. It’s an exact replica of our whole relationship. “I’m done. I’m not done. I’m over it. I want to try again. The story is finished. I’m not ready for it to end.” So needless to say, I’m feeling particularly weepy and nostalgic today so I’m going to share a piece of my heart with you. Here is an excerpt from the chapter that may never be finished. This is an unedited version that is subject to change (and most likely will), but for now, this is it, my heart, in a nutshell:
And still, every time I would walk by his house and see that she was there, practically living there, probably living there and he was giving her even more than I had ever asked, there was a part of me that would smile and be happy for him. It was the other part of me, the arsonist, who still wanted to light his whole world on fire and make it look like an accident. After days and weeks of fighting that urge, I woke up one morning and it had dawned on me that I would have never wanted what he was giving her, anyway. The reason I even started seeing him, like I said, was because he was everything I never ever wanted long term. He was a self-proclaimed hot head, not that I ever saw that side of him. With me he was always a teddy bear, but that side did exist. He had spent a long time in solitude. Most of his life. Although he may have been in touch with his feelings he was never willing to share them with me. He drank. Daily. That’s always been a deal breaker for me. He smoked cigarettes. I’m sensitive to smoke. He snored. Sleep apnea snored, where he would stop breathing, and I would nudge him in the middle of the night so he would start again, but if he was breathing, he was snoring and he always fell asleep first. He didn’t like going out to public places, although he did take me to my favorite restaurant once and made my heart happy momentarily. But only once. The rest of the time, my heart was in turmoil. I would arm wrestle with my emotions versus my logic. Sometimes my emotions would win. Sometimes my logic was triumphant. Every time I told him I couldn’t do it anymore, he was always very supportive. He just wanted me to be happy, but he didn’t want it if it meant my happiness was dependent on his actions or his words. My happiness wasn’t dependent on those things. I was always happy. That’s why he liked me. My happiness with him was dependent on those things and that was what he didn’t get about me. I could be happy with or without him once I walked out the door. But he knew I wanted so much more than he could offer. Or would offer, I guess. So we had our ons and our offs. And I loved him. I didn’t love him more than I had ever loved anyone else, but I did love him differently than I had ever loved anyone else. It all goes back to knowing someone and he was the first person who really knew me. The most fucked up thing about it is that if he would have agreed to give me more time or introduce me to his family or come to meet mine or did any of those things that would insinuate a real relationship, I would have eventually gotten tired of it and walked. He wouldn’t do those things and so I walked anyway. At the time I didn’t realize that about me, but he did. He understood my darkness even though I couldn’t wrap my mind around his and it terrified me and thrilled me at the same time. But he was a learning experience that I needed. I still think about him every day and I want to call or text to check on him but I can’t. Or I won’t. I will just continue to love him from around the corner.