Big Love

Had another dream about him last night. For someone who was my whole world ten years ago, and who now plays no part in it whatsoever, he certainly does have a way of popping into my consciousness. On a too-frequent-for-comfort basis. When I first met The Brit I felt no pull, no interest, no curiosity. Somehow he subtly won me over so completely that even now, a decade later, I’m still reacting to his accusations, laughing at his jokes, feeling like something is slightly off, or misplaced. Sometimes I wonder how I would have turned out had I continued to resist him that semester, who I would be without the experience of The Brit. Instead, I am haunted by his voice, the smell of his skin. I can still see his not-perfect smile, feel his arms around me.

Looking back, I can see how unhealthy our relationship was; I’ve labeled it emotionally abusive, or at least all-consuming, when describing it to friends; called him The One That Wasn’t to myself. When I broke it off, I was convinced I was being realistic, making the right, healthy decision, that it was the best thing for all parties involved. I felt as though I was saying goodbye to an era, to a part of me so grand I might emerge unrecognizable. Or maybe I was in despair, disgusted with how much of myself I had lost by sacrificing it to the relationship. Maybe it was the only way to get my significance and substance back.

We tried to “be friends” for a few years, only showing the best, most clever and flippant parts of ourselves to each other in emails and occasional Sunday morning phone calls. I hid the seriousness of my relationship with Monk from him, until we were engaged, then decided the Adult, Real World Love thing to do would be to come clean, ‘fess up, let honesty into what I had with The Brit (for a change). He followed my lead and revealed his years-long plan to become successful and respected, then come over to the States and win me back. He proposed in an email, to wipe out the proposal I had already accepted. I did falter, three days before my wedding, because dammit, we get ONE chance, ONE life, and I know I know, it’s not a movie and people don’t live happily ever after, and I never had the familiarity with The Brit that involved arguing about who took out the garbage last... but man, I faltered. Visions of disappearing with my passport ran through my head. I could handle the destruction I’d leave in my wake if I could have the passion, the big fights and bigger reunions, intelligent discussions, creative writings, and Unbelievably Fantastic Sex All the Time, Like In Parking Lots and Cow Pastures again. Perhaps The Brit and I really could ride off into the sunset together and maybe it wouldn’t be the biggest mistake of my life.

I married Monk. It was a beautiful ceremony and we traveled all over Spain and side-tripped to Morocco on our honeymoon. I once again Acted Like an Adult and took the possibility of keeping in touch with The Brit off the table, for many reasons, the most practical being that I didn’t need another long distance friendship (especially another that stretched across the ocean), the most irrational being that I wanted him to give me a chance to forget. But every now and then one of us will drop a line, send a teaser of what our life is like now. The other will play coy and delay responding for a bit, then send the same type of nothing back. It’s more than pointless, I am an Adult in a Marriage, he’s on the verge of the same, it’s been ten years since we left each other in the airport and we will most likely never see each other again, but part of me is digging in my heels and my nails, refusing to let him go.

I’ve never told him the truth: How he lands in my thoughts nearly every day, that I often have dreams of meeting up again, rehashing or reuniting, how it can still break my heart to wake up in the morning and realize he is absolutely no part of my current existence. Last night’s dream involved evasion, revelation, then the relief of giving in to my feelings, no matter what the consequences, or how much it would hurt Monk. The palpable physical and emotional recognition (“this is home, finally I am home”), disappearing into his arms, accepting the alternate ending, once again wrapping my arms and legs and everything I have around every part of him and what he stands for. At the dream’s conclusion, The Brit and I Hollywood-embraced halfway down a caricatured mountain, as cars came flying and tumbling over some ridge above us, pulverized windshield glass raining down around us like confetti (or rice before the romantic getaway). I wish I could tell The Brit how much of an impact he had, how the thumbprint of him and our Big Love still covers so much, how I wonder what my life would look like, were it not viewed through these smudges on the glass.

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