Dusting Out the Attic


Cobwebs grow in such amazing patterns.  A spider can take months, maybe even years, to spin its intricate web.  Some webs are incredible, and some are haphazard, as if the spider put no effort into it.  Even though they have been around for 100 million years, in one second, with one hasty, thoughtless move, a web can easily be destroyed.  And so it goes with relationships.

I have spent a great deal of time lately reflecting on my relationships of the past.  The most difficult relationship was, and still is, the one with my mother.  Through reading others’ journeys with a narcissistic parent, I learned a great deal about my own.  Writing is a release for the emotions and thoughts that I cannot yet vocalize when it comes to my childhood. One would think that this relationship haunts me the most.  On the contrary, there is one relationship that has lived in my attic rent free for over 20 years now.

When I was 19, I met a man who was a couple of years older than me.  We had one of those instantaneous friendships, flirtatious and giddy when we were together.  I looked forward to seeing him at every chance because he literally made my heart sing.  We were involved in other relationships, and tried to get our timing right to explore our feelings, but weren’t able to until years later.  In my early twenties, we reconnected.  I have never since felt the overwhelming emotions, the passion, nor the undying love that I felt at that time in my life.  We married on Valentine’s Day, over 20 years ago.

“The future for me is already a thing of the past –
You were my first love, and you will be my last”
Bob Dylan

As it turns out, he was even more flawed that me.  Deep conversations were a rarity, but the profound connection that I had with him besieges me to this very day.  Long story short, we married and moved away from our hometown, family, friends, our life.  Actually, to say we moved is an understatement.  We fled.  We escaped.  We liberated ourselves from the past, but also, in turn, from the present.  We started fresh without saying a word to each other to that effect.  And that, my friends, was the problem.

As terribly damaged people, we rarely spoke about our lives before each other.  We lived in the moment, which was about as much as we could handle.  Both exceptionally immature, we struggled with the day to day life activities such as paying bills and cooking meals.  We seemed happy together, as happy as we both could be considering the circumstances of our pasts.

We hid our secrets well from each other, though over the years, hints of the abuse we endured surfaced.  In those moments, we deflected whatever feelings arose so we could continue to deny the past.  Even this day, I am not sure exactly what pains he suffered as a child, but when the events happened that triggered some memory, some feeling, some pain in him, the effects of it twisted his mind at times until I no longer perceived him as the man that I loved.  It was as if during these times, he began a descent into becoming someone else for a while.  Unrecognizable to me.

Slowly, he came back to me after a time, but that span that he was afflicted expanded with each incident.  I saw the man that made my heart sing slowly turning into someone I could no longer recognize more often than not.  After an explosion, the details of which I cannot even vaguely remember, I walked away.  I spoke with him a few times shortly after, but he never said the words I longed to hear, but then again I was really good at hearing only what I want to hear.

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I never stopped thinking about him or the impact that eight year relationship had on my life. Because of this lost connection, the deep seated feelings of loss engulfed my heart, like a shield of protection from any affection that came my way from other men because of my fear of loving so deeply and being hurt again.  My heart was over-tired of the love that I once desired.  If I were honest with myself, the longing for that love that dwelled in my heart remained long after, and still remains today.

Letting go of anger and blame has brought such clarity to my mind in so many aspects of my life.  I have not loved a love so true, and am certain I never will.  I have to let go of the anger I have for myself for not holding on, for walking away.  Still, am I to be content without that burning craving that lingers in my heart without acting upon it?  Just being content leaves me with the feeling that something is missing in my life.  For over 20 years, I wondered what it could be, and now, dusting out the attic, I know exactly what it is.



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