Soooo. After five years together, the Object and I are splitting up.
The details are pretty mundane. Stock language: we still care about each other, lives in different directions, smickety smackety blah blah blah.
I called the end a few weeks ago. The Object came home once again a few hours after he said he’d be home and more than a few drinks in. I asked where he’d been.
“I guess I lost track of time,” he said lamely. I felt so lonely. I don’t think lonely is how you’re supposed to feel in a relationship. I was silent for a long time, processing a million fragments of thoughts that refused to coalesce into anything coherent.
Finally, I responded, “I don’t want to look back at my late twenties and early thirties and think I just lost track of time.”
You know how when you haven’t worked out in a while and you go for a run, you wake up sore, thinking Jeez, I forgot I even had those muscles? My emotions have run a similarly dull, aching gamut over the past few weeks. Emotions rusted over from lack of use have burbled up to the surface. Some are brand spanking new. At times they feel corrosive and burn like acid, other times they’re liberating.
One moment, my heart feels like a peach that’s been rolling around in the Object’s messenger bag for weeks, jostling next to his bike lock, coming out every day a little more bumped and bruised. Sometimes I’m even convinced he’s got a steel cheese grater in there.
Other times, my heart feels like a gelatinous ball that’s gotten stuck in the middle of my esophagus. I felt similar when my Dad died. When he died, it felt like a tight, hard knot that wouldn’t budge, no matter how hard I swallowed. But with the Object, the ball isn’t so tight and constricting. At times, it feels like it’s glowing, alive with possibility. Those times, the knot feels warm, and like any moment, it could release and flood me with hope for what’s next to come.
After a week in which the Object pulled almost every jackass move in the douchebag breakup kit, we’re back on good terms.
Well, today, anyways.
He gave me a poignant parting gift, albeit with strings attached. It’s a print the awesome illustrator Mike Lowery made called The Novelist. It’s a simple outline of a man, drawn in black and white, standing satisfied over a typewriter. The Object bought it some years back, hoping to frame it, but never did. He explained the significance of the print to me. He had always wanted to be a good writer and have a plan for Big Things, especially seeing all the care I put into the Goo our first few years together. He was astounded that I bullied my way out of childhood and family drama and carved out a life for myself. But he never went through with it - framing it, or thinking out his life. But this week, he framed The Novelist for me and gave it to me on the condition that I come back to writing, and not just academic writing for school, and that I reconnect with my sense of feeling extraordinary.
So here I am.
We’ll see where I am tomorrow.