I've been walking around town like I sprang a leak. Someone will say something to me that triggers a memory of when the Object and I had The Perfect Relationship, our whole lives ahead of us. Come on, how many people do you know whose relationship was thinly veiled in a graphic novella?
Then I'll remember that's over. The tears trickle helplessly out of the corners of my eyes.
I'm ashamed to be out and about all splotchy and puffy-eyed like someone who's watched a little too much Lifetime Television for Women. I want to control it, to be strong, and to stay motivated and positive for the future that lies ahead of me. Sometimes I am. But I'm still grieving the Object, which leads to a cognitive dissonance when I see him in our apartment or when we email each other details moving out. I know I've made the right decision, but the part of me that wants to go back in time, armed with the hindsight I have now and warn young Goo not to do the things that I did that poisoned a beautiful love and friendship.
For the record, I don't understand how we're a decade into the 21st century and lack time travel1,2. Forced to deal with the reality of my situation in the present tense, those double XX chromosomes take over and my genetic code unleashes the tears. I keep trying to fix it, to change it, to make it better. I don't want to feel this, and I'm scared of the emotions yet to come.
It's hard to think of tears as anything less than a failure. Growing up in a houseful of boys, whenever I cried, I was always told to toughen up. But tough steeliness won't do anything for me now except make me bitter like tea that's been brewed too hot and too long. As we were going through the myriad Deep and Meaningfuls that led to the end, the Object posed me the question, "If you could change anything about your life, what would you change? I mean, other than the relationship?"
I thought. I thought more. I couldn't come up with much.
It turns out I really like my life.
I have this theory, that love and grief is like relativity: the harder you loved, the harder you grieve and the more pain you feel when love disappears. Every now and then, I have the wherewithal to remind myself that I feel this pain because I allowed myself to be vulnerable to another person. In letting the Object into my life, he helped me grow and become a person I really like being. Now that I'm letting him go, that person doesn't change.
And so I'm left with nothing to fix, not even my leaky eyes.
A friend of mine recently had an epiphany. Our friend Rich seems like a tough guy - lots of tattoos, listens to a lot of hard core punk rock, a no-frills kind of guy. Recently they were hanging out together, when Jeff Buckley's Hallelujah drifted over the airwaves. My friend noticed tears streaming down his face; Rich was weeping right there in broad daylight. Like me, she's a fixer - make things better, take away the suffering, right? She frantically raced around, finding tissues, trying to think of ways to cheer him up. But Rich waved off the tissues, smiled through his tears, and said, "No, it's ok. I just like to cry. I come from a family of weepers." He didn't need or even want to be fixed or healed; Rich was simply allowing himself to let the beauty of the song wash over him.
So I'm trying to let the tears cleanse me with my emotions, to tenderly feel the love that I had, and to grieve the loss of my very best friend. It's a lesson in trusting myself, this person who I've become that I really like being -- and who the Object helped to shape. It's scary and comforting at the same time to know that I'm not broken, but rather, a whole person complete equipped with the whole Crayola box of feeling. What good are they if they go unused?
2. Also, hoverboards.