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Ghost of Relationship Past

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"Do not keep on with a mockery of friendship after the substance is gone - but part, while you can part friends. Bury the carcass of friendship: it is not worth embalming." -William Hazlitt


Twenty-three years of living on this planet, a decade of being sexually active, and five years of being openly gay, and all I have left are stories; all I’ have done is collect anecdotes. Mr. Average- * * * * , The Toddler, The Armenian, The Greek, the Anonymous Gay-Sex Addict, and countless others – each of whom represent distinct phases in my life. Like my friends’ partners, I feel that they each changed me in subtle ways. However, unlike my friends, I will never be able to call them ex-boyfriends, because they were never boyfriends. Some of them were simply months of games and flirtations. Others were sexual conquests. Some were hurried affairs and the rest are best remembered for what they could have been, and not what they actually were. While my friends sat at dinner and gabbed about roses, dates, or anniversaries – I was the boy with a bottle of lube and and a box of condoms hidden in his over-the-shoulder bag, just in case one of them called. It was self-destructive. It was unnecessary. It always ended poorly. But when it ended I never allowed myself the cathartic experience of clearing away the old and rebuilding myself anew. Instead, I simply moved on to the next. I didn’t believe I had the right to mourn the mess they left me in.


When it ended I had given them silly nicknames and turned them into stories, blog posts, and punchlines – never bothering to mourn their loss because I didn’t think I had the right to. But I did have the right, I just didn’t take it. On the three-hour bus ride from Providence to New York City I finally took the time to mourn them. I cried for each and every one of them. For five, ten, twenty-three years I had kept my tears to myself because I thought my feelings didn’t count – that it would be crying over nothing. I mourned all of the boys I used to love, and as the City came into view I began to mourn that boy, that boy who was so young and so stupid and so willing to love at all.


Tonight, after a year of barely any contact with the one person who I truly ever loved, I found peace. We decided to meet last week for coffee. Our break up was pretty bad, ending in tears and anger and the promise of no contact - forever. We obviously broke that. During our break- up, I never moved on. My heart was stuck. Sure I met new boys and dated...but none of them the same, none of them made my heart feel alive. Needless to say, he fell in love with someone else and have been dating for some time, I accepted this, but I truly couldn't understand. I couldn't mourn the loss of my love, because I had only a ghost...I needed a corpse.


Our coffee "date" went great. We talked for about an hour, reminiscing and smiling, touching each other's hands. It was like old time. It was almost worth the entire year of emptiness to feel that for just an hour. We became facebook friends and the typical things modern twenty-somethings do (texting and what not)...then he disappeared.


Tonight, I texted him demanding an explanation, indicating that the least I deserved was some semblance of why he went away. I got "I apologize for extending my hand in friendship. After we had coffee I realized that it might be best that we leave things be." That's it?! This is the love of my life here, telling me this...I needed more. So I asked. And I received "Flack from my friends that know what I went thru with you...inability for me to trust you and I don't see a healthy friendship coming from that...and I think it'll just be better for you and I to keep things uncomplicated and the way they have been going."


And then something inside me popped, like a tumor. He was a tumor. And he popped. And I felt relief for the first time in a year. I forgive him. I love him. I understand and respect him. But I want nothing to do with him.


Tonight, I took my heart back.


Tonight, I hope to offer hope to everyone who reads this that you can and will move on from your heart ache...you just have to be willing to take you heart back.


Thanks for reading.

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