Her license plate was WANNABEME. You know, as in the song “Me Too” from Meghan Trainor? Except it wasn’t true. She was lonely, depressed and couldn’t seem to find satisfaction in much of anything. Nobody would want to be her. She didn’t even want to be her.
She was gorgeous, sexy, brilliant and seemed to have everything she could possibly want. She could afford it and she freely spent whatever it took to obtain it. But she used to call me up and say “what’s the purpose?”. And I couldn’t answer her. God, I wanted to. I did everything I could think of, trips all over the NorthEast so she could run, marathons, half-marathons, 15ks, 10ks, whatever seemed to take the edge off. We toured Nova Scotia together. And visited wineries, breweries and climbed mountains. We drank way too much. And lived like tomorrow didn’t matter. The sex was out-of-this-world fantastic. At least when I managed to keep her demons at bay.
I LOVED her. Our interests, in all the things, were so very similar. The conversation never lagged, we never ran out of things to talk about. But when I wasn’t with her, the darkness would descend. She’d slip into nothingness. Suicide ideation, depression, emptiness. And then the text messages and phone calls would begin. She NEEDED me to to fill her void. Pull her back from the brink. Give her the words she needed to hear to feel wanted and loved.
I had demons of my own. And those words weren’t always on the tip of my tongue. They were never there when I was in a dark place of my own. When we were up, we fed each other’s flames and soared to the stars. But when we were down I would drift away and she would take a hard stance and say “I’m not going to put up with this again” and threaten to leave. She would say “if you want to be alone, I can make that happen”. You know what happens when you threaten someone who has already lost everything? They tell you to go. Sometimes loudly. And not let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. It doesn’t matter if they love you. In that state, nothing matters. You’ve threatened them. And that alone means you don’t care enough to stick around.
“Between what is said and not meant, and what is meant and not said, most of love is lost.”― Khalil Gibran
Thirty-one years ago I rode my motorcycle about a hundred miles to spend the weekend with a woman I was pretty sure I was going to marry. We spent the weekend throwing up all over the floor. First her, then me. Some sort of weird stomach bug we passed along to each other. But we dealt with it and nursed each other back to health. At some point, she got seriously pissed off at me and I looked at her and said, “do you want me to leave?”. She responded with “No, if after all this, you still want to stay, I think we can probably make this a lifetime thing.”. And we did just that. An understanding was formed that day that would last us until she passed away. Neither one of us ever again questioned our commitment to each other.
Love takes two people. Willing to bend, sometimes to the breaking point, to keep it together. It’s easy when things are good. Nobody has to give much extra at all to keep the sails full and everything on course. But when the wind changes and the seas start getting rough everyone needs to pull their own weight. Sometimes pulling your own weight is all you can do. If the one you love can’t step up and pull theirs you might have to let them go. It may well be the hardest thing you will ever do. I know it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.