i shall not die for love, he need not fear me.
i called it off with Tread-Lightly yesterday. the day before yesterday he was being difficult about scheduling again—causing me to wring my hands and re-activate my okcupid profile—where i saw he had changed his profile picture (oh modern calamity!). causing me to re-evaluate what exactly he meant when i asked him whether he was seeing or wanting to see other women last week. (he was cryptic as ever, but when i asked ‘are there really other women willing to put up with your bullshit?’ he laughed and said no. ‘maybe i should just stop dating altogether,’ he said. ‘well, if you don’t actually want to be with anyone, you probably should,’ said i.) anyway. i don’t really think any other women would put up with his bullshit, but i can’t put up with it either, so in a kind of impotent loving rage i wrote him a letter. the gist of which was—i thought—‘i’m in love with you, this situation has become too painful, it’s over, take care of yourself’—but upon rereading it just now, i realized how sweet and agenda-less it is. it’s a pure love-letter. (and not at all a bad contribution to the genre, i must say! when i wrote it, i thought, ‘how wonderful to read a letter like that’—when i read it, i thought, ‘but maybe it’s more wonderful to write a letter like that.’) the text i sent to tell him that i’d stuck a letter in his mailbox had the finality but it was stupidly apologetic.
the response: NOTHING. which makes me so incredibly angry i wish i had said mean things in the letter. i mean, you tell someone you love them, they ought to say something. even if it’s just ‘i know’ or ‘wtf’ or ‘go to hell.’ you just want it acknowledged. that self-absorbed, self-important bastard. i wish i had written: ‘who the hell do you think you’re going to meet out there? why did i let you dick me around for months? why did i waste sympathy on you?’ well, but i don’t really, it would’ve spoiled my composition.
last week i said, ‘i’ve been going out with people all this past year, more or less, lots of guys, and it’s so hard to find anyone to like.’ ‘but you must have met some interesting people.’ ‘sort of—and yeah, sometimes—but mostly they’re just interchangeable mediocrities.’ ‘that’s a good phrase.’ ‘thank you.’ i’ll always have that. when i’m miserable, when i’m alone, crying at night, i can think, that was a good phrase. (that’s sarcasm.) but that is the difficulty of it—i know i don’t deserve ambivalence and headtrips and high dickery—i know i have my own gifts and attractions—i was just waiting him for him to pull his head out of his ass and see the light and realize how well we suited each other. and every time i saw him, he said truer and more intimate things, then we kissed each other goodbye, and then he pulled further away. (i excerpt: i’ve never really felt this way about anyone before! i have been in love but not like this—it’s pretty self-abasing, obviously, since you have become sort of remote, and yet at the same time i love you because you’ve reminded me of the good in myself with the sweet and thoughtful things you say.)
the way i can love is a gift in itself, probably. Tread-Lightly himself told me something like that—said that i had such a ‘caretaker personality’—and that when i really get into that mode i become ‘so sympathetic and gentle and soft—to be on the receiving end of that, it’s such an incredible thing, it’s almost overwhelming, it just melts my heart.’ (and added: ‘but that’s not even the best thing about you. you know what is? it’s your intelligence. there are so many people who are very smart but it isolates them, it’s alienating, but with you it has this intensely social aspect to it, you naturally use your intelligence to communicate with people—that’s so remarkable.’) (he went on for a while after that about how smart i am, then apologized for going on—‘don’t apologize for that!’ of course. tell me again how marvelous i am. for God’s sake that intelligent-communicator stuff made me sound like george eliot.) (who he refused to read. dismissed all of victorian literature as a whole. didn’t even know eliot was a woman. when i explained that she was and why she took a man’s name to write, he said, ‘so, what, did she like write alone in a garret?’ which set my teeth right on edge, of course! ‘NO IT WAS QUITE THE OPPOSITE.’ i should remember that when i feel too bleak, when i think he was too perfect.)
because to me he was just sort of perfect, in a certain way, i mean he was so easy for me to love. a trap laid specially for me or something. that one morning, we had to get up so early and he laced up his boots and told me he was going off to a sugar farm over the mountains. one night he played me recordings he made of old irish people singing songs. one night we listened to ‘a blacksmith courted me’—(who else am i ever going to find who will listen to ‘the blacksmith’? stupid, stupid dora! maybe you should’ve hung a little longer!)—and we had a little conversation about how blacksmithing is obviously the hottest profession there is and he said rather randomly ‘if i were a blacksmith, i could have a gut.’ ‘well, yes…but…’ ‘yeah, i have one now—i really do, i know! it’s terrible—look at this. you know what this is? this is years of overindulgence. somehow i wouldn’t feel so bad about it if i were a blacksmith….you’ve gotten awfully quiet. what are you thinking about?’ ‘i was just imagining you as a blacksmith!’ ‘do you think it’s time for us to retire upstairs?’ ‘i think it may be that time.’
i can’t even think about the physical right now. that was too good. on the anvil ringing! i will get too depressed. the only consoling thought is how he’ll suffer more from the lack of it.