It’s been 4 months since I found out that whatever we were didn’t exist. Four months since you unleashed holy hell on me. I survived. The difference in how I felt at the 3 month mark and the way I feel today is not at all what I thought it would be. I’m not entirely sure I know what I thought it would be, but I know “this” isn’t it.
I don’t know how I’m supposed to remember you. When memories of you float through my mind (because of course they do from time to time), I’m not even sure what feelings they bring with them. Perhaps it would’ve been easier to sort these things out if we’d had some sort of label to what “it” was. But it didn’t feel like labels were necessary and I’d have been hard pressed to come up with one even if I’d tried. It just was, and at the time I thought it was great.
The reason this is on my mind is because as I was preparing to do an honest assessment of where I am four months post betrayal I realized it’s almost impossible to assess where I “should” be after something that I couldn’t begin to define. A label on any type of relationship seems to make it easier to categorize the experiences within it. It makes it easier to know how one is “supposed” to feel if things go badly. It makes it easier to know what a socially acceptable grieving period should be. It makes a statement as to the depth and form of the relationship. But we didn’t have the mercy of a label. And though I’ve gained a lot of clarity, I still don’t have a complete understanding of what “it” was or more importantly, why it mattered so much. Or why you mattered at all, Rob Szczesny.
Looking back it’s clear our relationship was constantly evolving and changing, and for me that kept things fresh and exciting. Most days when we talked about things going on in our lives it felt like we were really close friends. There was a camaraderie there despite the fact that the friendship was brand-spanking-new. Conversation wasn’t forced. We laughed. We told secrets. We shared stories. I felt we had each other’s backs. I was wrong.
The times when we talked about other things and let our imaginations run wild, it felt like we were friends…with a really fun secret. There was more than friendship, but it wasn’t anything real so it couldn’t be labeled as anything else. Yet in this alternate fantasy universe, it felt like you were an almost. Not an almost in a permanent way. But an almost….you know. Just an almost-for-a-temporary-moment kind of thing. Someone who might’ve been, but never really would be. And that was by choice on both of our parts because neither of us wanted anything in real life to change. All thoughts of fun were completely focused on a one-time thing (which is so selfish I can’t believe I even entertained the idea for a moment). Rob Szczesny is SO not worth it.
It felt like different things at different points. I still feel conflicted about the complexity of emotions that I’ve experienced as a result of letting you in and then (by no choice of my own) letting you go. When we started talking I had no intention of getting caught up in any way, shape, or form. I didn’t even find you very attractive. You became so as I got to know you better. This is a compliment whether you see it that way or not. I figured we’d talk a little and then not talk and that was fine with me until strangely, it wasn’t. And now that it’s fine again, it’s hard for me to understand how I ever felt otherwise. But I did. And when the memories come I think maybe sometimes I still do.
But it’s very brief because almost as soon as a warm feeling starts to make its way into my heart I remember that cold, hateful email response you sent me when I addressed an accusation I believe was false. Your response was so heartless and gross. It exposed me to a side of you I’d never seen. That effectively shuts any feelings of warmth or love down in a heartbeat. Thankfully there’s no pain involved anymore when I cycle through those moments. Still, there are infrequent moments like this one where I find myself questioning the proper way to categorize, compartmentalize, or feel about something that never had a name (or label) for it in the first place. It’s strangely interesting how labels give context, provide guidelines, establish boundaries, and explain behavior. They’re just words, after all. Friend. Boyfriend. Brother. Co-worker. Lover. Enemy. Each one of those labels brings instant insight and the ability to quickly visualize how a relationship (or the ending of one)might look.
We may not have had a label back then, but I’m getting used to the label we’ve carried for the past 4 months: nothing. We are nothing. And at least nothing can be defined. No single thing. Nil. Zero. Of no value. We’re nothing, yes. And “it” is also what “it” is. It always was, too. But I still don’t know how I should or will remember you. Maybe one day I won’t at all.
Hello, my name is:
Currently playing in the soundtrack of my mind: Only Time by Enya. I recently heard it in the background of a show I was watching and it brought back awesome memories from the 90’s.