Her lips slowly fell apart from one another as she absorbed what I had just said. A heft of agonizing realization coated the expression on her face. A sense of empathy started to slither along my spine while I watched her reaction unfold before me. It was however quickly vanquished at the demand of my commitment to said statement. I meant what I said and I had to remind myself of the reasons why I was saying it. An easy yet punishing thing to do when taking inventory of my lived experience with this woman.
“Matt, why are you doing this?!” Her words bled forth.
“I didn’t do this, you did! I’m just done with it…”
“Matty, you’re not being fair! Don’t you know how this—”
“I DON’T LOVE YOU ANYMORE, MIRANDA…! I just don’t… can’t”.
A silence began to fill the empty space between us like a slow-moving fog. She looked at me and I at her. Her lips quivered as though she was going to say something else, but no sound came out.
For a moment, I was fooled into thinking that she was actually affected by all this, but when choosing to look close enough, I was able to see no tear stained eyes, no reddened cheeks of fluster and she wasn’t even breathing heavy. What I was witnessing was a willingness to engage within verbal chess merely for the sport of it. Something that had hallmarked our tragic romance.
“Oh, Miranda, don’t! Don’t stand there and pretend that you’re somehow shocked and appalled by any of this, there’s no one here to lie to except me and you—and I’ve ingested enough of that shit!”
Her demeanor shifted slightly; she became almost mischievous in her return glare. “Whatever, Matt. I’m not lying! You’re just freaking out, as per usual, Hero.” Hero was a facetious moniker gifted to me by Miranda whenever she felt like insulting both me and my chosen profession. It was something that started shortly after I had responded to “The Boy” …
I felt a fire ignite violently inside of me. A heat began to push up from beneath my skin, I was about to explode. I was so angry. But somehow, someway, a voice coached me from within, it told me to calm myself, to settle and simply respond with what I knew to be true.
“Miranda, I’m not freaking out… I’m just finished. I’m done. I’m defeated. I don’t want anything to do with you anymore.” As quickly as the rage came, it left just as flittingly. I think if anything, I was just numb, seasoned and experienced by the current environment that I found myself within.
Miranda had cheated and lied her way through most of our courtship, and my lack of self-worth and absent confidence gave her the lubrication needed to slide on by, unhindered of consequence for years—until now…
“Well too bad, ‘cause you’re not going anywhere and we’re not breaking up!” Her words coated in a thick attitude of indignation.
“Miranda… we haven’t been together in a long time—”
‘’’the fuck are you talking about, huh, Hero? You fucked me two nights ago, loser!”
“That’s not what I’m talking about and you know it!” Another brief respite of silence stood between us.
“Miranda, I mean it—I don’t love you anymore. I don’t know when I stopped but somewhere along the way I did. Now… now I fucking hate you. I hate to look at you. I hate knowing we live in the same house. I hate seeing your fucking face. And I despise being able to smell him on you! You make me fucking sick!”
“Well too bad ‘cause we’re together and you’re—” As she was about to repeat her sentiment of my cementation to her, I cut her off with somber spoken word.
“I’m not. I’m not, Miranda. I already quit my job. I’m moving, next week. I’m leaving.”
There was now a sincere expression plastered atop of her face, it was not that of pain or disbelief though. It was pure obfuscation. After years of monotonous tumult marred by unrivaled truculence, I had finally had enough, and she was beginning to learn of that truth.
“What do you mean you’re moving? We have a house together!”
“Yeah… well, we had a bed together, too; that didn’t stop you from putting another man in it—I’m sure you can do the same with the house, Miranda.”
She became unhinged, yelling and screaming obscenities while pushing me and shoving me as I maneuvered around her. I was spent. I had nothing else to say. You see, it was in saying this out loud for the first time that I truly began to realize how over this all really was. Years of my life, spent with a woman that I had hoped was to be The One, disintegrating one utterance after another until there was nothing left to be said. This is the truest form of defeat.
Over the next couple of weeks and months, a lot would change in my life; I would move out of the first and only home that I had bought in my life, relocate to another city a country width away and start anew. At least, that’s what I thought I was doing. In reality and unbeknownst to me at time, all I was really doing was freefalling in a flat-spin. I was drinking everyday. Bedding women whose first names I did not know. Falling asleep on subway platforms, thus missing the last train and having to zig-zag my way home on foot on more nights than I care to recall.
I learned via text from a neighbor that a new man had taken my place within the home I still paid for. This was said to have happened mere hours after I had departed from it. It was in learning that and swallowing that bitter realization that the bottles from the bar began emptying at record pace. The first year apart from Miranda is but a blur.
One thing I do know, I became someone that I did not like. Sleeping with multiple women on different nights was not exactly a source of pride or motivation for me. Deep down, hidden inside somewhere there remained that wide-eyed boy in a sweater vest, a Dawson looking for his Joey. Ironically, Dawson and Joey do not end up together… Perhaps this is my script, too.
I say that because I have been single for about 6-years now. Sure, I have been on dates. And yes, as stated, I slept with some women. But I have never again found the desire to open myself up to the possibility of love and romance of an untainted origin. A hopeless romantic with a black heart, you may say. Or maybe, it is the fact that that same absent confidence that so defined my toxic romance before still remains persistent within my veins. I do not see a man of handsome features when gazing into the mirror, I see an aged boy who now realizes the immeasurable naivety of his once unwavering wishes and perceptions. A crippling sense that I am neither the lothario nor Romeo. A man poisoned by his own ideals.
When I was younger, I was the only one of my troupe of friends to ask out the girls. I asked out Lori while stood on the steps of my Jr. High school. She laughed. Yes, laughed, and even pulled on her friend’s shirt to inform her that I was attempting to ask her out. Her friend’s response? “Ew…!” I asked out Becky, she said yes! She said yes, then left me standing outside of a movie theatre pacing the same patch of sidewalk until enough time had passed that I realized what had happened—I’d been stood up. These things, among others, fostered the belief or lack thereof in myself as being true and irrefutable.
So when I met Miranda, my world was shook. I mean, there she was, beautiful and wildly sexy. And she was interested in me! I met her shortly after Boomer had been killed in Afghanistan. I recall having a nightmare on the first night we spent together. She did not berate me then, she simply calmed me into going back to sleep before removing herself to the couch. When I woke, I felt awful when finding her there. But she assured me that I had nothing to feel bad about. She crooned to me with empathic understanding and kindness. Meeting Miranda felt like winning the fucking lottery. Like Dawson beating out Pacey for Joey after all.
At first, everything was intoxicating and mesmeric. We would make love; we would fuck and we would cuddle. The sex was brilliant and rewarding. I could make her laugh and she could slow down time. I was living a movie. All the things I had seen on TV as a hopeful boy playing out before me. Turns out, the movie was a fucking tragedy and I was not the star, but the throw away.
When I realized the relationship was over, I stood on the edge of a riverbank and listened to the crashing shoreline, the ebb and flow. I called my mum. I cried over the phone and asked her why this was happening. She did a very Joan (my mum’s name), thing; she paused before speaking and then said sharply, “Well, I never did like ‘er! Told you that.” She hadn’t… I hung up the phone and stood by the water.
Earlier this week, I asked a girl out. She denied me quite abruptly. She did not mince words nor confuse intention with her declination. She was rather clear—not interested.
To say this struck the chord of insecurity within me would be to drastically understate the obvious. It most certainly did. I once again found myself by a shoreline listening to a static-laden hymn of water landing atop of rock. The only thing to have changed in between then and now was that I was no longer able to withdraw my phone and call Mum…
Instead, I bashfully elicited the opinions of friends (a superfluous thing to do, considering they ultimately HAVE to say kind things). I asked them if I was handsome. I asked if I was at least alright looking. And when reading their responses, all I could hear was Miranda degrading me and pulverizing me with insults about being fat, pasty, stupid and ugly.
A fragile thing, the psyche is…
So, why bring all this up? Why go back to the past then to the now? Because in the midst of this piteous introspection, I came across one thing that I am happy of within me. One thing that I do enjoy about me—I may not be the archetype of handsome, but never have I ever made those around me feel small or unworthy… and I think that’s pretty fucking sexy!