There are some things that I can do that I know will help me soothe my ego pretty quickly. None of them are healthy, but they all work to some extent. The mindset behind them must be one of those defensive mechanisms I keep hearing about. My feelings got hurt. I’m sick of my feelings being hurt. So, my demon took control for a while. She’s sick of the bullshit too. I knew what to do and off I went to do it. There was one bad consequence to this, but that consequence means nothing to me if I can finally get back to myself for a while.
I reached out to my ex-ex-ex. Yes, that one. The love of my life and also my tormentor for years. The reason I have no faith in monogamy. The reason for the scar on the back of my neck. But it’s been 25 years and a lot has changed with both of us. And I’ve never held a grudge. Or been known to make good decisions when I let the bad part of me come to the surface. I went to see him the other night. And we reminisced as we are wont to do. Then we smoked1 as we are wont to do. Then we found a private spot and, well, he helped me release some stress.
It was nice. I’m not going to lie. Being with someone who knows you as well as you know yourself is something else. Remove the violence from our relationship and we were a great couple. He knows every dark secret about me. He knows what it’s like to face me when I’ve lost control. He knows what it’s like to be with me when I’m sorry for losing control. He knows my favorite foods, my favorite color and my darkest fear. He loves to hear me talk about things about which I’m passionate. He stimulates all my passions – politics, art, writing. We have the same sense of humor. We were so in love with each other that we became each other in a way. And that has stuck after all these years. We made each other. Bad and good. We did this to each other.
I like to talk to him when I’m feeling like a piece of shit. He knows exactly how to calm me down. Which is hilarious because when we were together all he did was fire me up. The other day I was done. Just done. I couldn’t take it anymore. I was on the verge of committing murder2. But then I saw him standing in the driveway. Then he walked over to my car and opened my door. Then I forgot why I was pissed and who I was pissed at. Then I smiled. Then he told a stupid joke. I laughed. It was awkward for about 5 seconds. Then it was like, excuse the cliché, putting a warm blanket around me. He’s older, of course, fatter and with a gray beard. But, to me, he looks just like he did when I was in love with him all those years ago.
This is the guy by which I judge all my other partners. I want what he gave me without the violence. It’s always without the violence, don’t worry. He’s tall, strong, confident and quiet. But he’s dangerous as well. His quiet demeanor is hiding a serious dark side. That’s the side I don’t like. That’s the side that made me run like hell all those years ago. That’s the reason we could never be together again no matter how many times we said we missed each other.
But little reunions like this are nice. We don’t have to worry about how we’ll react in a conflict. There’s no time for conflict. Just enough time for laughs, memories and sex. Then we part ways. At some point he will annoy me or I will annoy him and all those feelings will come back. Then we’ll be nasty to each other. Then we’ll make up. Because we still haven’t figured out how to make it work. We still revert to our 1990s selves. I know better than to want to be back with him specifically. That pairing will have to wait until our next lives. We’ve done this a few times through the years. Always finding our way back to each other; always falling away from each other.
The last time I saw him I wasn’t single yet. I was just stepping out on TheMan while TheMan was living with his first mistress. He came over for some tequila, a card game and some smoke. He spent the night and then off he went. That was in 2009 I think. Or early 2010. I don’t remember. I didn’t keep track. Anyway, I’m totally single now and so it’s a bit different. This time he’s blowing up my phone. He wants to see me again. Am I free this weekend? What are my plans? Can we catch up more when we have more time?
Um, well, this isn’t what I was expecting when I reached out. I was expecting that we’d leave each other alone again. But something is different now. He wants to talk on the phone all the time. Texting isn’t good enough. He wants to hear my voice. He wants to, as he puts it, “whisper sweet nothings in your ear.” So, so corny. But the type of thing he said to me all the time when we were together. I got a good laugh at that. I wish. Oh, how I wish.
But there’s one obstacle that can never be overcome in this lifetime. The violence. The pain. The trauma of all the fights with him and his many, many side chicks. There was the stripping of my confidence. The rearrangement of my mind. The way he molded me to be afraid of relationships, to believe monogamy is a game we shouldn’t play, to believe my best asset is between my legs, and to believe that real love is for people in the movies and books. The way he made me so angry that I took revenge on every guy who liked me for six and a half fucking years. My life with him shaped the entirety of my adult romantic life. He helped make me this way. And this way is broken. That can’t be overcome. I just can’t remove that from my life. I have many, many scars from my time with him. I’m reminded of that every single day.
So, why would I look for a version of him for a partner? Because of the way he loved me. I know it was dysfunctional and wrong. But he loved me with all of his heart; the best way he could. I was his ultimate partner. I was his jewel. He showed me off, he claimed me, he made sure I was safe3, he took the time to listen and learn, he was in my head and let me inside his. I keep looking for someone who will take the time to get to know me at least half as well as he does. Not past tense. A partner who is strong enough to handle my emotional side – the out-of-control side. I keep looking for someone who will ask me questions and actually hear the answers. But so far no luck.
Lucifer was a lot like him – even in his abuse. Except Lucifer didn’t use violence. He was better at getting inside my head and scrambling every damned thing I thought I knew. Still, he got to know me enough to be able to use me against myself. He loved the way I talked about politics. He said my intelligence turned him on4. He encouraged my artistic side. And then there was his physical size and confidence. They are both very alpha without being loud about it. Lucifer wouldn’t let anyone else hurt me either. That was part of his charm to me. His strength. Ultimately, he was just really good at worming his way inside and using all of that stuff as weapons. Better even than I. The motherfucker is a master, is what I’m saying. I’m well rid of him even if sometimes I wish…
Because I’m wishing for Bobby still. But not him. An alternate version of him that is exactly like him but without the history and the violence. He’s got a good job, he’s got custody of his children, he’s funny, he’s charming… He took the time to get to know me. I was worth the effort to him. He loved every fucked up part of me. He saw it all and didn’t back down from it. He wasn’t afraid to love me. He wasn’t afraid of me. And, believe me, my demon never went to sleep back then. He enjoyed going out with me so I could get tipsy and have my way with him. Like Lucifer, when we went out he was like a sentry at my back. I had all the fun I could handle with my personal bodyguard at my side. Like Lucifer5, if some creeper started behaving badly then he’d take care of the problem. The issue was dealt with immediately. I liked that. I liked all of it.
I told him once that I wish he’d turned over a new leaf when we were young. Then we could get back together and maybe have a sort of happy life. But that period is behind us and it’s too late for us. I told him that. No matter what else happens between us, our life together has been over for a very long time. No going back.
Our time together was the best time of his life. He wishes he could go back to then and start everything again. I wondered how many lives we’ve spent trying to be a forever couple. Have we ever been? He doesn’t believe in reincarnation, so that didn’t make any kind of difference to him. He’d told me it would be different if I was single6. We’d be able to have adventures again. “No,” I told him. “We’re not meant for that this time. We have to wait and try again in our next life.” I believe in that. I believe that we see each other in every life. I believe our souls are entwined. No one can convince me otherwise. He laughs at me for my new age thinking. “I love the way you think,” he tells me. He doesn’t agree with me. But he likes the way I process my information. He likes the way I explain my mind to him. He gets me in ways that no one else has ever even tried.
Friendship with him probably isn’t healthy. It’s never really just hanging out. It’s never really just sitting around talking about old times. We’re like opposing magnets – when we get too close to each other we smash against each other. He still loves me the same way I still love him. I am also the love of his life. I’m still very important to him. When I call he will always pick up the phone. When I need him to make it just a little bit better he will always say yes. I’m Jen. And he’s Bobby. And that’s the way it’s always been.
Which would be absolutely perfect for me. Except for that darkness that hangs over the both of us. Not in this lifetime.
He touches my hair, his fingers trying hard to make it through my tangled mess. He likes me with long hair7. He likes the way my hair smells. “Have you always been this short?” He asks me that every time. It’s a running joke at this time.
“No, my babies made me shorter.” We laugh. He hugs me. I get in my car and make my way out of the parking lot. Then he calls me. He wants to talk to me on my way home. I’m glad. He tells me he’s watching me as I’m driving up the street. He watches me until he can’t anymore. That made me smile. There is one person8 I know loves me and always has. That’s him.
I’m Jen and he’s Bobby and we’ll always be like this with each other. Just close enough to enjoy the way we are together but far enough away that we’ll always be apart.
C’est la vie.
I like geeky stuff, politics, squirrels and monkeys.
- Weed. [↩]
- Not really. This is what’s known as hyperbole:
exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally.
synonyms:exaggeration, overstatement, magnification, embroidery, embellishment, excess, overkill, rhetoric; [↩]
- He could hit me, but absolutely no one else could even say a harsh word to me. [↩]
- I think I might believe that considering what type of woman he prefers and our long trip to the casino. [↩]
- Or is it the other way around? [↩]
- I was married at the time. [↩]
- It was always short when we were together. [↩]
- Aside from my blood and friends. [↩]