I’ve been weepy as fuck lately. I watched the final episode of Real Housewives of Atlanta, Season 11 recently and cried like a damn baby when Porsha became emotional while talking about how she had given up on love but it found her anyway. While she was exhaling and wiping away happy tears, I was boohooing while wondering if I’ll ever know that feeling again.
Despite that fact, I’m more OK than I can ever recall. The past month or so has been a life-changer for me. Overall, I feel good and life is being very good to me. But with all the favor, and all the goodness that envelopes me, I still find myself looking over my shoulder for that one thing. Love.
I’m in a place of arms wide open. All raring and ready to start the Love Chapter in a way that I wasn’t equipped or restored enough to previously. I want to allow love a recourse that took me a long time to consider.
I want it to have an opportunity to flourish in my life right along with everything else at its pinnacle. The problem is, while my arms are wide open, there’s no one running at top speed to leap into them. Not even Mr. 51. I’ve been here before and experience doesn’t stop you from going back again. Just allowing men to love me however they wanted and me just approving those scraps to have a hold of something.
But umm, I’m too old and tired to wait like some dried-up apple on a tree waiting to be picked. I don’t have the momentum or vigor to continuously make provisions like that. I’m exhausted. It’s either me loving too hard and falling too soon. Or being caught up in some shit being called love but really felt more like control or desperation. I have never had a healthy love experience in a relationship. Never.
What makes me pessimistic about it is one very real possibility: I may not end up with anyone. As content as I am with who I am in that, I’m not ok with that happening. I don’t want to be cold anymore and being alone did that to me.
Besides, I would hate to think that I swam hundreds of laps in the man pool, the survival pool, the alone pool just to stay there wading in the water. I want to swim with my boo. I’m talking diving boards and backstrokes. I’m a lover. Submissive, full-blown, all in, I’m riding and dying, glitter and rainbows and I refuse to contain that anymore. I did that decades ago, I’m not censoring love at 45 years old. But I’m afraid.
Mr. 51 is back like he never left and as good as it feels to have my friend, I feel like a part of me never returned to him. I’m guarded. I loved him without limits and he showed that he can’t do the same. The limit for him is communication. He doesn’t communicate well, which was obvious in his ghosting while I was sick. To sum it up in a nutshell, me having COVID-19 scared the fuck out of him. I understood it. His apology was sincere and the way that he almost cracked my ribs from that tight squeeze when we saw each other after a month was everything I needed. At that moment.
I say at the moment because I’m clear about my need in this now. I don’t want to be his friend, I want to be his only. But I’m not confident in my understanding of him any longer. I don’t have any ill-feeling toward him though, I sincerely could never. I love him in a way that no one on this planet could ever understand. But I’m learning that maybe our connection isn’t supposed to be much more than it is. I don’t even know what it is anymore. I mean, if a friend can’t show love and concern consistently during illness or life’s trials, it kind of trumps everything else right? But the other side of that is, he’s a really good person. So kind. But I don’t know him as well as I thought and don’t know if I want to wait around to see how he responds to the next life event.
I’m stuck and know without a smidge of doubt that I need to unstick myself and fast. But there are a few things to admit. He has my heart. I don’t want to be lonely. I don’t have the brain capacity to entertain anyone else. So it’s either him, or me by myself.
This is a difficult realization for me. The new Nell, the businesses, the credit score creeping up, the work achievements, the peace of mind may all be just for me. I can’t pretend happiness in that. I’ve never visualized sitting on a porch after retirement, sipping a hot toddy watching the sunset alone. I see him, whoever he is, walking out of the screen door, balancing two cocktail glasses, asking if I need anything else before he sits down. Even now, the rainy Friday nights with takeout and vinyl records shrewn and hand-dancing in the living room floor, it’s not supposed to just be me is what I tell myself.
I never imagined not getting to start and end life chapters without a life partner. I’ve always imagined finally being able to enjoy and love a healthy, whole “him” down to his ashy ankles. Who’s to say that it may not happen in my 50s, 60s or 70s, I know. But I want my end of life partner to join me at the beginning of the new one. Kids grown. Finances improving. Free and flexible in this space.
This space when we’ve grown past the drama of dating in our 20s and settling for whatever in our 30s. In this space, we get to pick and choose, and I just wish that for once I get to choose someone healthy enough to choose me too.
I realized that at the end of my crappy marriage several years ago. It took some time to heal, my goodness I think I’m still recovering from that shit, but I told myself that it was safer for me to stay single and date without attachment for awhile. But in recent years, I slowly started to acknowledge that I was operating in a mode that was not natural for me. God, I was so accomodating and doe-eyed. The thought sickens me now because not nare none of those fuckers were worth that. I was worth so much more than I knew.
As I’ve shared before, the only man that I loved as deep as I love Mr. 51 was my daughter’s father. He was my demon slayer; he knew me better than I knew myself and he knew it. Green and inexperienced, he could manipulate me to do anything. 30 years of mind games. He went from protector to protagonist, made me so bitter. Ugh.
I just can’t hang in the dating game anymore. I can’t do the chase. It’s not in me. The other element that isn’t in me anymore is the “where is this going” conversation. I will not. If I have to ask, I already know. That truth means picking up the pieces of my cracked but not broken heart and opening myself to a good dose of reality; my someone else may not exist. That part. As much as I would like to share my world, merge mine into someone else’s, host our little dope universe, I don’t have anything happening to says otherwise.
I’ve been thinking about my girlfriend Keonya a lot. Not about her death, but about her in love. Like with all girlfriends, we had plenty of talks about how we saw our forever.
Reading her obituary, I lingered over the name listed as her special friend. I knew her love for him. She loved that man deep for over 25 years. Just like I was with my daughter’s dad, she loved him through other women; flings, so-called acquaintances and friends, engagements and marriage. All of that loving and hanging in there and still she left this earth without him being the one thanking us for our condolences and support through the loss of his wife. At her end, he wasn’t at the pulpit and I don’t even recall seeing him at the church. Maybe he couldn’t handle it, maybe the reality of what they could’ve had crippled him, but what a way for things to end. Her in a casket, and him listed as just her special friend. That makes me so sad.
Mr. 51 took a part of me away when he left. He had poured so much into me. Made me feel vibrant and soothed at the same time. His peace, his calm, his presence adds to the light in my life. But I struggle to trust him now because I feel like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. I’ve made room for his love but I don’t know if it’s something I want anymore. Not with provisions.
He’s not a good verbal communicator but his actions will have you writing sonnets and shit on your lunch break. But I need words now. I need a voice that quiets mine, hushes my doubt. Because while I may have been a 44 and 45 year old fuck buddy, I won’t be that at 46.
Before I give it away for the hell of it again, I’ll let it shrivel close. And me and my shriveled cooch will learn to love the solitude of porch sitting and sunset watching with a singular hot toddy, or hand-dancing with my shadow on a Friday night.
As much as I don’t want to accept it, lonely can’t feel any worse than unrequited love.