It was wonderful to see you again yesterday, almost like balm on a wound. Almost is the key word here because, although I think about you often, and although I am still in love with you, my life is not characterised by pain caused by your absence. Therefore, seeing you again, while it certainly had a deep effect on me, did not fill a hole or bring something that was missing. This sounds odd, I know, and it also feels paradoxical to me.
While we were talking, my eyes searched your face, familiar yet different, it has been quite a while since we saw each other. Your voice, with its specific characteristics which I love to hear, soothed me, although your words carried a message that I didn’t really want to hear, paradox again.
Let me tell you about some of the results of our talk. As was always the case, I felt like I am only a blunt instrument after hearing what you said. My text messages from out of a clear sky carrying news of the worst kind. My assumption that you already knew about the death of my wife was based on another, probably arrogant, belief that you had read the random emails I sent you over the past couple of years. Never considering your pain or the context of it, that maybe you had closed off all possibility of communication from me to protect yourself, selfishly, I only considered things from my point of view.
When you told me that you had gone into shock upon receiving the message I felt ashamed. One of the qualities that led to me falling in love with you was your kindness and care for everyone, the fact that you felt guilt and sadness about the death of the woman who caused you such pain brought home to me how far I have to go as a person. Since her death, I have learned of the way my wife hounded you and your family. She told me that she felt you deserved to lose everything, and that she would make that happen, I asked her to leave you alone because you were not to blame, she wouldn’t listen. If anything, my words only enraged her more.
As you know, our affair, such as it was, never got off the ground. Both of us were trying to put on the brakes, fighting against the force of the universe, as I now know it was. There was no chance of stopping that juggernaut, all we managed to do was to get badly hurt without ever getting the true joy of an experience that most people never even get close to. Of course, your loyalty must be to your children, this goes without saying. My point of view has always been that our love and your role as a mother were never mutually exclusive, and I maintain this is still the case. There would definitely be much upheaval in your family life, but that is not unusual these days, with love and care children can accommodate such change. This is up to you, of course, and as you are a consummately loving person, I would always trust your instincts about this kind of thing. It just seems to me that you are trying to protect everyone by taking all their pain onto yourself, maybe it is time for you to trust that those round you can take the load intended for them. Obviously you are strong, but this will break you eventually, and then your kids won’t have you anymore. Selfishly, I would like you to come and embrace the joy of our love together, too. This is the reward for laying down your burden, then you could move on.
You told me about trying to ‘move on’ and how you don’t seem to be making progress with it, well let me tell you how it is for me. Yesterday, you said that I needed to be open to a person other than you coming into my life, in theory I am. I see many women that appear to be attractive, but when I get closer I hear their voices or see them do something, and immediately I am turned off. The way we met is impossible to replicate, the process was happening beneath my radar because I never saw you as anything other than the client that you were. Our meetings, strictly in line with the job we were doing together, allowed you to get inside me without me even knowing. When we met to discuss building matters there was an undercurrent, but it never occurred to me that you were falling for me too. You shared that our visit to view some flooring felt like a date, it did, but I am so slow picking up on things like that. By the time I knew what had happened, it was too late.
The truth for me is that I have become inured to the ‘fact’ that I will only ever have things that are not what I really want. My wife saw me and wanted me, I went along with her plan because I didn’t want to upset her, also I knew that she would never leave me. Honestly, I never wanted her in the way I want/need you, which is probably why she became so angry when she discovered our relationship. She was always very angry and aggressive anyway, but you became the focal point for the lifetime of pain, loss, and suffering that had been her lot.
What we did together did not cause her illness or death, although it possibly helped to bring it to a head, so you can let yourself off the hook. She was a sick person and never what anyone would call robustly healthy. Exercise was anathema to her, if she tried something and it hurt she would never do it again, she would find an excuse to not exercise, her body was a mystery to her. Had she been more fit and healthy her life could have been longer. It was a point of pride for her that I could never read her, she would say it in a defiant manner and laugh when I said that it wasn’t a good quality to take into a relationship. Once she scornfully mentioned my ‘weak feelings’ when we were discussing something to do with the children, she only ever saw them as bargaining chips in the war between us. Nothing was sacred to her when it came to getting leverage against me, and it often felt that she was using her illness to do this. Had she been a little more open to change, her life would have been happier.
While she was alive, although we lived apart, I honoured my commitment to not contact you. You changed your phone number and, as I now know, you blocked my emails, but I knew someone who had your new number I just refrained from obtaining it until six months after her death. Sooner after her death I started sending you random emails, not knowing if you were receiving them, letting you know what had happened in my life, because it seemed so important to tell you. I want to talk to you about everything that happens to me, I just love you so much.
This is where I am now…
The bar has been set very high now, by you. All my life I have settled for less than I really wanted, just so I wouldn’t have to be alone. The desire for sex has superseded or masked the desire for love and has always been unsatisfying as a result, since meeting you, I can no longer pretend that I don’t know that I am doing this. The old things that I found attractive don’t work for me anymore and so, when I try to ‘move on’, I always come back to you. As we were talking yesterday, something came up and you knew which book the reference came from, incidentally one of my favourites, I wonder if you knew that too? But the fact that you knew it made me smile, and still does as I think of it now. In fact, you almost certainly do know that it is one of my favourite books, because that is what you are like. One thing I am sure of is that if you bought me a birthday present it would be something I had always wanted and not even known.
So, I am not actively looking for anyone, there is no longer a hole in my life that needs to be filled. There is no longer the need for sex without the deep feeling that I knew with you, so I am currently celibate. My children take up a lot of my time and I am not a ‘my time’ kind of person. The person for me, if they exist, would understand that and, if my kids didn’t like them, or thought I deserved better, that person wouldn’t get through the door at my house. Incidentally, I told them that I had seen you again and that I am still deeply in love with you. My description was that you are the kindest, most lovely person I have ever met, and they very much want to meet you. Something you said yesterday made me think. You said that you are actually boring, and that I am wrong in my assumption that you love excitement. You are wrong in this, I know what you are really like and I hope the above tells you that I am not seeking adventure beyond the exploration of the amazing world that exists between us. I don’t need to parent your kids or want you to be a mother to mine, I want to move as slowly as we both need and to share in our love. If this is not possible, I will take solace from our meeting yesterday that you are well and you still love me, this means everything to me. Losing you was like death, and I feel far more bereft from that than from the real death of my wife, so to know you are alive brings me such joy.
Wishing you love and light always, wishing you me too. May we meet again soon.