Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Letter to My Past: You Were a Poet.

     You and I knew each other first as friends, as is not entirely uncommon for me.  In the beginning we were, what, seventeen? It was nearly half a life ago.  I found you inspiring.  You encouraged me to be more creative, more open, happier.  Of course I was drawn to that.

     I was also drawn to the security that I perceived was inherent in my relationship with my first husband.  I hadn't had a lot of security in my teen years, and I didn't think anything of his emotional bullying, since that was what I was accustomed to.  I also, of course, thought that I was so grown up at eighteen.

     When things between you and me shifted, I remember a lot of happiness mixed in with the guilt and confusion.  I knew that I shouldn't have kept letting it progress... but I wanted to follow that happiness.  I wanted things to work out.  I don't remember how long we managed to carry on our secret affair, but I do remember that I held out hope up until the bitter end that everything could work out happily and honestly.

     One of the things that has always stuck in my mind from that bitter end was that you were really the only one who stood up for me.  When First Husband said that I had to choose between the two of you, you were the only one who said I shouldn't have to.  That the loving action would be to not make me choose... but to let me be happy. 

     Of course, it was only several years later that I learned of, then finally embraced polyamory.  I have a feeling that if we had been aware at the time that this is a thing people do, everything would have turned out so much differently.  But as it was, I had to make a choice between the freedom you were offering me, and the security that he was.  I literally did not know how you and I would get by.  We had no money, nowhere else to live, no real prospects for the future.  I was purely driven by fear.

     I have thought about you on occasion throughout the years, but lately you've been on my mind constantly.  Several days ago, I drove by the place where we had that conversation.  On a wall, in the rain, I told you of my choice... and I could see that you lost a certain amount of respect for me in that moment.  I didn't blame you for that, as I certainly wasn't proud of myself.  Of course, it wasn't the last time we saw each other... You grew bitter, and I couldn't blame you for that, either. 

     I've looked you up a few times over the years, and as far as I know you live about an hour and a half from me.  I wonder if you ever recovered from your bitterness, or if it merely served to sharpen your words.  I wonder if you still think of me, and if so, do you remember the good at all? Mostly, I wonder if you would be proud of me now.  If you would recognize that I have made the other choice many times since you knew me.  I wonder if we would recognize each other if we passed on the street.  I wonder if the years have been good to you... I hope they have been.  Better than I was.

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