Writings

reasons for my leaving

reasons for my leaving
 

  1. when we sat there in therapy, it occurred to me that if i stayed with you, i would spend the rest of my life carefully placing and then removing band-aids on the skin of my memory.
     
  2. the record kept skipping, and i could not bear to hear the same two beats again.
     
  3. i was saving my life.
     
  4. i could not save us both.
     
  5. you were so sweet that i thought when i touched you, my hands would return to me clung with honey. but at that time, all i craved was saltwater burn, because maybe it would clean out the wound. because i was cut up everywhere.
     
  6. i was a feral cat, and you did not want to let me out to wander the night and come back home to you, paws wet with ink and words.
     
  7. it was too much. and i said this. i said, this is too much. and you didn’t listen.
     
  8. because in another life, i am a surgeon, with the cleanest cut.
     
  9. we were talking on the phone, and you said all of the sudden that you wanted to marry me, and bring me to your own apartment, which you had now, because you went out and got a real job, with your business degree and fancy suits you bought for interviews.  and it was the most lovely thing, your kindness, but after you said that, i just couldn’t talk to you anymore.
     
  10. there was a hole in my heart and all i could do was try to fill it. and i didn’t want to fill it with you. and then i didn’t want to fill it at all.
     
  11. i thought if i just tried harder, i could single-handedly make things work. i was wrong.
     
  12. to have myself meant losing you.
     
  13. you hated women.
     
  14. i am not good at pretending.
     
  15. when i walked out onto the deck that night, you didn’t see me. you did not even notice me.
     
  16. because it was time to get in a truck and travel, and it was time to run away, and it was time to go to school. and so even though we had always come back and found one another, and you had made me grilled cheese that one night, afterwards, which was the kindest thing anyone had ever done for me, still. . i left. for a long time, you stayed. but i couldn’t leave fast enough, which meant leaving you.
     
  17. i did not know how to not be in love with you.
     
  18. when i said no, you didn’t hear me, and instead treated my no as the beginning of negotiation. and i don’t have space for that. at all.
     
  19. because loving you hurt most of the time.
     
  20. i was afraid of you.
     
  21. i was so, so hungry.
     
  22. because that’s just what i do. i’m a leaver. that is what i once told myself, a story glued together with scraps of survival and memories of smoking and black eyeliner. and then my own anger, that long after it is over, the other still holds on with limping tentacles. why do i have to be the one to call it? i asked. the one to walk around branded as leaver. maybe you’re just really hard to leave, she said.
     
  23. you broke into me.
     
  24. loving you broke me.
     
  25. i was only ever there for my own revenge, righting a wrong of which you had nothing to do with. except you were precisely the problem.
     
  26. we raised each other. and then we were there, grown. and then that’s what you do. you leave home.
     
  27. i was a casualty in the war you were having with yourself.
     
  28. you named me, told me again and again who i was and was not. and none of the names were true. 
     
  29. we could not mend our own pasts by binding our futures together.
     
  30. i loved you like restless bulls waiting to storm, like wild horses trampling in the heart. and i didn’t want to be bruised anymore.
     
  31. there were all these locks on the door. and i didn’t want to have to beat and pound my way in.
     
  32. we could not hold hands walking down the street, and i did not want to be a secret.
     
  33. you believed you were entitled to me, as if i was a thing to be possessed. someone else once took things from me that did not belong to them, all those years ago. and it made it hard to be with you, because it felt too much the same.
     
  34. i wanted to be alone. to be truly, achingly, beautifully alone.
     
  35. i spent more time defending myself against your accusations than i did laughing and gasping and creating combined.
     
  36. you loved your anger more than me.
     
  37. i loved my art more than you.
     
  38. your hair was the color of sunshine, and you wore keds with sundresses, and if i didn’t leave you, i would leave the one i had made promises to, and I didn’t want to do that yet.
     
  39. because after you would fall asleep, i would lay there in the soft sheets and cry.
     
  40. whatever it was, that had once brought us together, was complete. so we were good now. free to leave and go be happy.
     
  41. i kept getting sick, and couldn’t get better, and eventually i had to ask why, if what we had was so good, I was so unwell.
     
  42. there were all those minutes still left on the calling card.
     
  43. i didn’t want to kill.
     
  44. you didn’t believe me, that i didn’t want more.
     
  45. you found a religion that could not include me.  and after that, whenever you spoke, your words were hollowed out and filled with someone else’s emptiness.
     
  46. i was willing to go for broke, to trust that somehow this was worth it. to take such a wild risk and leave, because some part of me believed it was possible, that i could be so truly met.
     
  47. after the cancer, nothing was the same. i was not the same. and i did not want to be.
     
  48. i just wanted to leave. and it doesn’t always have a reason that makes sense. no one failed or harmed or struck some irreparable blow that can never be forgiven or forgotten. and it is not even the loss of love. it is just that you no longer want to be in this relationship, in this way. and that is reason enough. and so you go.
     
  49. and all the leavings are always leading to here, now. where the yes is clear and complete, and all the work worth it. and the moments of knowing, that we don’t get to here without the trail of all the loving and the way it sometimes marks us with the raised welts of damages done and sometimes illuminates us and our own hunting hearts. but we are here, with all that brought us to here. and then their face makes something in me believe, that the great gift is not the erasure of life lived but the grounded rapture of meeting here, after the fall.