The time has come to provide some details of my life as I live it in the present day, because otherwise I couldn’t make this observation and have it make sense.
I’m in love with someone, and I was in a relationship with them for vaguely one and a half years, and this fully terminated a few weeks ago. They are far away and they have done some things I can’t see myself forgiving them for any time soon. They were not fully consenting to the breakup, and pretty much raged against it. I dislike them. As I said, I’m still in love with them.
I’m having a relationship-esque thing with someone who I dated in the autumn of 2009. They left me. From what I gather, they regretted this, with intensity ranging somewhere between occasional pangs of guilt and longing and full-strength pining for two and a half years – I don’t know because I haven’t heard the story from them yet. I don’t love them, but they are here.
A pattern seems to be forming where once a week I will go to his house, we will fuck – quietly, so as not to alert his family to this occurrence – and I will leave soon after. His family treats me like I’m his girlfriend, which I’m fairly comfortable with. I can’t bring him home because only my mum has any idea what’s going on with him and she only has a vague idea – I talk to her about him, but not about him in relation to myself. His dog seems to want to drive me out of the house every time I arrive, but after a few minutes she calms down. Today I put my arms around him from behind as we were hovering waiting to take out leave up to his room, and she sprung out from under a chair and howled and yapped at me until his mother scooped her up and told me, in jest, how jealous the little dog gets.
The sex is good – not in the way that the mechanics of it are good, but I am emotionally present and I enjoy it a lot. I took his virginity, so I’m in a fairly unfamiliar role of being the more sexually experienced one, which has it’s pros and it’s cons. But overall, I enjoy it; I look forward to it all week, and it leaves me feeling elated in a way that is probably purely biological, because it is the exact same elation that I felt with the man I love when I used to have sex with him. There’s an intangible sort of sadness that is more a loss without pain than a true sadness, and then we end up getting dressed again, and I’m disappointed to be leaving his room but I’m happy walking hand in hand with him to the train station, with our stilted conversation.
And then I get on the train, and as soon as I am alone I feel echoingly hollow. It isn’t a lack of emotion – it’s a meloncholy, it is unchanneled love and vivid sadness all around me in a little cloud, so potent I almost think the people sat near me on the train, or anyone who makes eye contact with me, can feel it too. I’ll always pull out my iPod and listen to something that only makes it worse, too. Such is my relationship with my stronger emotions that even when they’re unpleasant I encourage them and revel in them. I’ll listen to Nick Cave piano ballads or In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, or if I’m feeling particularly destructive something with mutual significance to my ex – Weezer’s Only In Dreams is a good example. That final few minutes, structured like a sexual experience, has been poignant in so many different ways in the past couple of years that just listening to it is like ripping my own toenails off one by one.
In fact, it’s not entirely an unpleasant feeling. It’s a beautiful feeling. But it is guilty and bitter as well. I sit there in my train seat and instead of wishing I was with the boy I’ve left behind on the train platform, the one who I have affection for and who is here and I don’t want to hurt, I instead wish the man who is thousands of miles away who I can’t like was different. I wish he hadn’t said things, or that he didn’t have certain personality traits, that they were replaced by more desirable ones. Essentially, I wish all the things I can’t wish as his girlfriend, because you can’t be with someone and want them to be someone they’re not. Instead, I keep the person he’s not, the person he introduced himself as and the person some people around me got to know, alive in their minds, and I keep him innocent, and in those conversations I can be in love with him without guilt. And I keep my boy on the border town, the boy whose family have welcomed me in as his girlfriend but who knows that, while I’ll take that name, that’s not what I’m going for here – I keep him a secret. Because the people who I keep my ex innocent for would see it for exactly what it is. And it doesn’t reflect well on me.
This is one of the reasons I am apparently a sociopath. He sent me a long letter that he wrote just days after I told him I wanted to sever ties, that I wanted to take the other guy up on his offer and spend the summer just having fun with him. It’s the only reason that I think objectively holds water. I am using this boy. I know he has more invested in our relationship than me and I carry it on anyway. I’m using him for sex, I’m using him for romance, I’m using him because I get bored of being single so easily and I can’t bear to spend the longest summer I will ever have bored. It makes me kind of evil, to him. He doesn’t want to think I’m evil. He thinks I might need help, but he hopes he’s wrong.
When he sent me the document that this was written in he told me that he didn’t mean a lot of what he said any more. There was a lot in there that was hurtful – it was a character assassination, of course it made uncomfortable reading. He didn’t tell me what he could put down to anger and what he could still get behind, but I think what he said about my new relationship – as he sees it, an infidelity – was a lucid and genuine observation, because I have doubts about it too.
I don’t want to stop, because I enjoy it too much – even if it’s just for a few moments a week where I think to myself, “This is it, this is human contact at it’s most pure and ecstatic, and this is making me happy”. I’ve spent large chunks of my postpubescent life living between moments like that.
I have to allow it, or depress myself completely. I have to allow it at least until after the week when his family goes away. Then we won’t even have to fuck quietly, and if I don’t want to I won’t even have to get that train alone when we’re done.