There have been 49 days of 2019 and during that time I have written exactly 0 creative words. Dramatic pause. In calculating the days, I’m really happy I didn’t get to 50, but maybe that’s just my tending toward the poetic and appreciation of round numbers. The point, however, is that IT’S OVER.
In that light, I’m going to share the ground-breaking end-of-a-dry-spell words that I wrote! They are rough and I have no idea what Work in Progress or storyline this could fit into, but I’ll cherish them forever for ending my walk through the desert — it was rough.
Here’s the usual disclaimer about Works in Progress: Work in Progress, or WIP, posts are excerpts from open writing projects. All writing is my own and in the rough draft phase. Take it (but don’t actually take it, copyright me and all that) for what it is!
I stepped out into the brisk February air and got hit in the face with the crispness of it, having spent something like the last 24 hours nestled in my cozy apartment taking advantage of all things soft, comforting and filled with sugar. Immediate concerns — mainly the stench emanating from my trash can — pulled me from my cocoon for a brief moment of real life in the heart-break mending day. Taking out the trash was one of those tasks that particularly gets under my skin, I envision it as the quintessential man task and am reminded of my lack of one each time I have to perform the agonizing chore.
Taking a deep breath of fresh air, I looked around at the twilight of the day, the darkening and the changing colors of the sky, before my eyes settled on a man in a leather jacket closing the door of a car that I don’t recognize. And down the five steps from my door to the walkway, he pauses and looks at me: “Hi.”
“Hi,” I say as the tears that have been pulling from my eyes all day make threats to betray my steely exterior. I fidgeted with my trash, moving it in front of me like a shield.
“Hi,” he said again.
“You already said that.”
“Yes, I did,” he looks at his feet, hands in his pockets, shoulders hiked and exhales. “I don’t know what to say next.”
“You’ve been driving for three hours, you didn’t have some time to think about it.”
“All I was thinking about during the drive down here was, ‘Must get to her.’”
“O,” I said, as I shuffle from one foot to the other and realize that the trash is still there. I give him as wide a berth as possible and walk toward the dumpster. Not looking at him gives me a few moments to think — well, that and a shake of the head. I open the dumpster, toss in the bag, take a deep breath and a mini pep talk before turning around. I see him leaning against the car I don’t recognize, watching me walk back toward him like he’s the prey and I’m the predator. When I get within three feet, I say, “Do you want to come in?”
“Please,” he says.
I pivot to the door ahead of him, always aware of him a few steps behind me. I open the door and wave a hand, stand by my coat tree and offer to take his coat, which he hands over and I hang up. “Would you like something to drink? Need to use the bathroom?”
“Do I need to use your bathroom?” he says as he looks at me quizzically.
“Well, you were just on a very long ride…”
He laughs a little bit, but I just look at him, begging him to let me off the hook. I circled the coffee table and sit on the other side of the couch that he would seemingly sit at, and sit down looking up at him.
“I — just — I couldn’t leave things the way we were going. The back and forth and the talking and not talking and the answering phone calls or not answering phone calls. It’s crazy. It’s — We’re so far past this.”
“We’ve been through this before. We can’t stay away from each other. It hurts both of us. My life is better with you in it, and, while I’m not convinced yours is actually better with me in it, you want me to be in it and that says something.
“We’ve been there for each other for more than 10 years and I’m not just going to let you walk away from me.”
“O,” I say, nodding, absorbing what he’s saying.
“Say something else, please.”
“How do we stay in each other’s lives right now? How do you live your life without having to lie to me? How do I continue to be a fly on the wall in your life without being hurt about you living your life? How do I try to keep you in my life and yet keep my distance when every time we get close I end up inescapably in love with you?”
“I don’t know.”
“I don’t know either.”
And that’s when I broke, when the tears started to flow. He moved toward me to hug me. I held my hand up to try and stop him in his tracks but my powers of telekinesis are purely imaginary. And he was right there, wrapping himself around me as sobs went through my body. It felt amazing in a very forbidden and right way, I let myself melt into it, feeling all the sorrow.
When I was able to catch my breath, I remembered the most significant pain point for me. That when I pulled away or he pulled away, after the end, the void would leave me unhinged.
“If love were enough…” I whispered into his chest remembering an episode of Grey’s Anatomy with a particularly pointed storyline describing the lack of fairness in the world. If love were enough, we’d make it. This sheer will that the two of us have exerted over years and miles shows the force with which we care about each other. If love were enough to overcome all obstacles, addiction, depression, economics, insecurity, obligations and physical placement would stand no chance. If love were enough, I wouldn’t be here, crying into the armpit of a guy who drove hundreds of miles to help ease my open wound. That’s love, that’s caring, o that it were enough.