Thursday, May 11, 2006

She Says

I wrote a post a while back about how Not Boyfriend was moving and how I decided at that time how I was ready to let him go. Turns out, I was delusional. Not ready. Because when it came down to actually saying goodbye to him when he was leaving the state? Not so easy.

It was last Christmas Day and he called me because he was in the neighborhood and wanted to say goodbye before he left the next morning. I went over to, ironically, the senior parking lot of our high school to meet him. I could feel the tears start to prickle behind my eyes as I was driving over there, and I was like “Great. We’re off to a smashing start.” So he drives up and we’re standing by his truck talking. I was doing just fine, but then the tears started welling up uncontrollably. Stupid tears.

I thought I was ready to let him go. To let go of the hope that I held onto for a long time. To move on. I guess what I forgot about in all of that was that a friend leaving for an indefinite amount of time is sad in itself. And when it’s someone that I’ve been invested in; someone I’ve loved so much and wanted to be with so much, well, that’s sad. The prospect of maybe never seeing someone that you really care about ever again? Sad. He kept telling me that it wasn’t goodbye. That we’d keep in touch. And I knew he meant it, but because of his past track record, I wasn’t sure about that at all. So it wasn’t the fact that he was leaving, or that we weren’t going to be together, it was the feeling of finality I had as I was standing there. The feeling that yes, actually, it was goodbye.

We hugged and I fought against the tears again. We got into our cars and drove away, he towards his next step, and me back to my parents’ house. I cried, but only a little because I didn’t want to – I knew if I started, I’d never stop. I tried to get totally under control, and I did it. No more tears. Until later, when I turned my head quickly and smelled him – he always smelled so good and somehow it always rubbed off on my clothes. So I wiped away the tears and changed my shirt.

That was almost 5 months ago. And I realized recently that you know what? Even though when he left, and I was determined to let go and move on, I didn’t. Not right away, at least. Amazingly, he was true to his word and has kept in touch – he calls me about once a week, which shocked the hell out of me when he started doing it. It's almost more shocking that he's kept doing it. Anyway.

I was supposed to see him when I went to Vegas with the girls last month. Only I didn’t. I didn’t feel like it. I was there with my friends and I didn’t want to miss a minute with them. I didn’t feel like I should sacrifice my time for him, when there were so many times he never did that for me, when we were in the same state. For a year. I didn’t do it to punish him, I just had other priorities. Finally, maybe, the right priorities.

And that’s when I realized that Not Boyfriend? No longer in the running for the title of “Actual Boyfriend.” Because when he was, he was a priority, at the expense of things that were probably infinitely better for me. I still love him, but not in the same way. Not at all. I no longer hope that things will “work out” between us. They already have – we’re friends. And that’s how things will stay.

Come around to another time when you don’t have to run
And when she says she wants somebody else
I hope you know she doesn’t mean you
And when she says she wants someone to love
I hope you know she doesn’t mean you
-- Howie Day, "She Says"
(Go here and scroll down if you want to see the video for this song)

17 comments:

Kristen said...

Amber, wow.........

this hit home.....so close to home.

I'm living that relationship right now

-J said...

Very interesting post. It leave me with a question that you can answer if you want.

Do you think maybe that's how it's supposed to be? Maybe the person that you care about and want as an actual boyfriend, you shouldn't care about so much that you sacrifice everything, or so much, of what's important to you. That you, instead, are just good friends with them, or do you believe that there needs to be that extra level where somehow you end up sacrificing things for this other person?

Ariel1980 said...

You've captured this experience so well that I actually leaned into the monitor while reading it, and I felt like I could see that parking lot where you were talking: it's a strong visual I can't shake from my mind. Funny how growth and change sneak up on us---when we, the children of the culture of instant gratification, realize that these things don't happen instantly, and that there is a process to moving on. I'm glad for you that these things are taking place! =)

Alice said...

funny how when you're going through something emotional, practically every song lyric seems extra-potent and describes all your feelings perfectly... i might just get "ex girlfriend" out of my head now due to those howie day lyrics.

good for you for getting to where you are... i always like the moment of realization when i can take a step back and know i've moved on to a healthier/better/whatever place.

Whinger said...

It's nice to get to a point where you can let go as it's one of the most freeing feelings out there.

Good for you.

Hope said...

I was totally misreading the beginning of this post as I was expecting you to say you HAD decided to move. To be with Not Boyfriend! Oh, the relief I felt when I realized that's not what it was about at all. Anyway, isn't it amazing to finally be moving on. For real. And not just SAYING you're moving on? It's very freeing.

Cheryl said...

Wow. An amazing post. Isn't it amazing how gradually realizations can come to us sometimes? I think you're right in everything you said. And ready to move on.

luvwannabefree25 said...

Great post. The first few months really suck don't they?! Great site.

JD ;)

Marissa said...

What an awesome post, Amber. Funny, I am sort of going through a similar experience with someone I could also term Not Boyfriend. Anyway, this is great. I am so glad the outcome turned out just as it was supposd to!

Jon said...

That kind of thing is always difficult to go through, but it sounds like you have dealt with it well.

Aliecat said...

Oh, man, this is totally me right now.

dasi said...

Gee, I thought I commented yesterday... maybe I typed the stupid verification wrong...! Anyway, I am really proud of you for putting yourself first. It's totally ok to keep him in your life, but in a HEALTHY way. It seems you are doing just that. Yay, Amber! Now I'll go try that stupid word verification again...

Mr. Fabulous said...

Sounds like it has worked itself out alright. It seems like you are in a good place right now. Good for you!

Janet said...

You are smart... finally coming to such a conclusion is hard.

Michael Manning said...

Letting go also means taking hold and I bet you will be just fine. No one can ever know "exactly" what you are feeling but you, since you are walking in your skin. But I know you have a bright future, and just stopped by to visit and say Best to You!

star firstbaseman said...

Oh, the boy smell.

I hate it. It's so good and so, so bad.

Kellie said...

Sounds like you are in a really good place with it. I'm glad! It's always hard to get there.