Few days ago, I humored the thought of writing a what-if post. What if I never gave her that note in Ms. Ramos’s 6th period Spanish II class? What if I paid more attention the year before rather than flunking out the second semester? That’s the difference between writing with an angry heart and writing with a passive one. I can’t stand the thought of it now because a life without Shaun is not a life I want to imagine.
There’s a part of me that will always love Jeanna. She’s the mother of my child. She’s the woman I spent close to a decade with. Her arms were my home, where I found peace. I’d lose myself in her smile, drown in her eyes. Sometimes, though, things aren’t meant to work out. And like the alcoholic, I hope that I find the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.
Jeanna and I never married, though I wanted to. Nothing ever felt right to me, though. The timing. My place in life. My pride. I didn’t want to find myself married to someone who, in a few years, couldn’t stand me. Or worse, didn’t love me. So many people run off and marry young and divorce young. People tell me that I put too much emphasis in the relationship. It’s not that way at all. I’m searching for a family. Like the one my father left. And it’s insane that I’m thirty-one years old and I live my life by another man’s standards. All these years, despite what I write, I hold on to that childhood grudge. It’s poisoned me to the core. And it ruined my once chance of happiness. Or so I believed.
Letting go isn’t easy for me. Admitting something is over when there’s still fight left in me is worse. A person can become a shadow-boxer if he isn’t careful. Javier wasn’t a fighter. He never made the effort to win my mother over. Just a pathetic man with his addiction. Yet, all these years of me proving I’m better than him, I’m realizing that my addiction is no less damaging.
Every fight for Jeanna wasn’t to prove my love for her. It was to prove that I wasn’t my father. That I wouldn’t let someone as good as she slip from my fingers. Never seeing the warning signs. I became so full of myself and my needs and my desires that I ignored everything she was going through.
When she broke up with me for the last time two years ago, I expected the same song and dance we always had. In no time, we’d be in each other’s arms. It never happened. A few days ago, I finally worked up the nerve to ask her about her personal life. I knew the answer already before she spoke it. There’d been signs. If there’s one thing Jeanna’s not good at, it’s covering the tracks. For a month, she’d been seeing someone. “It’s no big deal,” she told me. It crushed my heart. Sunday, I walked into a scene from a movie. It damn near killed me. And I let the anger and depression build.
I once wrote a poem called “The Cynic’s Love Poem” (or was it “The Cynical Love Poem?”). I wrote it in a dark period in my friendship with Miranda. While the poem itself ran for several stanzas, only the last two lines survived. I think about it from time to time, when the mood visits me. However, today, I read a haiku written by a friend:
“Some marriages work
Things out…some marriages work
Better in divorce…”
It gave me a little chuckle. Even though I avoided marriage to avoid divorce, I still find myself in that place. Watching the woman I loved for nine years taking the steps to start a new life. This is uncharted territory for yours truly. Shoulder it with everything else and march forward because what else can I do? I’ll see what new paths take me and what adventures I’ll stumble upon. Thinking I should write again. Best way to get over a woman is to write about them, no? Wasn’t that Henry Miller or Bukowski or someone? I should use all this—feelings and experiences and such—to figure out something. It’ll be good. She deserves a chance to find a happiness different from ours. And I’ll be okay. That much I can promise. Because I know it’s all right to cry. And I know it’s okay to feel sad. I’m just not ready to live like I’ve given up.
2 thoughts on ““Tears remind you you’re alive””
Thank you for writing this. It amazing me each and every day how much a person’s past dictates our present and future. Every scar left by a parent or past memory changes us in ways difficult to unravel. Or how you can understand something intellectually, like how Javier was an addict and had his own issues–and yet, emotionally and almost naturally, you tend to follow patterns without realizing it. Like a train set on a track someone else built–and not quite knowing how to rearrange the tracks for yourself.
Yours are the comments I look forward to the most. Thank you.