I had a guinea golden; I lost it in the sand, And though the sum was simple, And pounds were in the land, Still had it such a value Unto my frugal eye, That when I could not find it I sat me down to sigh. I had a crimson robin Who sang full many a day, But when the woods were painted He, too, did fly away. Time brought me other robins,-- Their ballads were the same,-- Still for my missing troubadour I kept the "house at hame." I had a star in heaven; One Pleiad was its name, And when I was not heeding It wandered from the same. And though the skies are crowded, And all the night ashine, I do not care about it, Since none of them are mine. My story has a moral: I have a missing friend,-- Pleiad its name, and robin, And guinea in the sand,-- And when this mournful ditty, Accompanied with tear, Shall meet the eye of traitor In country far from here, Grant that repentance solemn May seize upon his mind, And he no consolation Beneath the sun may find.- - -
Some days I am still sad, deep down in my gut, over the things that happened three years ago. As summer began, I simultaneously abandoned someone who had become deeply connected with me - practically drove her out of our house - and was also utterly rejected by someone that I felt a frighteningly intense aching desire to be with. Everything changed, especially my perception of myself. I became a person who made awful mistakes. I had lived a generally peaceful life up until then, focused mainly on finding love, going with changes as they happened, and valuing warmth and gentleness above everything else. I was pretty sure I knew what I was doing, and I felt like I was a dependable and committed person who kept his promises, and had no guilt over any decisions. Then some wellspring broke open down inside me and all of those ideas were poisoned by what came out.
Now I face all future feelings of love with the knowledge that love can decline, or worse yet, be poisoned. On the face of it, that's no more wisdom than I gained when I was a teenager, when my first hesitant and sloppy romance began and collapsed shortly afterwards, with much dramatic flailing and pontificating to my friends and my parents and my equally feckless newly-minted ex-girlfriend. The difference between then and now is, now I feel the weight of history, pressing in from the walls, telling me that it doesn't matter how strong the feelings are or how careful and patient the players; love not only can decline, it will. Every time. You can practically set your god damned watch by it.
Now I wrestle with that history, and the argument it tries to make:
Perhaps I might just be better off alone.
I have a house that is quiet and sunny and clean. I have my health back. I have a challenging, honorable job with a nonexistent commute. Culture and adventure surrounds me.
Why should I let somebody else wade into this, just so they can screw it all up?
A few times since the trauma of three years ago, I have felt fully, deliriously in love, with a new person, and reassured myself that yes, now I am free of that old insidious misery, that regret and emptiness, and a new chapter can begin, with a fresh start. I feel reawakened. I feel ready to stake my faith and trust in partnership once again, and begin work on a foundation for something with no expiration date. But, at some point, the connection acquires weight, and the weight begins to drag, and I wonder if I'm making just another damned awful mistake. As the lead says in Seven Brides For Seven Brothers - "I get a sinking feeling." Some days I feel half-buried already. Other days I feel confident and dauntless again, and the sky is the limit, and yes it takes work but the work is fully worthwhile.
I hate that sinking feeling. I hate the way that I get depressed - some food-borne systemic issue, some sleep disruption, maybe a lack of sun, I don't know - and I'm suddenly tangled up in guilt again, like a spider web. I feel guilt over the way I pushed someone away, deeply wounding someone who was blameless and didn't want things to end, and I feel intense anguish over the way I was rejected, repeatedly, by someone I had very unwisely handed my heart to despite their dangerous flaws. Those two people are not in my life now. They are well outside it. It is quite possible that I will not see either of them in person, ever again. Many other things have happened since those incidents as well; many important things.
But I still bear that wellspring of poison inside me, and I don't even understand why.
I am determined not to let it consume me, but some days it gets very hard. My obsessive autobiographical mind is vulnerable to this. Being alone has advantages, but I know I am happier with more, and against odds I have found a good thing and it bears the promise of many great things to come.
I have no idea what's going to happen now.
- - -
I stepped from plank to plank So slow and cautiously; The stars about my head I felt, About my feet the sea. I knew not but the next Would be my final inch,-- This gave me that precarious gait Some call experience.