Red is currently smeared around the chapped edges of my lips, my hair is tangled in knots, and mascara-crusted teardrops drape from my eyes to my cheekbones. My heart is deeply weighted today.
I just returned from a trip to Philadelphia, with the sole purpose in sharing the remainder of my heart. Saturday night, I received a phone call from the man I was almost dating. There was never a discussion of official titles, or where this was headed, we just were. I did not expect that our relationship would reach the level that it did. He struggled to tell me there was someone else, someone from his past who took immediate precedence over label-less us. Feelings for an old flame that he needed to explore. For the second time in a year, I had been left for a former lover, and all of the cliché break-up quotes began to fill my mind. One would have thought the second time around would be easier, but this is more difficult than the first.
I made it a point during our courtship to never write about this man specifically, until now (to which I did receive his permission). There was a point in our friendship when I blocked him out completely. I put blinders on and moved forward without him, and this time, I am not so sure I can do that. Slowly, beginning last summer, I allowed his presence inside my mind. I specifically recall the courage it took me to accept his Facebook friend request. It took me a lot of strength and forgiveness to let this man back into my life, and I did so very cautiously, especially considering how things ended for me in the relationship prior to this one.
Last week was filled with an increased passion between us. He and I share a deeply intimate friendship laced with an addictive sexual connection that is difficult for either of us to ignore, and last week, we reached a definitive pique. He invited me to visit him that weekend. There was chilled Prosecco waiting for me upon my arrival because he couldn’t quite remember my favorite champagne. That week’s accumulated sexual tension between us was finally allowed release. Despite the increased pleasure and sensations ricocheting between our bodies, I think my favorite part of last weekend, however, was the mundane. Him cooking me a turkey burger, without cheese because he knows my distaste for it. Helping him with his laundry. Making his bed. Grocery shopping. Drinking morning coffee with one another. Taking my bags to my car, kissing me, asking me if he’d see me soon.
That was one week ago. You never think the last time will be the last. The last adventure you share, the last coffee he buys you, the last kiss that echoes amongst your bones on the two-and-a-half hour drive home. This man helped me rediscover my sexuality after my herpes diagnosis. This man taught me to place value in myself again. This man breathed life back into my heart. I am consumed with depth for him, and on Sunday morning, I decided to share that.
So after grabbing coffee with a friend, I drove to Philadelphia, unannounced, something completely out of character for me. I did not know what I was going to say, and didn’t have an agenda other than to share my heart. Once I arrived, I gathered my courage and knocked on the door, around 1PM. No one was home, no roommates to be found. I opened the door, plopped on the couch and texted him that I was there. He was out of state, and would not be back until later that evening, as he had to change his plans to accommodate my arrival. I decided to explore the city. I found myself at a wine bar and kindly asked the waiter, “What’s a good wine for heartbreak?” I ended up going with the “Crazy White,” as I thought it was an appropriate selection for describing my actions. I sat there alone, sipping, thinking, reflecting, gathering pieces of my heart—years of my heart. I had not expected to write down my words to him, but that is what transpired as I gazed over the streets of Philadelphia.
Upon my return to his neighborhood, I walked down to Main Street for dinner. He texted me that he would be home between 9:30 – 10:30, so I lingered a little longer at the bar than I should’ve. I walked home, one margarita too many, and felt my heart sink into my throat, my bones rattled, my chest caved. My intent was neither to change his mind about his decision, nor persuade him in any way, I simply desired an honest, face-to-face conversation and communication about my accumulated feelings for him, which have been buried over the years.
I never accepted the feelings I held for this man until that phone call Saturday night. We have quite a history. A history of a somewhat, forbidden relationship in college, a mutual hatred for one another, and now, an intimate friendship. If one were to tell me that this is where I would be caught up in my feelings for him, I would have easily laughed it off. Our relationship, as friends, lovers, and the like, is nothing short of complex. I have never been more open and honest with anyone in regards to my feelings. I have never reached this level of depth and complexity with another person with such ease. After my last relationship, I sincerely doubted that I would ever be able to achieve this level of intimacy.
Although he and I are drifting separate ways for now, I know I did the right thing, and I can live without the weight of regret. My theme for 2016, as I’ve stated numerous times, has been honesty. Previously, I have held regret for not sharing my feelings with lovers past, and although I was given the opportunity to share my feelings with this man, and was lucky he was open-minded enough to listen, I do wish I opened my heart to him sooner. I have no regrets about my trip this weekend. My heart made me do it. My heart leaped from my chest Sunday morning and whispered, “This is what you need to do. You have to go. You have to speak. Now.” My heart that I never thought would beat again, now beats because this person walked into my life and showed me a new perspective of myself. Showed me that I am worthy of love, affection, and intimacy. I have nothing but positive things to say to him, about him, and of him, and I hope he finds what he is looking for on his journey. I do not know what is next for me, but I believe my focus is meant to shift.
Some likely will label my actions Sunday as crazy, and in a sense, they are. I never thought I would be the woman driving unannounced, over two-and-a-half hours to spill my heart to a man who likely did not reciprocate them. I am not the woman who waits for a man, especially nine hours. But the heart has reasons for which reason does not understand, and this weekend, I listened...