Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dating Hiatus

Summer love just wasn’t in the cards.

And when in the midst of the break up war zone yesterday, the white flag was raised.

In life, that’s just the name of the game sometimes. Not everything is meant to stay, not everything is meant to be. When things hit a brick wall, you shake it off and you let it go.

On the recommendation of my friends, I’m taking a dating hiatus so to speak. Oscar Wilde once said “When a love comes to an end, weaklings cry, efficient ones instantly find another love, and the wise already have one in reserve.” According to my best friend, I’ve heeded Wilde’s words too precisely.

To be fair, Oscar Wilde is my favorite.

But she is right; I’m always leaving the crosshairs of one relationship in sprint to another. I never stay single for long, and I seldom let a failed attempt at love stand in my way for very long. And this last relationship is evidence to support the very thing I’ve feared all along.

I tried to add a relationship to my life of multiple jobs, graduate school, writing, and dreaming. This move, in all its selfishness, cost both me and former boyfriend precious time. Yet, the end of something is often not so bad, how could it be when you have friends who text you: “That sucks … Phillies game tonight?”

My friends ask if I’m heartbroken. The answer to this is no, I’m not. Although, I do know heartbreak - who doesn’t? Heartbreak has been the unwanted guest at the end of my dinner table. It’s just part of life, a brutal and ugly part … sure, but it’s also inevitable.

Some time ago I loved a boy in the most indescribable way. It was terrifying. I used to write it on notebook paper in class, or on post-it notes at work, only to promptly erase any trace of it away. I questioned it, fought it, detested it, and I treasured it.

Once he asked me if I had ever listened to Death Cab for Cutie. At the time I had the band pegged as “emo;” and that wasn’t for me. But he was into them, and because I was into him I jotted them down in mental note. Later, when logged into my iTunes I updated my library, which now includes a rather extensive collection of Death Cab’s work.

And no, I never mentioned to him that I had explored his preference in music because I didn’t do it for points or bragging rights, I did it because I was so utterly fixated on this boy, and was exceptionally interested in things he loved. We moved quickly; two young and upbeat individuals with only pure affection in our unexplored hearts. These were among the happiest days of my life.

Unfortunately, this love interest of mine and I were very similar in a number of ways; and the most detrimental: our reoccurring surrender to a sabotage mode. A night of battle stirred a blur of damaging remarks hurling from one to the other. It would be days before we would talk again.

Our destructive exchange left wounds, and in the days that separated us I aimed to piece together my thoughts. When I knew nothing had changed for me, I hoped with every thread of my body that he felt the same. But still I didn’t call. Nearly a week later he phoned suggesting we meet the following day to discuss the recent turn of events in our budding relationship. I agreed.

The day of, I woke in pure dread. In my mind I had already seen the worst, he was meeting me to end it, and I was braced for it. I dressed in silence, no one else home in our tiny apartment. And when I emerged, the sun was hidden behind a sea of clouds.

They say love is blind, but that’s absurd, love isn’t blind at all. Love sees every facet, and I did that day. It was overwhelming. Even now, I can describe in detail the bustling scene around us when he took the seat across from me. He said that this particular morning he had risen with the sole purpose of seeking me out and proclaiming the necessity to restore and mend our relationship.

In my mind, all that’s there: past tense, past tense, he’s talking in past tense …

He expressed the unease in which he dwelled all morning as he prepared to meet me, how he had roamed every corner of his place practicing what he would say when he saw me. In his background, as there often was when he felt anxious, the sounds of music twisting their way through doorways and walls. It was this point when he heard Death Cab’s familiar echo.

The song “Tiny Vessels” filled the room and it was there that he understood that all those things he was feeling were painted perfectly by this song. He replayed it, just to be sure, but he was. And he knew right then and there that when he met me that day it would be with one intention: to end it.

In my mind, all that’s there: Tiny Vessels, Tiny Vessels, Tiny Vessels …

I was braced for this, so I let it go. I drove home in silence; climbed the stairs to my apartment where nobody was home. The room was painted dark from a dull sky when I pulled my laptop onto our living room recording desk, hooked it up to the loud speakers, and navigated iTunes until I found it. I played “Tiny Vessels” on repeat, and sat sobbing in our living room. In the aftermath, all I could do was sit there; and so I did … and I wrote.

I wrote every agonizing and unsightly thing I was thinking. It was riveting. And to this day, if Death Cab’s “Tiny Vessels” isn’t playing in the background, I can’t write.

“Tiny Vessels” has become my muse. It is the most fascinating thing. I’m not referring to writing blogs either, as the majority of these are born at my work desk. I’m talking about creative writing, the things I generate, the things I’m the most passionate about. With every CD I’ve made since my ill-fated relationship, I slip the song somewhere in the midst of the other tracks. Just so when I’m sitting at my desk, or I’m driving in my car, I’ll hear the soft music begin to play and my mind spirals.

The song no longer has the negative connotation it did all that time ago, I no longer associate it with the way I felt that day. The feeling I have when I hear it is inexpressible, but whether it’s a sense of painful memory or merely appreciation for the musical flair I was born without – when it hits, I create.

Life moves on, so move with it. I’m not saying that if I hadn’t found this song I would never write, but I am saying it has given me the extraordinary ability to lose myself in something in order to create.

This guy in all his Death Cab glory is someone I still regard as a good friend. I’m in awe of his talent, and we are fortunate enough to have each other to bounce ideas off of; but I’m under no illusion that our newfound friendship is the sole purpose he entered my life.

No, this guy’s function was to provide me with my muse. In the after effects, I’ve produced more work than ever before. Proving there is a reason every single person who penetrates the walls of your life, even for the briefest moments. And it’s hard to be angry when you’ve discovered that.

To all the people who are giving me so much hell, don’t worry. I’m taking some time to be a friend, to be myself, and even some time to be a wingman. At least until October, that is, when the Phillies are World Series bound, and yes … that was a hit at you Bobby DeMuro.

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