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Let us forget with generosity those who cannot love us

July 9, 2014

When someone breaks up with you, it’s the worst. When they don’t give you a reason, or one you can understand, it’s even worse.

When people hurt you, your immediate response is to walk away. So you do that. But it’s not without its consequences.

You miss him more than you can stand most days. Cutting someone out of your life used to be a point of pride. You’re good at it, you feel pride in being able to reject the people who’ve hurt you, it awakens a cold, cruel part of you. Usually. In this case, you just feel sad that someone you thought was so important isn’t a part of your life anymore.

It doesn’t help that this comes on the heels of something even worse:

Your dad has cirrhosis. His liver and his kidneys are both failing. His body is shutting down. He’s been in and out of the hospital for the last year. Some people know, some don’t. Your coworkers have been kind when you’ve come in pale from lack of sleep, lack of food, from hours spent in the emergency room, again (and again and again..). There’s been talk of hospice care, and what life-saving measures he would and wouldn’t prefer.

You were used to the white walls, the sense of losing time, the smells of the hospital even before all this. The last few weeks he’s been better, he’s been home, in good spirits, and comforting you, strangely enough, when you burst into tears in the middle of a conversation. “I wasn’t in love”, you say. And he replies, “It doesn’t matter, when you love someone, when you spend time with someone, even if you’re not in love, you get attached. It hurts when it’s over. I know, I’ve been there. Tough motherfucker that I am, I’ve been there.”

And he tells you about Milly, again, that girl he shacked up with in Spanish Harlem when he was 19, the one who left him because he loved dope more than he loved her. He’s got a lot of stories, and you’re desperate to get them all down before he leaves you. That’s what you do in life, you hear stories, you listen to people, you record the past. It feels like a sacred duty, a responsibility to document your people, whose voices are so often erased, whose triumphs are relegated to the margins of history while their tragedies remain up front, centered. This, your present calling, the thing that gives a semblance of structure and meaning to your life, this one thing, and you’ve failed to do it for him yet. You tried to, and you were both overcome with feeling.

It’s not easy bringing the past into the light.

So you spend days bursting into tears, alternating between feeling sorry for yourself that you’re 28, you live with your parents, and you don’t know what to do with your life, and feeling angry at the universe for having no sense of justice, no sense of what’s right, what’s fair. It’s trying to take your dad from you, your dad with all his fuck ups, all the ways he’s failed you and your family, all his tecato stories, all his love, all his advice, all those times he corrected your terrible Spanish a little too emphatically…while it lets others live, walk, stay. You begin to think even with everything he’s done and all the people he’s hurt, that it’s not fair, it doesn’t balance out, the scales are fucked. This isn’t right. When you’re not feeling this confusing and intense swirl of emotions, you’re busy grieving the loss of a relationship that wouldn’t have lasted anyway, probably. You’re not sure if you thought this was the one, but it could have been. You think back to the trip you took, and how happy you were, how happy you thought you were. What did I do?, you ask yourself. But there’s no such thing as closure, and you’ll never know what someone else was thinking or feeling while you were sinking into that feeling, that safe and secure feeling of someone loves me.

So you begin again. You tell your friends, your sister, your parents that you’re not doing well, so you throw yourself into trying to. You see your friends, paint your toenails, take walks in the sun. You make plans to move, look at apartments, pitch stories to magazines, look for ways to be the best version of yourself you can be. Because you realize, you like yourself, you love yourself, and you deserve a world that’s fair, that’s just, that’s beautiful and right. And even though you won’t get that, not exactly, you can have something.

You look for the light. You believe in poetry, in words, in all the ways they’ve saved you, you remember Neruda and learn to forget with generosity all those who could not love you…

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 10, 2014 12:15 pm

    Beautiful. Really. ((hug))

  2. July 10, 2014 8:09 pm

    This hit the nail on the head in many ways. Thanks for sharing!

  3. July 14, 2014 9:26 pm

    This hit home on many levels..wow. Thank you for putting it together so well, wishing you much love and peace ❤

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