Deep Thoughts on a Dreary Day

This piece was started some months ago when I was feeling down and lonely. It should be noted that I am neither of those things anymore, happily, but for some reason it keeps calling to me from the “Drafts” folder, wanting to be set free into the world.

Perhaps I shouldn’t publish it. It will probably turn out to be one of those posts that stir up a shitstorm and get me into some kind of trouble, but every time I think about deleting it once and for all, I simply can’t. I put too much of myself into it.

You’d think I’d learn about sharing deeply personal things on the internet. But I never do.

Sometimes you’ve just gotta write…


So, when I was four years old my mother and I came home from grocery shopping one day to find the front door of our house slightly ajar. Not open, mind you, but off the latch. Which it normally wasn’t.

My mother, holding the bag of groceries in her one good arm, pushed the door open with her foot. Apparently it didn’t dawn on her to be concerned that we had been burglarized, or that some miscreant may still be in the house.

The door swung open. Sunlight wafted in, illuminating the arc made by the now wide open door on the linoleum.

The kitchen was empty. The table, chairs and breakfront were gone. The light fixture hung awkwardly, centered over nothing.

It turns out, furniture wasn’t all that was gone.

Confused, I walked to the center of the sunspot, plunked down in the middle of the kitchen and stared at the void, wondering where we would eat supper. Hey, I was four.

My mother strode to the counter, placed the groceries upon it, surveyed the barren room for a few moments, looked down at me and said, “See that? Your father has left you”.

As the implications of those seven words sunk in, the four year old me began to wail.

Daddy was gone.

And he didn’t even say goodbye.

Not to me anyway. Forty-two years later, I’m still not 100% certain about the details of what went on between my father and mother prior to their divorce. Did she know he was leaving that morning? Did he just get out when he knew she wouldn’t be around to fight him about what he wanted to take? They have both told me their accounts regarding the demise of our family unit – and they are entirely different. So either they had wildly differing perspectives, or one of them lied.

A moot point really, because no matter what the facts were, at that moment on a sunny morning in 1970, a seed was planted into the fertile soil of my young brain that I’ve been working for decades to uproot:

Men leave.

I wish I could say that growing into an independent, intelligent woman with a decent amount of experience under her belt has taught me the folly of the  belief that sprouted that day, but life has only reinforced it.

One way or another, every man who has meant anything to me has left.

My father, the grandfather who raised me (dropping dead of a massive heart attack = leaving, to a teenager who had already been abandoned by the only other man in her life), two husbands, and every  serious boyfriend I have ever had, save two.

I’m from the old school camp that, if you love someone you stay and work things out.  So I don’t leave. Probably to my detriment in a lot of cases, but I have to know in my heart of hearts that I have done everything I could (within healthy, functional parameters of course) in order to find peace and move on appropriately. Once I do leave, should it come to that, I won’t ever go back…but it doesn’t happen often, and it never happens frivolously.

Given the example of my parents (and really the majority of my family…most of whom have at least one divorce on the books) I’m not entirely sure how I ended up in that camp.

Perhaps I saw what was going on around me growing up and was compelled to make the conscious decision that my life wasn’t going to turn out that way – which of course it did anyway – despite my best efforts.

I think I’m a pretty good significant other. There’s not much that riles me, I don’t play head games, I’m independent and self sufficient, I’m not a fighter or a yeller, I’ve never banished anyone to the couch,  I don’t want control over a man (his time, his money, who he hangs out with, etc), I don’t have a problem with sports, I’m at peace with porn/strip clubs/boys nights out/bachelor parties/female friends and I have a raging sex drive that leaves most of the men I’ve met in the dust, while at the same time being fiercely loyal and a serial monogamist.

It’s true, I don’t cook…but no one has ever left me stating my preference for take out as the reason.

The only relationship rules I have are these:  honesty, respect (which I am fully willing to earn) and fidelity.  And if you want out, just tell me rather than betraying me. Please with a cherry on top, no more betrayal.

That’s it. Not rocket science really.

Still they go. A lot of them cheat, which I find mind boggling given the fact that, unless I’m seriously ill, I have never rebuffed a partner. More than should, however, just vanish. Stop calling. Go away.

You know me, I love to conduct informal polls, so I asked the breadth of my female friends how many of their relationships ended because the guy just fell off the face of the earth. Not dates mind you…everyone expects a man to say “I’ll call you” after a date here or there and not do it…I’m talking ongoing relationships.

Most cited none. The highest number was two.

I’ve lost count.

One particularly memorable example was a guy I had dated all the previous winter. This is New England, so that’s about 5 months. He dropped me off one night, kissed me goodbye and said, “I love you…we’re going to have a great summer!”.

And he was never heard from again.

I was young (19). I thought he died. He must have, right? Who says they love you and then disappears?

Turns out, a lot of men do.

I ran into him 6 months later, in a bar, with another woman. I went up to him and said, “My god, you ARE alive!”  He had nothing to add.

So yeah, life experience has validated the conclusion my four year old brain came to, many times over.

The question haunting me all of my life has been this: Do men leave…or do they just leave me?

I asked my mother that once. She rolled her eyes and left the room. That was probably supposed to be an answer.

A high school boyfriend that I dated for like five minutes Senior year once told me I was unlovable.   He wanted to trade me in for my prettier cousin and I took issue with the fact that he was doing so on a trip we were all taking together. With her boyfriend there too. Whom I was supposed to agree to “swap” with.  This earned me the title of Unlovable.

Logically, I know he was just a dumb jock who was pouting because I wouldn’t roll over and let him treat me like something he’d scrape off his shoe, and he  said the first spiteful thing that came into his mind.

But every time someone leaves me, his words echo in my head. And I wonder if he was right.

What is it about me that drives men away? Am I too independent? Not enough of a damsel they can “rescue” or bunny rabbit they can chase? Am I too straight forward and low maintenance to seem worth being with?

Is it my penchant for the multiple orgasm?

Or do I, out of some subconscious need to perpetuate an unfortunate dynamic I witnessed in childhood, simply choose mean who are, one way or another, unavailable?

It’s true,  I will run screaming if I sense a guy is a Stage 5 Clinger, and that factors like long distances won’t stop me if I really like someone…well, and I did date that soldier who was about to deploy for a year…

Food for thought.

But I’ve also turned away from situations I knew would never lead to a committed relationship; the one who turned out to still be legally married the entire time we dated, the guy online who said in his profile he was divorced but confessed on our 2nd date to only be separated, the friend who kept hitting on me saying how good we’d be together when I knew he was an utter and complete player. I could go on an on.

So while I have certainly chosen poorly now and again, I’m not quite ready to subscribe entirely to the “I pick men who are unavailable” theory.

I honestly don’t know.

For a long time I was pretty hell bent on having a family. To “do it right” I suppose; to fix the world for that little four year old girl who went from wondering where she was going to eat supper to wracking her young brain to figure out what she did wrong that made her Daddy leave, by raising a child of my own.

That turned out not to be in the cards for me, and instead my path has been about learning  family isn’t necessarily DNA and that I have already raised a child…up off that devastating kitchen floor…and into a woman that I actually like.  A lot.

Still, all I have ever wanted is to have a man in my life that I knew – I KNEW – I mattered to.  Money, power, fast cars, trips abroad, shiny things…none of that means anything to me.

To love and be loved, that is my one simple goal. To become, as the rose became to the Little Prince, “unique in all the world.”  To matter.

Matter enough to be honest to, even when it’s hard. Matter enough to see past the quirks and flaws to the woman who loves with everything that she is. Matter enough to face the world together as true partners.  Matter enough to do what no other man has…

Matter enough to stay.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. skhen
    Jul 27, 2012 @ 18:02:32

    You are such a talented writer. Thanks for posting your post and baring your being, xx p.s. sangrias soon?

  2. Shabby Vintage Junk
    Aug 01, 2012 @ 21:25:26

    BEAUTIFULLY written….What on earth are parents thinking when they make comments about their relationships in front of their children….Mine were SHOCKERS & I’m haunted by the words carelessly flung my way as a child….The sins of the father & all that….

    Hope you’re having a BRILLIANT week….!

    Tamarah :o)

  3. DEM
    Aug 09, 2012 @ 21:24:24

    I simply couldn’t stop reading this! Thank you for sharing such a deep part of you; letting us into your thoughts and life!

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