Sometimes life hands you an open can of worms.
I was pulling into the parking garage of my temp job and who do you think was walking down the sidewalk? Yep. My ex-husband. I stared in disbelief. He looked up, right at me, without an ounce of recognition. I gave a little, stupid, oops-you-saw-me wave. He kept looking at me like, who the eff are you? Then I pulled into the garage. He must have looked at the license plate - it's distinctively personalized - because when I got to work I had an email from him saying he was surprised to see me.
How long has it been since we've seen each other? A year? More?
So much bad blood.
I had been dreaming a lot last week. He kept showing up, kept appearing in my dreams.
Every time I went to work, I felt haunted by him. I thought it was cyclical, tied to the anniversary of our divorce, but no, -it was actual proximity. He works in a building near me I guess, because he was clearly on his way to work when I saw him.
So I saw him. So what? So. What.
Every time it happens, I feel kicked in the gut. I feel raw. I feel grief-stricken.
That night, for about two minutes, I found myself sobbing wretchedly and before I knew it I was punching the bathroom wall. If you know me at all, then you know that's not a part of my character, but there's something about him, something about how we related to one another, that brings out a genuine fury in me.
Today as I edited some old films into a director's reel, I stumbled across footage of the two of us. And I once again found myself heaving great gulping sobs.
But it wasn't anger.
For the first time in two years, I feel like I was expressing grief over the loss of the real love that existed between us. I don't know when it died for sure - I believe his love for me died a long time before mine died for him, but for a while, for many years, that love was real.
Yes. I know.
We are bad for each other. He did some really awful and unkind things. And I did too.
But before all that.
We loved each other the best way we knew how.
It wasn't very good love overall, neither one of us knew how to do that. But it was love. And it was real.
And I finally find myself grieving that loss.
Everything else to this point was anger and resentment and hatred peppered with betrayal and injustice.
Now it's grief. It's real, pure and painful.
I grieve the love that died so many years ago because if we had jigged left instead of right, or taken recovery seriously, or dealt with our problems at all, we might - we MIGHT- both have gotten what we wanted.
So fucking sad.
I can dwell on the daddy issues for a while and put the whole relationship into a neat little package, blaming my need for my father's acceptance, Aaron's similarities to my father, my desperation to be loved by a man who will never love me. Et cetera. Et cetera. Et cetera.
But you know what? Aaron did love me. He did. My ex-husband once loved me.
Even though I didn't love myself.
Now I'm working on loving myself, on doing what makes me whole.
That's supposed to be enough.
I have a feeling it will be.
But once in a while I remember how he loved me years ago and I wish we had done things differently.
I wish I had tried.
I wish he had, too.
Maybe we'd be exactly where we are now, but at least we would have given our love a chance.
If there's anything I regret, it's that I didn't do it right. I didn't try hard enough. I don't know how I could have, given the tool set that I had, but I wish it anyway.
I hope someday to find happiness.
But for now, I grieve that I couldn't find happiness with the man I loved.
What a missed opportunity.
And yet, that missed opportunity brings forth so many other chances in life.
Here I stand with an open can of worms, crying, sobbing, sniffling, being my usual dramatic self in the isolation of my own home.
I guess I'll dig out my fishing rod and put that wriggling can of worms to good use.