My Tongue Dances Behind My Lips For You (Take My Hand, I Give It To You)
"Tonight is the Equinox. If only we knew how little we knew, we would have permanently dropped jaws and wide-open mouths. We would be forever in awe of the truly amazing nature of the cosmos. We would see our own lives as miracles and even the most trivial exchanges with the people around us would be full of overwhelming beauty, meaning and majesty. None of that, though, would get us to work on time. So we are somehow wired to ignore the divine at the essence of existence. This weekend, though, you may just catch a glimpse."
What a whirlwind few years. I don’t even know where to start telling you all what this has been. I feel the need to recap. Sometimes I feel like I even fail to understand how life takes us where it does.
When I was 17, falling in love (truly, in love) hit me like a ton of bricks. I didn’t see it coming, I didn’t know it was there, and I was unprepared with how to deal with it. When I realized that I was in love with one of my best friends, and he didn’t have eyes for me, all I could do was cry. It frustrated me, because I still didn’t really understand why I had tears over him. I hadn’t grasped what was about to dawn on me. But then when he realized he felt the same, and we were finally together, it was like the world I’d lived in before was just a preview– like, wow. This is what the world really looks like. I was young. I was a naive idealist, and I had a lot to be robbed of still. After 6 years together, wonderful, blissful, exciting and tumultuous, I never imagined a life without him, even when I was unhappy. The first few years of our relationship were a whirlwind. I felt like I held the world in my hand, and I could do or be anything. I felt endless. He made me feel important and worthy. But over the years, everything came to a plateau. I began to feel like an obstactle he was trying to overcome. I was in his way. I was a burden. As I became more ill, I was more of a road block than ever. Any caring, on his part, that he had nothing to gain from, was absolutely nonexistant. Sometimes I wondered what life would have been like if my choices had been different, but I never wished I could change any of them. I was sure that everything could be resolved. I had faith of the heart. When Steve cheated on me– it was like someone had destroyed my world. I was living in hell- the one that I’d previously always believed I was meant for. He’d cured me (so temporarily) of my pessimism. And then he gave it back. When one is replaced, when six years of your life is nullified, you’re left wondering who you are. Were you ever the person you thought you were? I could no longer discern the truth from all of the lies. I had to start over, and I was left by that man in the depths of depression, and self-hatred. I was never going to be the same, never going to feel the way I’d felt, ever again. One moment, Steve would try to hold me and apologize, and swear that he wanted it to work out. And God help me, I was willing to forgive his cheating, and let him keep his friendship with the girl he cheated on me with. And the next day he’d be telling me what a stupid bitch I am, and that I should go out and get hit by a truck if I’m going to insist on flapping my goddamned jaw for even one more second. "How could anyone love a stupid fucking cunt like you?" Some words can never be erased. Then he’d come back later, grovelling, trying to undo it and apologize, telling me how I’d given him some of the best things in his entire life, that can never be replaced by anyone else. He would cry and tell me that the thought of my being with anyone but him killed him inside. And before I even knew how to obsorb it, he was back to telling me that I’m a pathetic fuck and that maybe I should kill myself. Something inside will always be broken, now that I know what living like that is like. Almost dying and coping with that, and survival, didn’t simplify it at all. Now, even the smallest of lies puts everything into question. My past has caused me to re-evaluate every word and action, when one aspect of anything proves to be untrue. The questions fill me with madness, and hatred. Not knowing the truth was going to be my absolute undoing, and trying to find it nearly killed me. As disheartening as it is, my distrust of Steve saved my life. If I’d let him make me believe that I was just hyperventilating and being a hypochondriac, and gone back to bed, I would have died. 30 more minutes. Just 30 minutes and I would have died.
At 22, I felt like I had lived through two decades without accomplishing anything. When I woke up from my coma in the hospital, I was angry that I didn’t die. Steve and Stephanie showed up at my hospital bed when I woke up, with a card and flowers. But then, everyone was still sure I was going to die. What a pathetic fool I must have looked like to them, strapped to a heart monitor and an IV in my wrinkled hospital gown, just waiting to kick the bucket. What a joke it must have been to them. I never thought I would be filled with absolute enraged fury over surviving. I never thought I would want to rip the still-beating heart from my own chest. I hated the very concept of God. How could he force me to live this life even one more second? When I didn’t die, I learned to accept it. The pain I was in woke up before me every day, and went back to sleep after I did, every night. I never thought it would disappear. It became a part of me, and I lived inside of it, it didn’t live inside of me anymore. After getting out of the hospital and moving in with Katrina, I took some time to be irresponsible, irrational, and totally useless. I experimented with drugs, drinking, useless partying. I spent time with reckless friends I hadn’t seen in years. I went on dates with men who were totally not my type. Of course, I was a good girl and always went home alone to my own bed. Sex, even then, was a sacred thing for me. The last time I’d done it, even with my ex, we were together. Even together, that last time, he made me feel… horrible. I felt used afterwards, like he’d done it just to prove he could. It was cold, emotionless and rough, and I knew it was the last time. I had been left feeling so disgusted by it that I had to shower to wash it off. Even though it was consentual, emotionally, it felt like rape. I left my sister’s after a few months, coming out basically the same person. Maybe a little more docile. I forgot myself, for awhile, in the desire to live up to everyone’s expectations of me. I needed to find her again. For a long time, I wanted to be heard. I wanted to contact him and let him know what he had turned my life into- turned me into. It took a long time for me to realize that being away from him and cutting off all contact was the only way. I couldn’t keep reopening my wounds with questions and selfish intentions, if I ever wanted them to heal. I had my closure already. To keep seeking vengeance or greater understanding or justice… nothing was ever going to make it right. Nothing could. It was time to move on.
When I moved in with my Mom, I didn’t know what was going to happen. I’ve played it safe my whole life- always done what I was told to, or asked to. The first time I ever made a huge decision based on what I wanted, it nearly took my life. What did I know? Moving in with my Mom, considering our past, was a huge risk for me to take. But I did it. Life was always easier for me when I was just an automiton taking commands. I’d been staying on my own comfy little river for so long that I wasn’t sure it was taking me anywhere I should be, anymore. So I decided to let the current of the outside world take me for awhile. I still have no regrets. Things weren’t easy, but they could have been worse. I’m even sure that they would have been worse.
When I met John, I wasn’t looking for someone to love, or for someone to love me. I didn’t realize that my presence had any impact- hell, I could barely feel myself. I was totally numb. So I wasn’t looking at him that way… he was just a friend. When I started to dip my toes in the water again, I got to know someone who was also recently heartbroken. After hours of daily conversation, of being awed with one another, never saying what we wanted to, we healed those wounds together. Perhaps not completely, but if things hadn’t changed, it would have been possible. The right pieces were definitely in place. But distance, not desire, was the factor. And I don’t regret that. I never find myself questioning alternative plotlines. This person prepared me to fall in love again. For that, I can never thank him enough. I hope he finds someone, too. When things between me and this friend didn’t work out as I’d hoped, I became happy, and even excited, to be a free agent. I was so happy to just be myself again. I didn’t need anyone to fulfill or perfect me. During Star Wars night at my Mom’s, John and I took off temporarily to go buy Invader Zim at London Drugs. I don’t know if he’d ever seen it. He’ll say now that he mostly bought it because I liked it. We ended up being gone for a little while longer than we had planned, because we were so excited that he put Invader Zim into the DVD player in his car and we watched it for a little while. Enjoying that stayed with me, so maybe a few weeks later, for whatever reason, during work, I called John and invited him to see a movie with me.
Now, we’d consider that our first date. He showed up on my doorstep that afternoon, and we went to see Dark Knight. I swear that I fell in love with him right then and there. At the bottom of the stairs at my front door, he stood in his riding gear, helmet in hand, having come straight from work, smiling like he owned the world. It was the smallest of things– just a smile. But he could have conquered the world with that smile. My house was a stir of whispers about my "date" with John. On the drive there, we conversationally danced around our attraction to one another, lying through our teeth that it was simply a platonic, mutual interest in Batman that was bringing us together. He paid for dinner and the movie. And the whole time, I just wanted him to kiss me. He didn’t, though he admits that he still doesn’t remember most of the movie. He wanted to kiss me. I went to his birthday in August. Mom and Tori were having a huge fight, and were going to refuse to go if they had to see each other. I didn’t realize it then, but I cared too much about him to let either of them ruin his birthday with their bickering. So I lectured them both and got them both to come and have a good time. We all went to see Star Wars The Animated Movie afterward, and John and I sat beside each other.
In September, on one of my days off, John showed up at my front door, again. Initially, I’d thought he was looking for my Mom. When he told me he was looking for me, I could hardly contain my happiness. He invited me over to his house to watch the Star Wars episode of Robot Chicken and Blue Harvest. Chris was at work until very late. After that, we watched The Island. I didn’t want to go home. During the movie, curled up with him on the couch under a blanket, he held my wrist (I think, too afraid to hold my hand) under the blanket. He stroked my arm gently, with his thumb. Eventually he was holding my hand. I didn’t know what was happening. I knew what I wanted it to mean, but I wasn’t sure if to him, it meant anything. Sometime into the evening, well after Chris went to bed, we talked about the past. I told him about Steve, and why I moved to Nanaimo. I cried, and he held me. And he told me about his past, and we held each other. I started to fall asleep after awhile, and fell asleep on his lap. I felt him caressing my face, running his hands through my hair as I tried to sleep. But his hands were sending sparks through my body. I couldn’t sleep. He was keeping me awake. He held me in his arms, and I moved my face to look up at him and I closed my eyes.
I felt his breath on my face, and I couldn’t breathe. He was so close, and I couldn’t bring myself to touch him as much as I wanted to. His breathing quickened, and so did mine. He wouldn’t do it. I knew he wouldn’t. Strangely, to this day we’re still not sure who the initiator was. It was probably mutual. We kissed. Months of pent up anticipation were in that kiss. It blew me away. I stayed curled up in his arms until 5:30 in the morning, when we both had to leave to get ready for work. We didn’t tell anyone about our new relationship. We hid it for a few weeks, meeting in secret, staying out until 6am, walking around the harbourfront. He was so wildly easy to fall for.
It didn’t dawn on me for a little while after everyone knew about us, that I truly was in love with him, and that I had truly given him my implicit trust. That terrified me. My whole life through, men in my life have disappointed me, lied, hurt and abused me, broken my trust. I’ve been conditioned by life to be apprehensive. Men in my life have left me, raped me, beat me, nearly killed me. I was paralyzed with fear from the realization that I had so quickly invested my entire self to someone again. Loving John can be terrifying. It can also be gratifying, exciting, fulfilling. I am deeply in love with my fiancee. I want to marry him more than I even know how to begin to express. My life is so much more with him in it. He is my equal, not my supplement. He shares my life. He doesn’t save it. I don’t need him. I need to want him. And I want to need him. But I don’t need him. I can live without him. I just don’t want to. And when the time is right, I want his child to grow inside me. John is my world. There isn’t a soul in my life who doesn’t know it.
I love you John. Every day. Every hour. Every minute. Every second. There is no end to the depth of the well of my love for you. Your smell, your face, your warmth. You’re my home.