I don’t think it was loneliness that spurred me to start dating again in 2009. I think it was hopefulness (and horniness.) My life was in a bit of a flux, as I was just coming out of a period of working maniacally around the clock and every weekend for a couple of years, and I’d just moved out of the house I shared with my sister, but I was happy to have time to myself. I can think my own thoughts for a long, long time and not become bored. I have a rich interior landscape…or I am an absent-minded dreamer, depending on your perspective. And while most of my friends were married or moved by then, not all of them were; good times were still to be had, of the kind we’d always enjoyed…late nights, dinners, boozy brunches.
Then the dating thing was such a project; so many emails to decode! So many profiles to examine for hidden meaning! Texts from boys to decipher, and gossip to impart about my last date, or my next one. And then I met Lieu, and while I still dated other people intermittently, I never wanted to. It was all about him, all the time. We used to email constantly, and gChat for hours and hours every day. Even on days when I couldn’t see him, I’d always rather be home chatting with him from my couch than anywhere else. The shape of him filled up my days, and I joyfully made room; after so long on my own, it felt good–better than good, it felt amazing, transcendent–to have a Lieu-shaped spot in my head and in my day and in my bed to fit myself around.
Now…I don’t know. I haven’t figured out yet what goes in the space he used to fill. I think about dating again, and I know beyond a doubt that I am nowhere near ready, and I know equally as vehemently that I need to hurry this recovery along. My natural rate of getting over heartbreak is best measured in geological time: when I give my heart to someone and get it back in thousands of pieces, it takes me a long time to put it back together, a Messy-not-Stoic Era, if you will. (I’m going to pause for a moment for you to appreciate the epic nature of that pun I just made. Go on.)
In the mean time, I’m reading a ton (of mostly crap) and taking walks and sedating myself to sleep and avoiding things that make me sad, like music and funny things on the internet and everything in my house that Lieu ever touched. Today, I had a long lunch with a friend that turned into several hours of daydrinking, and it was really good: I felt like myself for a while, easy and relaxed and normal. I even felt good for a while when I came home, but then I had to start writing this blog post to keep myself from emailing Lieu, or calling him, or inventing some other medium that he hasn’t rejected me in yet so he could do it there. I want to scream at him, and hug him, and bite him, and throw myself at his feet and beg him to take me back, and kick him in the shins.
I want all of that emotion to go away. I would gladly repress it all if I could. I want to stop thinking about him, and I want to stop being lonely for him. I want my head space back, and the big piece of my heart he still has. I want to forget how it felt to have him in my world so that I can be alone again without being so lonesome.
Ann Patchett, Truth and Beauty:
I couldn’t ever remember being lonely before, certainly not in this way, until I had seen the edge of all the ways you could be with another person, which brought up all the myriad ways that person could never be there for you.
Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms:
I know the night is not the same as the day: that all things are different, that the things of the night cannot be explained in the day, because they do not then exist, and the night can be a dreadful time for lonely people once their loneliness has started.
The trouble is not that I am single and likely to stay single, but that I am lonely and likely to stay lonely.
Rainer Maria Rilke:
I want to be with those who know secret things or else alone.