22 September 2006

The End of Michael

One thing I've learned in all these years is not to make love when you really don't feel it; there's probably nothing worse you can do to yourself than that." ~ Norman Mailer

After we started dating, he sent me erudite letters and books he thought I might like (or should like). I always liked guys who loved me for my brain. It seemed like a positive sign at first. As the relationship wore on, whenever he was in town our dates were always the same. Movies (always something like "Richard the Lionheart" or "The Lion in Winter") then a place to make out. Making out, making out.

I remember the first time, wondering if I was going to be able to empty my mind of the sexual abuse by my uncle and the other kind of sexual abuse that went on with my parents. We went to a church parking lot and I remember thinking that being there was maybe going to help me focus on the sanctity of human contact. I shut my brain down altogether. I didn't think, I didn't emote. I was present physically and it seemed to protect me from my demons.

It didn't take long before he started asking every time, "Are you on the pill?" No. No. No again. I wasn't sure exactly how he thought I was going to get them. Tell my mom to make an appointment for me? I don't think so. That would be my ticket to even more hell than the one in which I was currently living. At the same time, I felt guilty that I couldn't figure out how to accomplish it. Deep down, though, I was afraid that, no matter how shut down I was, having sex would be opening Pandora's Box. I wasn't sure what would come out, but I was certain that it wasn't going to be good.

As time wore on, I started seeing other people. They knew that my heart belonged to Michael and that they were just diversions. I'm ashamed that I treated people that way. I began to wonder if Michael thought I needed some more intellectual molding to be worthy of his enormous brain power. That pissed me off. I thought I was doing just fine by myself. I didn't need a boyfriend who thought it was his mission to educate me. Let's see now...who does that remind me of? Right. My dad.

Finally one night, I just couldn't do it anymore. It was summer and the thought of spending all of my summer weekends that way made me feel imprisoned. I waited until he showed up for our regular Friday night date. I had some friends with me for moral support. We stood by his car and I told him I didn't want to see him anymore. To this day, I regret breaking up that way. I require compassion from myself. Even when I was struggling to just get through another day of living in hell. I should have been able to find a more graceful way to deal with the situation. (Oh wait...that's the voice of the Fascist in my head, who thinks I should be perfect.)

Michael didn't make any effort to talk me out of it. We didn't speak again until about a year later, when I let him exact his revenge. I even told my best friend, when she asked, that she could date him if she wished. I move on. No hanging on to people; when I'm done with them, I'm really done. For me, there was always someone waiting in the wings. I made certain of that.