Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Sunday Denouement

We were sitting in the very same living room where I’d sat, pining, nearly four years ago. Pining despite the fact that the object of my affection had been in the room with me then. It was spring; my best friend’s birthday and I had to get ready for her party. I had to leave. My day with this man had to come to an end.

That day ended. Grasping years snapped by. He went his way and I struggled to – I won’t say repair – to maintain a broken heart. Eventually, he went back to the one who’d broken his heart.

I’d never fallen for anyone so hard in my life. I processed it and analyzed it to the hilt in the intervening years but I still held onto the hurt. He was everything I could have ever possibly wanted – more. Like ‘wildest dreams’ more. And I could never have him.

It didn’t matter really that when I thought of how he’d really treated me in the day to day, he hadn’t been that amazing. Nor did I factor in his casual disregard for me as a person as he’d looked through me back to her. I was stuck on what he would have meant. I’d have been someone if I’d gotten him. I’d have been better than all the girls from high school, better than skinnier girls or richer girls or anyone. After all, he was famous and important in Hollywood.

Even though in my pining I swore that I loved him for who he was, in truth I'd held on to who I’d have gotten to be if he were mine.

After he went back to her, I dated other people too. I suppose in a practical sense I’d gotten over him. I still satirized him in my scripts. Or used his name as the impossible goal of my lovelorn protagonist. But after nursing my open wound for so many years the truth was I didn’t know how to stitch it shut.

I’d see stories about him in the trades or sometimes the tabloids. “That could have been mine,” I’d twist the knife. I’d meet good guys. “Yeah, you’re alright. But you’re not famous. Or rich. Like he was. You’re a mere mortal. How can that ever do?"

And the knife would twist when I’d see movie posters with her face – because of course, she was a model. Beauty products advertised by her fine features. Everywhere. And how could I compete? The old ‘what has she got that I haven’t got?’ argument sort of falls flat. Um, endorsement deals, starring roles, fame and fortune, for starters. And, oh yeah, him.

The years drag on. My wound dries but does not close. Not all the way. I meet a lovely man of my own. I see a light. I start to forget the wound. I like the sound of the life he talks about but who am I if not she who bears this wound: the hurt of the might-have-been?

And then one day through a scheduling coincidence we’re sitting in that very same living room. It’s caught all of us off guard. The four of us: the Director, the Model, my boyfriend and myself. Like four normal people. Like two couples would sit. And chat. About the weather. About movies. The Model and I remind each other of a song and each sing a snippet. I can see how she looks like me – what he saw in me. But her eyes are more china blue than mine.

He reaches for her and there is a kindness in that touch and a thankfulness for it. He glances to me and the look says “I’m glad. To see you. And I’m glad things are like this.” And somehow, seeing that contentment did more than holding onto the times he wasn’t perfectly nice to me, or the psychoanalysis of ‘why her over me?’ or the cold comfort of how my life is far grander without his hollow trappings of fame. I see his look and how they are together and I am glad too. The wound closes and I am glad. It feels like it’s been closed a long time as I hold the hand of the man who loves me.

Suddenly, I want them to be together. And happy with each other. That world of what-if I used to imagine with the Director recedes to the dullness of a thousand other what-if roads that line the shoulders of the road I’m actually on.

We’re sitting like four people in a living room would. And I am suddenly acutely aware of my own vast good fortune. And their fame and money does not give their lives an ounce of sparkle over mine. Over ours. I am acutely aware of the beauty of the man sitting beside me; the one who does hold my hand and treat me kindly. The one who wishes my road be the same as his.

He and I leave the living room and we go off down this road and I am glad. And still glad that for a time my road lost itself in that of the Director. The holding-on is no longer of a wound but of a friend – of living. And now just like that – the spell was broken.

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Blogger tomawesome said...

that was good. thanks, as always, for sharing.

8:54 PM  
Blogger Heidi said...

Thanks, Tom! It was a nice, full-circle kind of thing since I started my blog with that same subject...exactly 100 posts ago!

9:07 AM  

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