Why does it feel like I lost? Was this ever a fight?
I start playing my “Me Gusta” list on Spotify. The first song is “Fiel” by the Chilean band Golem. “Faithful.”
It wasn’t -technically- a fight, but I can’t shake the feeling that I lost.
Second song. Golem again. “Detén el tiempo.” “Stop time.”
I went for beers on Tuesday evening with my friend Andrés. Hadn’t seen him in a while. “It’s a bit stupid telling you this now, four weeks later, but I got fired from my job. And it feels even more stupid now because this morning I signed a contract with a new company,” I told him. “Fuck man, congratulations!” he said. We cheered to it. Barkowski was packed and loud. Two pints was all we needed to catch up and split up, up-to-date on each other’s lives.
It took me some additional effort to go upstairs to my apartment. Maybe two strong beers on an empty stomach wasn’t a great idea. I was past a harmless tipsy scenario. It was 7 PM and I was drunk, struggling to open my door.
“Something is telling me it might be you, all of my life.” Cheesy 80s song now playing. Adequate, perhaps?
Once inside, I opened my laptop. Couldn’t stop thinking about my ex C on my lame drunken stupor. Was it a held back horny sprout? Loneliness? Months worth of sexual frustration? A nice mix of them all? I went straight to Google Analytics to see if I could find a visit on my blog I could trace back to her. There was one that day, from Copenhagen. “Is she here?” I panicked. I went on Linkedin, to see if anything had changed in her profile. Nothing. Same job, location and profile picture. Jumped onto Facebook. Hesitated for a while. “Do I want to risk seeing something that I don’t really want to see?” I thought. “Fuck it.” Wrote her full name on the search bar. Her profile was the first hit. But the second… Yeah, I really shouldn’t have seen that.
“Goodbye my lover.” James Blunt, singing beautifully with his weird voice. And I can certainly say that I lost. Even if there wasn’t a fight to begin with.
It was a very small, low quality picture. The caption was something like “Having fun with…” and the Facebook usernames of the four people in the picture: a middle age woman on the left, a meter away from a guy in in his 30s and, on the right, a tall, very Danish and boring looking guy holding C too close for a friend. She looked very happy. Big smile. All of them were wearing some sort of sport suit. Paragliding? Skydiving, perhaps? Whatever, it’s not important. There was her, holding another man as she would hold me in every picture when we were together. And maybe there’s a small chance I read the pose wrong, but I was with that woman long enough to know her body language. And it dawned on me: she’s moved on. I fucking cried like I didn’t have in all of 2020.
Stars by Axel Flóvent plays now. A few tears blur my vision.
All this time I felt C was just one text, one email or a phone call away. I didn’t block her anywhere. I went on Tinder and other dating apps to hopefully meeting someone who’d help me move on. I periodically went to therapy, to heal my wounded heart, mind and soul. To get my psychologist to help me forget her. Made her the villain. Easier to trash in my head. But I always had this underlying hope of reconnecting.
And now, “Moment of Surrender” plays. Nick Mulvey, fucking nailing it with his folk indie sound and lyrics. Perfect to wrap things up.
I can’t see myself fitting the life that C -allegedly- wanted to have (with me?) The house in the countryside, the kids, the quiet normality of the traditional suburban Danish life. That all felt like a wannabe happy postcard, plagued with surrealist boredom and unrealistic expectations, given the fucked up foundation in which she had built our relationship.
No, I don’t feel I lost that impossible dream. I never wanted it.
I lost a big chunk of my faith in humanity, as a whole. I gave her everything I had, everything I was. With C I had been the truest and nicest version of myself. I did my best to understand her, to be forgiving; keeping my arms ever-so open. But she didn’t care. She treated my like shit. In her eyes, I seemed to be nothing but human waste. Not to be respected, treated with dignity, empathy nor care. Put under anyone else in her life. Even the shittiest, worse douche bags and toxic masculinity posterboys she’d been or hung out with. Nah, I was nothing but a bottom feeder. She tagged me as garbage; nothing but a jealous, sexist Latino and an extremely conservative Catholic piece of filth, and dealt with me as such. Because fuck Eduardo, right?
I am not Mr Clean, I will give you that. I have been a horrible human being myself. I -unknowingly-, emotionally abused my ex L. I am yet to forgive myself for having fucked up so badly with whom could have been my loving wife and, frankly, is the best woman I’ve ever been with.
So no, I don’t feel I lost a hypothetical fight with C.
I lost because, stupid me, I’d been all this time expecting C to change. As I told my therapist yesterday, I treated C as I would have loved L to have treated me. I kept my arms and my heart open for her to grow, learn and change; to forgive and forget. Because I was as horrible -and even worse- than she had been, and I learnt and grew past my old, terrible self. If I did it, anyone could. At least, I so hoped. But, when I saw her happy picture with her new boyfriend, then I realized that my hope had been in vane. People don’t change. Not if they won’t. No matter how much they say they love you, if they don’t act on it, then they don’t. Because if they don’t improve, regardless of how clear you are about the pain their actions are causing you, then they don’t love you. If they are oblivious about your misery, when it’s obvious that it’s them who’s causing it, and yet they don’t do anything to change it… They don’t love you. Or, if they do, they do it in a very harmful and unhealthy way for you.
I guess I’ll have to learn to live with this defeat. The loss of the apology that never came, of the change that never happened. The love that now, looking at it in hindsight, seems like a beautiful illusion.
There’s an upside, though. I have learnt to love myself and to respect my boundaries and values. I’ll never fall lower than the bottom I hit during the last couple of years. And, although I was deep in sorrow when I saw C with somebody else, seeing her happy warmed my heart. Because I did fucking love her. I still do, very much. So now, even in this painful state, thinking about her smiley picture lifts my spirit. And, despite my justified resentment, I’m glad she’s doing fine without me. Now it’s time I start doing the same on my end.
Let’s start now.
C, I forgive you.
PS: (Warning: Please read this in my sarcastic voice!) Just make sure to not fuck someone else’s life the way you screwed mine. Just see how much shit I’ve written because of the sorrow you caused me! Do you really wanna inspire more guys to write this crap about you, you sexy woman? :)
PS1: (Turn off the sarcastic voice and switch it to my pillow talk one.) I don’t regret a minute I spent with you, though. I didn’t hold on to my hopes of you improving out of stubbornness, or -just- because I wanted to redeem myself from my past mistakes. I did it because, when you are not fucking up and lying, you are a great person. I can’t thank you enough for all the great sex, the trips, the hikes, the long breakfasts, the amazing dinners, the laughs, the sofa cuddling (and yes, I’m crying now), the Netflix and ice cream and the workout sessions. And I will never, ever forget that you stayed a whole day in the hospital just to be there with me before and after my ankle surgery. Or when you “saved my life” when we were climbing down that fucking rocky hill in Spain. And, definitely, when you took me to the wrong and then the right emergency room when I had my first ankle pain episode. Thanks for all the greatness, C. The world needs more of that.
Why does it feel like I lost? Was this ever a fight?