I know I slept because I know I dreamed. Briefly, but it was there. And the weird part is, the dream exactly mirrored my thoughts; only, it took it one step further to the conclusion I thought I was afraid of.
In my dream, I left him.
In my dream, he took me.
In my dream, I was released in the gentlest way.
It was almost unbelievable just how applicable the conversation that had occurred between us earlier that evening was to everything I had already been thinking. And as if my body itself also anticipated its coming, my heart had already been racing for three hours straight. I was confused and impatient; nervous over what I did not know. And I did not know anything.
Well, no. I knew one thing. I knew I was frustrated with myself for not being able to answer all of the questions I had been receiving for the last month. "What's next?" "What now?" "What do you want to do?"
For some reason, whenever I tried to respond, words never came and I ended up stuttering out some half-assed rehearse about how right now, I just needed to "take some time" and "figure things out". Every time being fully aware of just how pathetic I sounded and just how dissatisfied I was with that answer. But what else could I do? Any other response would have been a lie and to be quite honest, that one wasn't entirely true either.
Sure, I was "taking some time". Lots of it, actually. But there was absolutely no figuring going on in any way.
And he knew it. He had heard me give that response dozens upon dozens of times and I suppose the final straw had broken the camel's back fairly recently when he sat me down to say everything I needed to hear, but didn't want him to say.
As he laid his honesty at my feet, he never broke my gaze and with every passing moment of continued contact, my pulse quickened and quickened. I wanted to run from his words. Mainly because they were the words I had been running from my whole life so far. My whole life that had never really begun. My whole life I had disguised as really living when I was merely wasting my time with making sure I felt good about myself every night when I laid down to sleep.
He was right- I had started to let him define me more than I should. More than I ever thought I could because I always told myself I never would. I wanted to be one of those girls. An eel. A gypsy of a free spirit. The nomadic type that you could never even dream of pinning down. And after 20 years, believe me, I could talk a good talk about it. I maintained and groomed an image that I had specially selected for certain specific occasions where I knew I could either impress or frighten; captivate or elude; entice or evade. But I would never ever bore. I carried it effortlessly and wore it well, but the truth of the matter was that the image contained within it everything that I am not. I was not brave. I was no daring. I was not independent. I was a scared indecisive little girl who got lucky on occasion when opportunities that were almost altogether impossibe to avoid almost literally fell into her lap.
And in one graceful motion, he had ripped that stranger in two- leaving this one with absolutely nowhere to hide.
"I hear you say all of these things you want to do, but I don't see you doing any of them. And I just don't understand."
Neither did I.
"I'm frustrated with you and how it just seems like you aren't really going anywhere."
So was I.
"I don't want to keep you from going somewhere or doing something you feel like you need to do. I worry that you're letting me define your decisions too much. I want you to make your own."
So did I.
I have never been so desperate to know myself in my whole entire life than at that moment. I wish so badly I had an accurate picture of my heart to show him. But my mouth was left wanting of words to fill the space and soothe the soul. The only speech I knew was the kind that I had molded into what I knew my audience wanted to hear. That simply would not do for him. He was smarter than that. He knew me better than that. He loved me more than that. And that scared the hell out of me.
I suddenly became extraordinarily aware and ashamed at how I must have looked to him- not only at that moment, but for the many months before as he watched me slowly lose myself to him. How silly I must have seemed- thinking no one noticed or knew. But he obviously had, or at least had his suspicions that were confirmed the night she brought up New York. He was my reason. He was my excuse. The best and only one I had- seeing as none of the roots I had attempted to put down here in Saint Louis had taken for the last month. The timing could not have been nor would ever be more perfect and my heart had leapt at the thought of this glorious redefinition and recreation of myself. But just as quickly as it jumped, my all too familiar fears disguised as gravity brought it crashing back down again- reminding me of logic- and logically, this new and lovely thing that was springing up between the two of us had no reason to end. No reason- other than the fact that I was being called away to another life.
I opened my eyes and fixed them to the shadows surrounding me. I knew where I was, but all of the sudden, I felt out of place. The room had become too small, the bed too hard, the silence too loud; my skin too warm, the air too thick. I turned my head and gazed at the only thing that had any hope of making sense at that moment- him. I studied his face- those features I had purposely burned into my memory for months. They were deep and inviting in the way they called me to them silently.
They had been something to call mine and I loved that. To know that those eyes that slept in perfect peace were the ones resigned to watch me from across a room. That his ears hungered to hear my voice alone and contain it within them. That his lips had formed themselves to mine time after time after time, like a habit not easily broken. And now, without any warning at all- a cyclone to my best laid plans-, I was being asked to surrender this possession that had become so familiar to me. The thought alone was jolting enough; the possibility that he could have been placed in my life and in my arms for no other reason than to show me what I am worth and to teach me how to walk away.
And it was at that moment, as the steady light began to creep in through the cracks in the curtains, that I knew I was going to lose him.
Because I was meant to.
I had been asked to give up this moment and the many more moments like it that could have, but not would not, come. I had been asked to commit those features and this face to my memory because soon they would no longer be what I could call mine. I was moving towards a greater thing than this and I could feel it so clearly and so strongly that no matter how much my heart tried to hesitate, I knew that the place it was meant to find rest was not next to him.
I had laid here long enough.
And before I closed the door behind me, I glanced back one last time to ensure he would be sleeping soundly on the other side.
Just as I knew he always would.