Wading alone

The day of departure came in a blur. There was a lot of movement to get things organized. In the movies it was always portrayed as an extremely emotional moment where the spouses left behind would cry and cling to their leaving service members while the kids pulled on their coat tails. There was usually a band playing the national anthem and plenty of American memorabilia being waved. The dialogue would often be muted and replaced with a somber soundtrack telling of sacrifice and love.

Today wasn’t that type of day. I remember sitting up in my best friends room ticking down the hours. Mr. Diggs had text me inquiring the time that I would be leaving.

I don’t want to say good-bye again babe. :( was his response when I told him that I would be leaving in less than six hours. It wasn’t what I wanted to hear but I decided to bite my tongue and go for simplicity.

Then just tell me that you love me I text in response.

I had told all my friends and family long before this day that I would not allow tears. My mother of course couldn’t have a conversation with me without bursting into tears so we settled for text conversations. My sister made it through our conversations with the occasional waiver in her voice. My childhood best friend LaTiece Robinson has always been a woman of expression. When I told her I would be leaving I could feel the energy it took for her to remain level over the phone, but was grateful for her control. I may display to them that I’m calm and under control, but I was secretly terrified.

No one would quite understand that silent fear better than someone who has been through it. Shianne Mack has been that person. We met over a year ago now after he was returning from his own overseas expedition. Ever since that fateful movie day, we hit it off instantly. We knew we would be great friends. We have laughed and partied, cried and been upset, things have been moving powerfully along in our friendship. He waited with me until I left Kentucky, despite the fact that he had just gotten off a 14 hour shift and was exhausted. He also gave me a parting gift; a cross fashioned of steel and hung on a silver chain. It was a huge boost to my morale.

Traveling from the U.S. to my final destination was longer (and more comfortable) than I had imagined. We had several stops and the waits at said stops were tedious and nerve wracking. At one of the many pit stops we made along the way, I met Daryl Gordon at the local USO. I was there doing a little light gaming while pretending to watch the opening act to the Katy Perry performance…I believe they called it the Super Bowl.

He came into the game room and we made eye contact. He was a handsome something; I definitely would give him that. He walks over and we begin talking. Little did we know that we would end up passing the night away chatting. We talked about everything; where we were from, where we were stationed, family composition, exes (which inevitably led to a conversation about Mr. Diggs).

“So…you broke up before coming here?” he quizzed when I told him vaguely of my most recent break up.

Yes. He said that it would be best this way. He was hurt and he doesn’t know if he wants to be with me while I’m away. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that he wasn’t as faithful as he could have been when the roles were switched,” I explained eating a bit of chocolate chip cookie provided by the USO.

“Wait. He cheated on you when he was deployed?” he asked.

“No. We weren’t together then. It was with his ex,” I corrected. He paused for a second and frowned. “What?” I added after noting this.

“Well…it’s not my business but I feel like he’s doing this just to do whatever he wants to do while you’re gone,” he said. I chose to ignore this thought and change the subject to his upcoming return to stateside.

Of course it bothered me a little as I had been thinking the same thing, but I wasn’t going to let the words of someone I just met affect me like that…so I decided to message LaTiece and Shianne on Facebook once I made it to my final destination.

|| I just don’t think he wants to be with me, T.C. ||

| What? Why? |

|| He said he was hurt when I broke it off initially. Blah blah. Mind you he dumped ME the last time we split. ||

| So what the hell has he been doing all this time? Trying to retaliate? What exactly did he say? |

|| He said he does want to be with me but it’s hard for him ||

| I feel like I’m missin a part. Is he saying someone else was in the picture while you guys were broken up? |

|| That’s the kicker. Someone else WAS in the picture after we broke up and fyi; we never got back together. I want to be with him. I feel like I’m with the THOUGHT of him. Like he’s blocking himself from me ||

After we wrapped up I vented to Shianne.

| Go on…give it a wave! | Shianne said, informing me that he was ready to begin listening to my explanation.

|| Well I asked him the question that I’ve been wanting to ask but didn’t because I’m trying to see things from his point of view, but you know me. Emotions got the better of me so I asked; what the fuck are we doing? ||

Heeyyy gawd! Continue |

|| I said I don’t have time for foolishness. I needed an answer. Do you wanna be with me or not? I feel like this break up was your way of saying “I can’t deal with being in a long distance relationship because I cheated on deployment so you’re gonna do the same thing. Let’s break up for now and if I don’t find anyone better, we can be together when you get back

So HE says…

Yes I want to be with you but ever since we broke up it’s hard and I can’t just jump right back into it…

So IIIIII said (or thought rather)…

Wait nigga…you can’t jump right into it, but you can have sex with me? In your FUCKING OFFICE? You can call me babe? You can tell me you love me? But you won’t take the title BOYFRIEND? Is that what I’m hearing? ||

| So friend…this sounds like the EXACT SAME conversation yall had before yall broke up. Friend…now you know how I am when it comes to guys and yes I may be a little one sided here because I’m tired of this mans shenanigans…but if he can do AWHL of this and doesn’t want a title….

DON’T GIVE IT TO HIM.

GIVE IT TO SOMEONE ELSE.

Sooner or later he’ll come around and you would have moved on and he’ll just be shit out of luck. It sounds like you want a boyfriend and he doesn’t. What you want or oh so desire may not be the very thing you need. Of course you have a catch; the man looks damn good. I would want him too if I were you, but something has GOT to give. Either he wants you or he doesn’t |

We talked and laughed some more about the merchant who attempted to convince me to give him a quick blow job in his booth before I let Shianne get back to work.

The truth is that his last sentiment was one that I had in the back of my mind since December. I wanted to ignore it. I wanted to move past it, but there it was bold as day. It took two of my best friends and a complete stranger to lay it out for me. This gorgeous man was like many handsome men of this age. So together on the outside, but a wreck of emotions on the inside. He had erected a barrier that I was now tasked with attempting to hurdle. A barricade to his heart that I was just too drained to attempt to tear down. A blockade that rebuffed any attempt at touching his heart. How long was I going to have to wait for his heart to be mine? How long was I going to have to wait until he deemed it safe to want me the way that I wanted him?

As sure as Shianne had predicted, Moe and I had a conversation the next week via Facebook.

|| Maurice. I can’t just be your friend. I know that’s cold but I can’t. If this is it, this HAS to be it, || I messaged him in response to his “take it slow” reiteration.

|| Seeing you happy will make me happy but seeing you with someone else will kill me, ||

| So what are we doing? Cutting each other off? | he asked.

|| What do you want? || I responded simply.

| I think that is best, | he said. I stared at the screen for a while. After a long pause I inhaled and typed,

|| Ok. Well I’ll see you in October when I come to get my things, ||

This was followed by a pause of about 10 minutes before;

| Can I say something? I know that from the get go all you wanted to do was love me and I know I rejected it and didn’t appreciate it. I also let circumstances dictate our future and I’m sorry for that. I know I’m the one who fucked this up and I apologize for this | was our final message.

After reading it I deleted his message, deleted his profiles, deleted our pictures, and exited my Facebook app on my phone before the water vying for release from my eyes obscured my vision.

The tears that ensued over the next few weeks were tears of defeat; utter defeat. The tears that ensued were tears of anger at him for doing this to me. The tears that ensued were tears of anger at myself for allowing it to happen. I couldn’t function. My squad mates noticed this shift in my personality and attempted to comfort me. I rejected them initially and wanted only to escape from the shame of it all. The past year of denial hit me in a single moment and it was too much for me to even try to vocalize. The past year of loving against the odds bulldozed my heart. The past year of giving my all to a man who consistently denied it ripped my feelings to shreds.

The numbing reality that began to sweep over me was that no matter how hard we try we cannot make someone feel something that they don’t. I want love, but that’s not all I want. I want it in return. Loving alone isn’t at all glamorous. I want a bold love that’s not afraid of criticism. I want an accepting love that will take me for who I am. I want a bold love that will happily take on a title and shout it out for the world to hear. I want a bold love that will love in the hard as well as the happy times. I want a bold love that keeps me and holds me even in far places. I want a love who will know for sure that I am the one.

To that I am entitled.

 

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of Red Bull

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Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville

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