Posted by: shelliejelly | July 21, 2009

Make New/Keep Old

Yesterday …

He texted, asking me where we were meeting and when. The conversation this morning was supposed to have all of this ironed out. I thought the words: “So you’ll come here at 4:30,” were pretty clear. Too impatient to text, I called him and asked why he hadn’t already left, to which he answered, “I was waiting for you to answer my text asking where and when we were meeting.” It’s similar to a Who’s on first routine, although instead of laughing, I bite my tongue because I don’t want to unleash all of the frustration that this moment so eloquently demonstrates.

As recent as two years ago …

I used to love the sound of my phone letting me know there was a text message waiting. When on silent, I’d continually glance over at the then silver clam-shell design to see if the pink message light was winking at me. My heart would flutter, my stomach unsettle with excitement as I’d bite my lower lip and read: “I love you. You are everything to me.” Not one word was too saccharine, not a sentiment too over the top.

more than a few years ago …

K. was a mechanic; I was in graduate school. My schedule allowed me to come and fetch him from work, kissing him immediately when he sat down in the passenger’s seat, inhaling the smell of the soap he used to clean his hands. Oh, how he hated dirty hands. One afternoon, I’d parked and turned the engine off, leaned my head back and closed my eyes for a few minutes. After what seemed too long to wait, I got out and walked toward the garage, catching the eye of one of his friends who was clearly surprised to see me. “Oh, he went home,” he called out, “wasn’t feeling well.” I yelled “Thanks” over the noises of repair, chuckling to myself as I got into my car. “Ohhh, K,” I laughed.

more than 10 years ago …

Thinking back to when K. was alive, I am almost shocked to remember that cell phones weren’t commonplace. Now such a fabric of my life, witness, even, to both my falling in love and undoing, what K. and I had was the telephone. His version of the text message was to talk to my answering machine. “Hey baby, I miss you,” greeting me when I came home–the calm, peaceful contentment in his voice reaching out to put a smile on my face.

Now …

It’s true that there is nothing to compare, that’s been my mistake all along … thinking that somehow K. had a hand in this life of mine more definitive than ethereally possible. O. often wonders why my temper is so short, why I am so quick to anger. Even with the past, he claims, he doesn’t deserve the words and actions that can only represent dislike, but are not too cleverly disguised as impatience.

There’s something to his theory, but only on good days can I admit he might be right. Continually paying for mistakes isn’t something anyone likes to do, and if the shoe were on the other foot, I’d feel the same way. The problem is I feel justified in making him feel terrible, and that can only be because I also feel bitter and resentful—two emotions I’d like to rise above.

I’d like to once again find the laughter in the little errors, the playfulness of teasing that springs from something other than anger.

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