Wiped Clean

I’m learning that this grief comes in cycles.  Mid-week, when I’m  busy,  it’s no more than a subtle malaise that covers everything, like a fine dust that remains after the West wind blows through my neighborhood.  The weekends are the worst, as they should be.  These were the times we spent together the most and I feel like a prisoner within my loneliness.

But,  to my surprise, Mondays are difficult as well.  Mondays, with the dashed hope of a new week, like waking from a bad dream but realizing it’s not a dream.  I’m here, he is not, and the week stretches out before me.  There will be no email waiting in my in-box, no text on my phone, no Wednesday night dinner date.

I wonder if he thinks about me.  While I am consumed with thoughts of him, I wonder if he ever pauses, just for a moment, and remembers us.  This weekend, there was at least three times when I wanted to tell him about something I saw or heard or read.  And he is not there – not as a boyfriend, as a friend or as an ex-lover.  He has wiped himself clean from my life – and it hurts.

It’s been just over three months (3 months and 3 days) since he left and, at this moment, I’m feeling as fucked up as the day it happened.  Some days are good days, and some are bad.  Today is a bad day.

Days since I’ve contacted my ex:  54

Days since I’ve searched for my ex: 6

What I am grateful for:  my appointment with my therapist tonight and Kleenex



I know my postings have been light lately.  It’s not for want of material, but rather a career and current projects that have overwhelmed me.

Where should I start?  I can tell you about my birthday, which, by some grace of some higher power, was actually quiet fun even if it was in a room full of strangers.  I ate, I drank, I laughed, I flirted – and went home one year older and alone.  I can tell you about the emotional hangover that came the day after – so much so that I “un-hid” his profile again (back to day 1 on “searching”).  I could tell you about my first date since the breakup – he was just getting out of a marriage of 22 years (just like my ex), with two kids (just like my ex), and lives in F (just like my ex).  I’m not walking into the bear trap twice (or at least not this soon).  I told him the truth about what happened and why I can’t see him again.  I can tell you about my first visit to a shrink.  I have a feeling I’m going to be paying this woman a lot of money to hear her say “that must have really made you feel sad”.

But here I am tonight, in a city other than my own, with a raw throat that threatens sickness, with swollen eyes from crying so hard as I finished A Thousand Splendid Suns wondering what to do as the sun sets – I can eat room service (again), I can go downstairs to the overpriced steakhouse (if I touched up my eye makeup), I can go to my favorite restaurant around the corner for their famous happy hour – none of it appeals to me, and I’ve eaten almost nothing all day.

I’ve decided to take a solo vacation in July when work finally slows down.  I realize that nothing gets me excited – Spain, Belize, Buenos Aires, Costa Rica?  Spa trip? Yoga trip?  It all just feels so sad to me – wandering around a city alone.  I used to travel alone all of the time.  I realize it’s a sign of my depression – things that I once loved no longer interest me.  It’s the reason I’ve lost 18 pounds.

The therapist helped.  It felt cathartic after our session.  I’m looking forward to seeing her again on Monday.  I’m looking forward to getting home – I could have left tonight.  I should have changed my flight.  A rub from my cat could have been cathartic as well.

Room service won out tonight.  You probably already knew that.

Days since I’ve contacted my ex:  51 (15 days to go)

Days since I’ve searched for my ex: 3 (relapse)

What I am grateful for:  The strangers who got me through my birthday.


Last night, I brought home a heavy cardboard box from work.  In its previous life, it contained the new fuser drum for our copier.  I placed the box on the bare wooden floor of my living room and folded back the flaps so I could peer into the emptiness inside.  On the bottom of the box, I placed Sunday’s old newspaper, carefully folding it to fit snuggly into each corner.  On top of the newspaper, I placed my ex boyfriend, bending his arms and legs as needed to fit.  Around him, I stuffed in our memories.  I fit in the Sigg bottle we used on our second and third dates to surreptitiously drink wine, I added his England sweatshirt he let me borrow, the sweater he gave me at Christmas and my favorite photo of us that sat proudly in my office for over a year.  I squeezed in the dim sum we enjoyed on Sundays, the night I gave him a shower after his sweaty show and his tennis shoe print that is still on my driveway – even after all of this rain.  I folded in his personal ad and poured in his morning smell, as well as our first kiss in the bar, the day he taught me to fly fish, and all the tears I’ve cried these past two months.  I packed it all in until the sides of the box bulged. I folded the flaps down and pushed them together with my knees as tight as I could as I taped the box closed.  One long strip of tape across the length of the box and thee across the other way ensured it was sealed.  I smoothed the tape firmly with my hands and marked the box with a thick sharpie with the word “PAST”.  I wrote the word in large block letters on the top and all four sides.  I lifted the box, heavier than I expected, and took it into the garage.  By stepping on an old chair, I was able to hoist it into the rafters, but I could still see the word “PAST” on the box from my vantage point on the chair.  I grabbed the broom leaning on the wall and used the broom handle to push the box farther and farther back, as far as the broom would reach with me outstretched and on my very tippy toes.  I pushed the box back into the dark corner of the rafters with the thick layers of dust, the black widow webs and the big brown cockroach nests until I could barely see the tip of the box’s corner.  I stepped down from the chair, placed the broom back against the wall, turned off the garage light, locked the door and washed my hands in the kitchen sink.  It would soon be forgotten there.

On the Head of a Pin

I scroll through the online personal ads – bad photos of goofy looking guys, bald or baseball capped, a little extra padding or a bathroom mirror picture of their ripped abs.  I pass by stupid screen names like redsoxfan or lover4U or even lickuatthey.  Profiles that are as interesting as the back of a shampoo bottle – I’m a basic guy,  I’m just an ordinary guy, I guess you could say I’m an average guy.  I like sports and John Grisham novels. These tidbits are followed by confessions that they are stooping so low by going online – “I can’t believe I’m doing this,” “We can tell our friends we met somewhere else.” Get over it!

I turn the computer off in disgust.  Is this really what he wanted?  I know he’s on this site, I know he’s looking, but what does he think he’ll find here?  I’ve been there – one too many times. There’s a lot of cute girls on this site. I’ve scrolled through them, picking out the ones I think he’d like.  Cute, funny, interesting girls.  Maybe he’s already found someone cuter and smarter and more adorable.  I, somehow, need to find peace with it.

Regardless of what he’s doing, I wonder why I spend time looking for myself.  I’m receiving five to ten emails a week.  Most don’t interest me (I guess my profile says I respond “selectively”) and the ones that do, well, our “conversations” seem to go nowhere.  I know I shouldn’t be out there yet.  I know I should be healing, working on myself, fixing what’s broken.  But I miss being part of a couple; I miss sharing private jokes, talking over my day, cooking dinner for a table for two, sharing a bed, sharing a morning.  The house is too quiet.

I just want to shut myself down – from wanting a relationship, from looking for a man, from searching for someone who loves me.  The old adage goes, “you’ll find somebody when you stop looking.” That’s Bullshit.  I’ve tried that, too.  I’ve basically been out there for 29 years – I know what’s out there, I’ve seen what’s out there, I know how slim my chances are of finding someone for me – not for you, not for him, but for me.  What I’m looking for could sit on the head of a pin.

I thought I finally found him.  I was wrong.

It hurts when I do this! – Then stop doing that!

This weekend was a low – worse than the first one without you.  I’m not sure why – maybe because I’m due to start my period or maybe because it has been two months, or maybe it’s just because of the rain (I loved listening to the rain wrapped in your arms) – or just my lack of sleep last night.

It started last evening.  I went to the gastropub, drank a glass of wine and ate some short rib tacos, my first meal of the day.  No one talked to me.  The wine went straight to my head – I guess that’s what happens when you don’t eat all day.  My first desire, upon leaving the bar, was to drunken dial you.  I wanted to tell you  that I missed you still and ask you how you cannot miss me.  I wanted to be in your arms again. I stopped myself.

This morning, it began with a short cry during my walk and quickly crumbled into despair.  I’ve been crying all day. I cannot stop – I couldn’t even go out because I couldn’t hold back the tears.  I un-hid your profile again to look at it.  It didn’t tell me anything.  I hid it back immediately afterwards.  I saw photos of you on Facebook – playing with the band. You look so good with your new haircut.  Are you losing weight, too?  You look as good to me as you did on our second date, waiting for me outside the restaurant – I fell for you right then. I took the freeway to your town in the afternoon.  That’s the first time I’ve done that.  Yes, I’ve been “searching” for you.  I know I’m not supposed to, but I’ve lost all perspective this weekend. I’m a mess tonight.

I miss you.  I had been waiting for you for so long and I finally found you, and I was so happy with you – and you don’t want me.  I never expected that. I don’t want anyone else – I don’t even want to look.  I know you can’t save me – that you won’t save me,  that I have to save myself.  I am lost.


Days since I’ve contacted my ex:  20 days

Days since I’ve searched for my ex: 0 days (relapse)

What I am thankful for: iBooks.