Damnit, Jamie

by jlolb

“I don’t feel like we’re communicating…connecting.  I don’t feel connected with you, tangled in you, in the way I want to be, in the way that I think we should be…this isn’t working for me.”

I can’t remember the last time I’ve had a conversation so difficult.

I keep thinking of a line from a country pop song, “so casually cruel in the name of being honest…”

I’m trying to be honest…but am I being cruel?  Fuck.  I hope not.

I sat there, across the table from you in that dimly lit pub, staring into my pint pretending it was doing something of great interest while all I was really doing was avoiding the sight of the tears welling up in your dark eyes, as I realized they were welling in mine, too.  And I couldn’t figure out if it’s because I was legitimately sad or if I was just feeling so fucking terrible for how I was making you feel at that moment.  Silently wishing that I could speed us right through this conversation to that point where we’re spit out on the other side–changed, perhaps pained, wiser, but still whole.

“Damnit, Jamie” you said, with confidence and clarity I’ve rarely witnessed.  You were serious, but I still wasn’t sure what you meant.

I never wanted to hurt you.

My mind was racing. Your smile was straight and bright and distracting. Am I fucking up? What if I’m fucking up.  What if this is as good as it gets and I’m fucking up?  I’m not fucking up.  I know what I want.  I know what the issues are.  I know this doesn’t work.  Calm down.  Find the calm–hold it close.  Breathe.

I paid the bill.  We grabbed our coats and walked out into the middle of a snow storm.

The clouds of freezing breath escaping us were the only thing that passed between our two bodies as we crossed the street. I instinctively reached my freezing fingers out to your hand and then reminded myself not to. I tucked my fingers back into my fleece lined coat pocket.  We end up on the corner.  Not touching. You’re parked that way, I’m this…

A snowflake landed on your cheek and I watched it melt as I leaned in to give you a hug. You said, “Okay, so I guess I’ll talk to you.” In that sentence, I hear your voice crack as your breath switched rhythm and I realized you’re crying.  I quickly let you go, turning to my right without even looking at your face one last time.  I couldn’t look.  I didn’t look back. I hoped it was snowing hard enough that as the distance built between us, you couldn’t see me and my unreturned gaze, even if you wanted to.