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Futile EXercises

February 1, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

What I learned…was this: no truth can cure the sadness we feel from losing a loved one. No truth, no sincerity, no strength, no kindness, can cure that sorrow. All we can do is see that sadness through to the end and learn something from it, but what we learn will be no help in facing the next sadness that comes to us without warning. Hearing the waves at night, listening to the sound of the wind, day after day I focused on these thoughts of mine.

– Murakami, Norwegian Wood

Lately I have been living on and in the past.  Memories of past relationships, past fights and grudges and books read, have all dominated my mind, even as I sit among friends talking about the uncertainty of our near futures.  My friends discuss artist residencies, job searches, grad  school.  And all I can think about is my last few conversations with SR; the skills I’ve learned from each of my exes; the red flags I failed to see with them; old fights with my mother, still tinted with bitterness and now the sharpness of guilt; the innumerable mistakes made during my childhood.

Even something as simple as remembering the Latin grass family name (Poaceae) brings me instantly back to my study abroad in Costa Rica, a time when I was still reeling from the aftershock of the depth of Tim’s lies.  Seems like almost a quaint memory now, two years gone, but what my mind has forgotten from that period (or blocked out), my body still retains, deep in the nucleus of each muscle cell.  My body remembers each of my exes, more clearly than my brain ever will.

Here is one:

M came to visit me during his break, a week during the Lunar New Year.  I was thrilled, of course, and glad to have some intimacy(read: sex) again, since our time together was always few and far between.  But things became strained right from the start – having adjusted to life on a tropical island, he wasn’t prepared for the harshness of a New England winter, and after walking around campus for hours while I was working on a project, fell sick with a cold.  He was also visibly disappointed at my schedule; having envisioned a week of vacation, he didn’t realize I was still midway through my last term at college and had plenty of work outside of class that I couldn’t spend as much as I wanted to with him (And what school in America takes off for Lunar New Year?).

This is also when I learned how deep his paranoia and distrust truly ran.  One night, I took a longer shower, and when I returned to my room I found M already in bed.  I grabbed the laptop to check e-mail before going to sleep, and found that a new program had been installed – a keylogger.  In probably his rush to pretend he had been in bed for awhile, M had forgotten to remove traces of the program.  I was stunned, shocked.  A year and a half after leaving a relationship with a lying, cheating bastard, and now I was on the receiving end of distrust?

I uninstalled the program, deleted all traces of it.  The next day, after class, I found the keylogger had been reinstalled, more traces removed.  But I was on edge now, and looking for it.  Even then, it took me another day before I could confront M.  I told him I knew he’d installed the keylogger, and then waited.

He explained that he had been on my computer and saw I hadn’t logged out of my email account.  Curious, he had searched my inbox for the term “sex,” and some saved chat conversations had been returned, which he read.  It worried him, he told me, that I had talked of sex so casually and explicitly to another person, a guy, while I was seeing him.

Funny, how that night turned out.  I was the one who broke down, unable to speak, feeling betrayed, scared, wondering how I would be able to spend the rest of the week with this person who couldn’t trust me.  He remained calm, even tried to calm me down, but I couldn’t.  I couldn’t, because I could sense no remorse in him.  He explained it as a completely logical response, and in his eyes I saw his fears confirmed by my crying.  I fell asleep crying.

And awoke at dawn to his body pressing down on mine, his erection hot between my thighs.  I couldn’t move, and I couldn’t react.  M slipped inside me and all I could do was keep breathing.  I pressed my face into my pillow, still swollen from crying the night before, and I felt my body responding, felt the way he filled me so completely.  I couldn’t help feeling good, but I still couldn’t move.  Only after he had come and rolled away did I move, curling myself in a ball and falling back asleep.

The rest of the week was better (because we didn’t talk about what happened), and we hugged goodbye at the airport.  He flew back home, halfway around the globe.  Two months later, I ended our relationship over e-mail.

I never really blamed him, though.  Those chats he had found, the friends I have; could I really have asked for his open-mindedness?  A guy who’s been cheated on horribly himself, a guy who believes cybering is equal to physical cheating – I only wondered whether I had given him no more reason to trust another as a significant other again.  I hope he finds someone who can help him trust again, and I wonder after him.

I think about all of them, these three men I have been closely intimate with.  I wonder where they are in their lives, where they are headed.  What their sex lives are like.  How can I not?  To have spent the time and level of intimacy that I have with each, it would be impossible not to wonder, or to care.

I suppose, in the end, I wonder if each of them still thinks about me.  If they, in some small part of themselves, still care about me.

  1. Wilhelmina
    February 2, 2009 at 5:01 am

    Hmm, lately I’ve been quite the opposite… wanting to move ahead to new people and not dwelling on my old intense relationships, which I was doing last term…

    Tim sounds… wow. Having someone distrust you so much to start monitoring you?? Terribly upsetting 😐 I’m glad that you understand that that came from his own issues though…

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