Last night I dreamt that I was at a carnival. I am there with Kevin. You had broken up with me via a phone call. You had rang and said "I need some space." And that was it, you and I hadn't spoken in a week. Kevin and I are wandering around the fair together. I am being social and chatting with friends. I am eating carnival food, riding rides, trying to enjoy nature, and distract myself. After finishing up a ride, I run into a guy friend who buys me a very pretty dress. I walk into the dressing room and try it on. When I see myself in the mirror, I am hit with a wave of devastation. You are the one who is supposed to be admiring me in dresses. I realize I am not OK. I can't fake happiness. The carnival is no longer a distraction. I start panicking to Kevin. I tell him, "I must call him! He can't just break up with me over nothing by the phone! It doesn't make any sense? I need to know why. I need to talk to him." I headed off to call you and then I woke up before hearing your voice or your reason.
The dream is a thinly veiled metaphor for my reality. Last night, Kevin and I went to a casino with a bunch of old friends in my hometown. While no one bought me a dress, I did win some money. I strapped on a smile and I kept my chin up. But when I got home, washed off my makeup, and climbed in bed – the truth was still spread on thick. I can't get away from it, no matter how much stimulation I layer on.
I've found that I've been drawn to certain people who remind me of you. When I interact with someone, I'll find solace in their gentleness, their sensitivity, their kind smile, their humor, or maybe their generosity. It's nice to see glimmers of you in friends. It feels familiar and nurturing. I'll feel a bit of warmth in my being, then a wave of sadness. I realize that even when there's tidbits of you in others, it magnifies a glaring reminder of the parts that aren't like you. I love all of you. Wholly and fully. It's the larger aspects of your personality that create the shell of who you are, but it's the little quirks that give you texture that makes you stand apart. Today, I've been thinking about the little things about you that I love so much.
I love how you remembered everything. In my experience, so many men (some women too) can be idiots when it comes to memory. But not you. You had the memory of an elephant. You would remember to call me when you said you'd call me. You'd remember my schedule. If I said I had a class or a deadline, you would consider it in our planning or communication, and later, you'd ask about how it went. You'd remember tickets to the show. You'd remember your keys. You'd remember to pack a corkscrew in the cooler just in case we had a bottle of wine. You'd remember where you'd stuck our boarding passes after going through security. You'd remember to take out the recycling. You'd remember to bring a fresh water bottle in the car. You'd remember where you put the bottle of Aleve the last time we used it. You'd remember what we needed from the grocery store: how many kombuchas were left, if we were low on hemp seeds, if we ran out of a supplement, or if we needed avocados because the ones we had weren't ripe. You'd remember to come and check on me if I went to bed early and you stayed up later. You remembered birthdays. You remembered to get your oil changed. You'd remember to tell me you loved me, nearly hourly, every day. I love your memory, your awareness, and how much you care.
I love your transparency. You never played games. When it came to communication, you were direct and to-the-point from day one. There was never a guessing game: Does he like me? Will he call? What is he thinking right now? Is he upset? I never had to wonder, because you simply told me. Your honesty was beautiful. I remember one time when I still lived in Austin, I went out to a show and then came back to a friend's house around 1 a.m.. My phone had died. I plugged it in at her place, but then fell asleep on her couch before it turned back on. When I woke up, I had multiple missed called and messages from you. When I called you after waking, you were nearly in
tears. You told me, "I was so nervous you had gotten in a wreck or someone had
assaulted you! I've been awake all night assuming the worst!" Understandably, you were concerned and a bit upset. In fact, it was probably the most upset you ever were at me. You weren't mad, you were scared. But the way you handled the situation was so transparent. You told me you were upset, you explained your fears, then you were happy I was safe, and you let it go right there. We never had to talk about it again. It was in the past. There was no passive-aggressive 'I'll show her what it's like not to call me' payback, there was never a rub-it-in-my-face comment made again about making sure I call you, nothing – you explained your perspective, we both understood, and we grew from it. We communicated like consenting adults who respected and loved one another, every day.
I love that you weren't a big drinker or a bad drunk. I don't know if it's just my relationship history, but nearly all of my serious partners have been heavy drinkers and pretty terrible drunks. After rocky roads, I've learned it's not a habit that works for me. I am down to have a drink of wine with dinner a few nights a week and knock back a few cocktails at a show or a party, but when there's a need to drink in order to have fun – it doesn't jive with me. You chose to drink alcohol cautiously which was incredibly attractive. In addition to that, when you did get drunk – you were adorable. You weren't mean, you weren't aggressive, you weren't spacey, you weren't curt, you weren't obnoxious, you weren't blacked out, you weren't stumbling, you were just more silly than usual.
I remember the one time I got a bit irritated with you when alcohol was involved. It was at an Umphrey's show at Red Rocks on a Saturday night. I was the designated driver and was trying to round up our crew after the show. Trying to rally five people post concert can be a chore to a sober person. I had accumulated everyone, but strangely, you were the one who we just couldn't coerce to head to the car. The reason you wanted to stay was so you could give your friends more good-bye hugs. You were running back and forth from one side of the Red Rocks Amphitheater to the other shouting farewells, 'I love you's', and giving hugs to Chris, Cassie, Frenchy, Rey, Jelly, and more. Red Rocks is wide, but back and forth you ran, one side to the other, spreading love. Now that's a cute drunk.
I love how affectionate you were. You understood the power of touch. If I needed a hug, you would notice from across the room. You would hold me for seconds longer than I expected you to. You'd pull me tight, and press your whole chest into mine. You'd stop what you were thinking to give a embrace, all plans aside. I loved your kisses. We kissed as often on the last day of your life, than we had at the beginning of our relationship. We never had a lull in kisses. Whether it was a kiss of passion, friendship, salutation, sympathy, custom, love, or just because – there was always a kiss. Even if a hug or kiss wasn't involved, you still showed affection in many other ways – a brush of the arm, a slap of the butt, a gentle pinch, a tickle (even though I hated it!), a game of footsie under the covers, a hold of my hand, fingers through my hair, a wink across the room, or simply eye contact – you always stayed connected to me. I am searching for that connection now, I know it's here somehow. I can't see it, I can't feel it, and I can't hear it – but I know it's here.
I love how open you were with bodily functions. When we started dating, it took about six months before you farted in front of me... which I was fine with, trust me. But once you crossed that threshold you let it rip. In addition to your own flatulence, you had an open mind about women's stuff too. It's a relief when a man understand that the same stuff, minus a couple things and plus a couple more, come of out both men and women's bodies. It's surprising how many thirty-year-plus men I know that don't want to accept that. Women can have tummy aches too. They get cramps. They fart. They purchase tampons, put them in the garbage, and carry them around in their purse. Women pee and they poop too. They fart occassionally, and maybe after Indian or Mexican just like you. Women can get stinky after a run just like a man. They can even have diarrhea. The ignorance of women's bodily functions can be ridiculous. But not with you, you made it easy and a non-issue to talk about how we were feeling – whether it was emotional or physical. While we may have still peed with the powder-room door closed and given one other personal space with our hygiene, we still respected what was going on behind closed doors.
I loved your dirty mind. I have the mind of a fourteen-year-old boy with
a thirty-year collection of sexual innuendos and vocabulary. You had
met your match when you met me. If we heard, saw, or read something that
could be played off as a dirty joke, it was on. Between us, there were
probably as many "That's what she said's", "Dzzzzts!", and "Giggity's"
as there were kisses, which is a lot! Now, as I'm moving through my
days like I am made of wet cement, when I hear a funny innuendo or see
something slightly sexual my stomach drops instead of my eyes lighting
up. My joker is no longer here to joke with. It's creepy to make dirty jokes with yourself all of the time.
I miss the whole you. I miss the physical you. I miss the spiritual you. I miss the friend in you. I miss the lover in you. I miss the things that carved out the large facets of your personality. And I miss the little things, like some of what I've mentioned here: the texture, the quirks and curves that made you so special. There's no hiding from your absence. There's no carnival fun enough to distract me. There's no friends that fill the gap. There's just my love, waiting in space, to give back to you someday, somehow.