06 August 2006

Maude & Harold

Some night when we were laying in beds less than two hundred miles apart, staring at different ceilings, with different animals cuddled next to us, you asked me if I'd ever seen Harold & Maude. I said I hadn't, and after your gasp you proclaimed it a tragedy.

You told me later that Harold & Maude is a movie you have to see with the person who recommends it to you. We made plans to watch it at the cabin. But what was between us was never to be real. We were never going to watch that movie. And I think the bitch of it is that at the time, we both really believed we were. Maybe that is another lie I tell myself about you.

I watched Harold & Maude last night with one of my best friends. I thought about you, about how I can barely remember feeling as close to you as I did that night. And it wasn't just that night. It was night after night for months. I can't hardly remember on what we built our friendship. I can't remember falling in love. I remember how closely I kept you under wraps.

I told one person about everything -- the ups and downs, the laughter, the confusion, the rage, the sadness and emptiness after you were gone. And as she has for so many years, she just understood. She didn't chastise me, or tell me I should have known better. She didn't hate you based on principle. She told me what was right, and what was wrong, about a very strange relationship. I just looked up the last email with your name in it -- it was almost six months ago. I think the last time I heard from you was almost two months ago, requesting my email address because what you had to say was "too long to text." For days afterward I checked my mail, wondering where your explanation was. Wondering what you had to say to defend away the abolishment of something great. Obviously it never arrived. Your last betrayal of my heart.

You were Maude. I am Harold, sitting in an ambulance crying that I'll never, ever love again. You promised I would, and after abandoning the person I was while I loved you, I know I will. I couldn't help but sit there and think what a selfish bitch Maude was. And when I think of you these days, all I can think of is how selfish you were. I believe in the good of your heart, and don't think you went into things with the intention of hurting me. But nonetheless, it's a fucked up move to leave the way you did. Your pain and hurt from a prior relationship does not justify you damaging me. And my willingness to forgive my heart its poor thinking in prior relationships does not justify my allowing myself to be so angry and hurt for so long.

There are pieces of you I choose to keep. There is a picture of you in my mind; your smile makes me smile almost every time. There are songs that remind me of you, and sometimes I bow my head or stare at the wall, fighting back tears, fighting to let go. Because of you I know I can love selflessly and completely. And because of you I keep my distance. Because of you I believe in friendship and romance. And because of you I'm too scared to try again.

But because of Maude, and because of Harold, I'll give it a go one more time.