Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thomas Wolfe was right

Thomas Wolfe once said, You can never go home again.

In my mind’s eye when I used to hear that term I thought he meant, home as in, your childhood home, you’re parents and your relatives. Unfortunately that’s not the case. It doesn’t just touch on your childhood and the things that went on there. It’s talking about any point in time in your life where you once had a home and now you’ve moved on.

How do I know this?

I learned it the hard way. For some of you, you’ve followed along, for others; well you’re probably scratching your head wondering what I’m talking about.

Eight months ago, after almost six years of marriage, I woke up one morning and had a moment of clarity. I was in a situation where I was giving until I couldn’t give anymore and then asked to give again. I had reached my limit. I was living in a situation where my wife had been constantly drugged for the last two years. I had lacked in the many departments that help us get our needs met and all I was doing was care giving for someone who didn’t give about anything.

I gave her one month. I told her that if she could show me something, anything in that month that gave me some hope, that showed me that perhaps she did care. I would reevaluate the situation, stick around and work things out. The month came and went, I went with it.

The first couple of months were the hardest, I won’t lie. Having known that I would come home to the same person and be given a respite from life was warm and welcoming and suddenly I was living without it. I was living without the safety net that I had become accustomed to.

In the end, the edge of being alone got the best of me and I made some sad decisions when it came to dating, ask around and you’ll be told exactly what I’m talking about. It felt like a build up of crap, one bad thing to the next. Then I met someone who I thought was genuine and at the end of it I was still staring at the same issues that I had when I started.

Nothing went right for me. Be it by Devine design or just by bad decisions, I felt like the opposite of King Midas, where everything turned to dung.

Near the end of the year a few things happened. In October, I had a car accident, the vehicle in question was totaled but I was able to walk away without a scratch. Within the month I was able to get a new car for a small sum that was better than the one I had.

The relationship I had been nurturing it slowly and as quietly as possible. Not wanting any ripples, hoping that it wasn’t just a smoke screen, fell apart right in front of me in the span of two weeks. Like a bad paper-Mache that had finally dried out and started to crack under it’s own flaws. There was nothing to be done for it. I had to let it go.

Just as that was coming to a close I got a bombshell at the beginning of December. I was being kicked out. The owners of the apartments I was living in wanted to turn a quick buck with the down turn in the economy. They kicked out all of the month to month renters to make them into condos. Unfortunately for me, no one moves in December. This meant that I was stuck couch surfing for the month of Dec until I was able to get a place again in Jan.

This is where my biggest mistake lay.

I didn’t have a shortage of options. Looking back on it now? I probably had more options that I even realized then. I’ve talked to friends who have looked at me dumbfounded and wondered why I didn’t call on them. I think part of it was me just being stubborn.

M walked back into my life. She had gotten somewhat better. She was more like the person I remember in my mind’s eye. It blinded me. It made me feel like perhaps there was still a chance, still an opportunity. And, ever the optimist that thinks the best of people, I tried again.

The old resentments, the old anger, never really dies you know, it just slumbers. It waits for the time to rekindle itself. To catch on fire the soul of the person it breathes within everyday hoping for the opportunity to scream out that it’s right. It stews, it slumbers, it waits, and it hungers.
Slowly it consumed me. It took me by the hand and guided me through the steps, made me see the same things that had accumulated through the first time for so many years. Instead each time one of the old habits would crop up, I was aware, well aware of it and it gutted me. It tore me up and I would talk about it, how it made me feel, what I was worried about.

The week I was supposed to move out was the hardest. I was entrenched again in the same place I had been for years and as angry as it made me, it was comfortable, it was safe. Why should I crack my skull trying to start over when I could just fall into mediocrity and forget about it, forget about dreams, aspirations, hopes, desires and live a life amongst the unwashed and unknown, never blazing a trail for myself in this life or this World. Complacent in knowing that there was a warm body next to me, even if she wasn’t affectionate.

I debated because I feared. I feared because I had already gone all in with someone else and they hadn’t been able to cover my bet. I had shown all my cards and come up short of the winning hand. So what would make me think that the second time around would be better. What makes me think that it wouldn’t lead to a third try or fourth? How far was I willing to go? How often was I willing to bet all my chips?

I hemmed and hawed. It didn’t help that she wanted me to stay. It didn’t help that I wanted to stay. The strength that I had the first time I left wasn’t available. I had lost that yearning and burning because I was getting cowed again and I didn’t even see it.

If you ask me now what exactly it was that lead to my leaving, I still couldn’t tell you, that week was a complete blur. However I got out and was on my own. We tried to make it work. I know how much I gave to it. She has an idea as to what she put into it, I can’t speak for her. I’m not going to demonize the woman I once called wife but I will say that in my eyes the effort wasn’t enough and we ended up falling into our own ways.

This week I finally came to grips with the fact that the woman that I married that fine summer day was long gone and never to be seen again.

The second time, I think, was the hardest. It’s that finality that I know that there’s nothing else to do. There’s no where else to take this endeavor so with a heavy heart I’ve had to say it again. This time knowing that what I once called home is now nothing but an empty house.


Anonymous said...

when one leaves the poker table, and cashes in what chips are left, walks out the door of the dark and bright casino, and realizes...that is when life begins again. the mindset, the mindset. strength. endurance.


Anonymous said...

I wanted you to know that you are a wonderful person who doesn't deserve any of the curveballs, fastballs, and hardballs that life has sent your way. You are bound to find that right path in the dark forest of the world. The right path, destined to lead you to sanctuary. Until then, your compass is always going to be a little sketchy, and even when you've found the right path, you're going to doubt it, unsure if this was just another big bad wolf coming to get you in the dark, clothed in the safeness of loved ones and peaceful moments. But keep your spirits high, and much to the chagrin of Loki, you will find yourself finding that one place of sanctuary. That one solid rock in this tumultuous sea of despair. It's out there for you, Gabriel. Just hold on tight, and let the healing truly begin.

Anonymous said...

I hope all is well. It's been awhile since you've posted and we all miss you. Hurry back.

Anonymous said...

The woman you married is "gone?" She didn't leave you; you never saw her clearly from the beginning.


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