I have spent most of the last decade building up walls to protect myself from being hurt. I have made some attempts at love, some times when I said I loved someone, but I never let my guard down. With every disappointment and each failure the walls grew higher and thicker. I became an ice queen, impenetrable and cold, without fear of getting hurt or being betrayed.
Then, at the beginning of 2013 I met a man who somehow melted all of the layers of ice surrounding my heart. We clicked from the start, bonding over mutual nerdiness, poetry, movies, music, art, tattoos, and most importantly the joy in finally feeling like we could be our true selves with someone else.
There was no need to put on an act, no need to wear a mask, for the first time I can remember I was loved for me. I fell hard and fast, the layers of ice melting into a puddle which would feed my soul and make my heart bloom again. It was scary, I was terrified of being hurt, but the way he looked at me, the things he said, the way his arms held me through the night and through my nightmares told me that I could be safe here. That I’d finally found a home.
We had one rough patch that nearly broke us 3 months into the relationship but with time, dedication, and persistence we made it through to the other side a more complete unit. Our love evolved and we started discussing the possibility of moving in together. Discussions became plans and everything seemed to be going great. He and my daughter got along wonderfully, it was obvious that they were beginning to care for one another. We talked every night, I spent my weekends without my daughter at his apartment and he came to mine sporadically.
And then, at our 10 month anniversary, everything crashed down. He said he felt pressure about moving in together, we had been discussing it for 5 months or so and it was his idea, so I was confused. I tried to talk to him about it but he shut down. The next day he said he thought that maybe we shouldn’t be together at all, that he didn’t feel the same about us as he once did.
That was 4 days ago and I haven’t talked to him for more than an hour since. I want to fight, to hold on, to do anything but relinquish the bond that we have formed, but all he wants is to be left to himself, buy everyone. He won’t actually tell me to leave him alone, he won’t say that he doesn’t want us to be together, he does say he loves me, but he ignores my calls and responds with short texts, and last night when I went to get my things from his place he held on to me like a drowning man hangs on to a floatation device. All he said about us is “I’m sorry I’m difficult”.
I hesitated at the door, I fumbled with my coat and keys, he came back to me for another long hug and in that minute I wished and hoped and prayed and begged anyone out there listening to my silent agony that he would ask me not to go. That I would have one more night to hold him, to lay in his warmth, to smell his skin, and to hear his voice. But that didn’t happen and I could feel myself breaking down, so I broke his grip, grabbed my things, and bolted out the door.
I didn’t make it to the stairs before the sobs started to wrack my body and I nearly fell twice before reaching the door. The frigid night air froze the tears on my cheeks as I blindly stumbled to my car. As I sat there, my anguish pouring out of my soul, I again silently willed him to come out there. To stop me. To do anything that showed that he didn’t really want me to leave, but again there was nothing. And I drove away into the cold night to spend my first weekend alone in 46 weeks.
I promised myself today that this is the last time I will feel this way. I will rebuild the walls that kept me safe for all of these years and rely on only myself for my happiness. I am the only one who won’t hurt me.