10. the home stretch
Posted April 7, 2014on:
He let her into our home, once. I think. I didn’t know about this until sometime later.
What were they doing in my apartment, why was she there, how could he let her in there? Was this the time I went to Europe? Me, wanting so desperately to feel happy as I wandered through his hometown with his childhood friend, crying at night when nobody knew. I was one crying mess, those years of my youth in moments when I was by myself. Loving someone without him acknowledging it was tough enough, but to have him actively pushing and pulling, and me topping off the whole mess by flinging my own heart at his doorstep every day, it wore me down. Year three was grating on me. The roommate had moved home after she graduated, and we just kept the place to ourselves. We lived like a dysfunctional couple: eating together, living together, doing chores together, hanging out together, sleeping (sometimes) together, going out together, but distance must be maintained at all times, certain line could not be crossed. It could make a person with a healthiest sized ego feel insignificant. If anyone asked about our relationship to each other, at best I got a blank status, at worst, I was his housemate. I hated having to refer to him as “my housemate” or “my friend,” so I just referred to him by his name.
I felt like a bipolar person, living with him. When I proposed that we move in together, I was ready to persuade him for days or weeks if I needed to. I had all my primary reasons lined up, then secondary reasons too, in case the primary ones didn’t deliver enough ooomph. But he just basically said “OK” after I delivered my speech, so easy it felt unreal. Every now and then, during those years living with him, I had to remind myself that my first goal that I thought nearly impossible – it came true. But between periods of optimisms and elations, there were periods of setbacks that made me feel hopeless. In those moments I bought into his version of reality, that he was just a friend, too weak to resist temptation, using me until I give up and leave on my own.
She was already engaged, if not married, by then. About 6 months after we moved in, one evening after he picked me up from work and we were just talking in my room while he checked his email on my computer, I saw her name in his mailbox with a new message. As he automatically immediately clicked on that message, I saw an evite announcing her engagement. Whatever words I was in the midst of saying died right on my lips that moment, as he read quickly through the announcement while I left the room, and then he silently walked back to his room and closed the door. I heard him through the thin wall. I didn’t know what to do, how to proceed, so I did what I had always been doing and waited. About an hour later, he showered, cleaned up, knocked on my door and said, let’s go do something tonight. We went out for dinner, and then watched an old movie, something like The Young Frankenstein. He sighed about having to send an engagement gift. She couldn’t possibly have entered our home as a married woman by the time I went to Europe, then. He wouldn’t have done that.
And then he started the sleep talking that got me spending endless hours of planning just so I could get back into his bed for more clues. He was awake one night between his sleep cycles, and he said something to me – what did he say ? Something intimate and affectionate, probably. That was the trend from then on. It didn’t happen often. Probably only 2-3 times a year. Not all the things he said to me were intimate and affectionate. Sometimes he was saying random stuffs, like “oh i need to wash my jacket tomorrow” – he wasn’t sleep walking or having a dream. He was fully awake, I can vouch for that. Except the next morning, if I asked him, he would have had no recollection, if I repeated the lines back to him, he sometimes smiled, embarrassed. Or he said I made it up. I figured if he wasn’t actively trying to express those sentiments, then they must have come from beneath the surface. I schemed to look for more clues.
That was how my friend who visited me got encouragement from me to take over my room, that way I could research my subject more thoroughly. After she left, my room was free once again, yet I stayed put for another week or two, before he put his foot down. Then we went to Europe together to visit our mutual friend (the one who came and took over my room) (and by now my coworkers were buying our roommate line with their eyes practically rolled into the back of their heads). That trip started out awkward, but rolled much more smoothly the moment he invited me to join him on the floor instead of staying up on my narrow bed all by my lonesome self.
Some people thought I didn’t know my own self worth, throwing myself at a man like that. But at that time, whatever people thought, I didn’t give a damn. Even now, I don’t give a damn. The ones who knew about the details of our relationship were mostly strangers, because I wrote about my feelings and difficulties online. Most of my family, friends, and coworkers didn’t know much. The truth is, I was keenly aware of my own self worth at all time, as I have always had high opinion of myself. I would love to be friend with someone like me, date someone like me, marry someone like me. I just don’t want to raise someone like me, because I was a pain in the ass as a child. I considered my love a great gift, so much so that I insisted he accept it, and would keep on trying until he comes to realize the greatness of the gift. When I reflected on my love for him and my need to have him in my life, it goes back to how everything about him fitted my needs to a T. I couldn’t find a better guy to listen to me talk all day, or a guy who would take my side regardless of right or wrong, would choose to defend me over his own parents even though he loves his family the most; a guy who would willingly heed my advise and act upon them; a guy who could understand my jokes and have perfect come back lines whenever we tease each other. A guy who just let me be; a stubborn, opinionated and closed off kind of guy who did almost 90% of all the things I’ve ever asked him to do . I docked 10% off because he didn’t accept my feelings when I offered them to him back then, but then again, I never asked him to accept them, I was just expressing myself. I was totally his puppy/kittycat/pet whatever, I came running when he beckoned, purred when he told me to, dying to be petted. It was ok for me, as long as I kept my eyes on the prize.
After we got home from Europe, I acted like i owned his room, and he didn’t bother to protest. Three months later, we made the decision to move to a smaller and cheaper unit at a much more convenient location. That was the home where I threw away the twin bed in favor of a full one, where one room was officially labeled as the guest room, while the other was the bedroom. That home was when his final cryptic middle-of-the-night one liner won out all other cryptic messages. He said: “I want you to be the mother of my children” and demanded for an answer. What kind of proposal is that? The next day he swore up and down that he had no clue what I was talking about, and that I was making it up. He was 6 months away from accepting his fate.