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On Marriage : The Morning After - kale & cigarettes
On Marriage : The Morning After

On Marriage : The Morning After

I wake up the next day like someone who didn’t expect to. Like someone who took all the pills and thought it was over. I can’t think about what comes next because then I’ll never do anything.

What comes next is a dizziness that feels like a dream mixed with dread that reminds me it’s real. More real than what I have the appetite for.

In my morning breathing session I came to the realization that this all could be a terrible mistake and my expectations for life are unattainable. Then I remembered that understanding that intellectually doesn’t stop my body from searching anyway. I have to follow my feet. 

She’s driving up to LA to look at a place. A really nice studio in Franklin Village is available and she is going to have the first look. 

All these things she did that bothered me. Were they normal things that everyone does? Is it fine to drop stuff a lot, or never charge your phone, or leave your clothes piled everywhere? All those things seem to be forgivable if the connection is there. 

Mark always said we blame our partners for how they make us feel. But it is our own fears and insecurities that are the problem. Their behaviors aren’t personal, but we take them that way. In the end, it is the fear of being left behind or not being good enough that comes out as anger, resentment, jealousy, distrust, complacency, or distance. I shut down when there is a threat because I don’t believe conflict can be fluid and repairable. When there is a problem the only treatment is to sever at the joint and move forward. Always move forward. 

She calls. She got the place. It’s in a great spot and she loves it. I ask if she can picture herself driving down the sunny streets in the vintage Mercedes I bought her a few months before. I can hear her smile through the phone. She sees the expansion and I feel the relief. We do not belong together.

I was in New York a month earlier visiting Jenny for 4th of July week. I needed a break from work and from San Diego and, essentially, a break from my life. Alexis said I should go to my favorite place. She never treated my time away from her as a threat. She knew I worked hard and didn’t mind if I asked for my own space. I just never asked for it.

My flight was rerouted through D.C due to some bad weather. I made arrangements to take the Amtrak and on the train I texted Alexis.

“I’d like the opportunity to talk with other girls while I’m on this trip.”

“Okay, what do you mean talk to exactly?”

“I want to know that I can pursue other connections without causing harm to our relationship.”

“What are the rules then?”

“You tell me. Whatever you’re comfortable with.”

“No kissing. I’m not ready for that. You’re just putting this on me now.”

“That’s fine. What else?”

“No exchange of contact info and no seeing the same person twice.”

“Are you sure you’re okay with this?”

“Do I have a choice?” 

It wasn’t clean and I didn’t present it in a good way at all but I felt a sense of accomplishment for making it feel like we could have a different relationship. 

The thought of her at home thinking about me going on dates with women in New York immediately crippled the excitement. It was too foreign.

I took a second to imagine her having coffee with a guy. Smiling and telling stories about herself. Having a chance to share all that she had become with someone who wasn’t there the entire time. An opportunity to reflect with confidence who she was in the world. We couldn’t do that with each other anymore. It was more about her forgetting to pick up flowers for a shoot or me going cold on a vacation that should’ve been fun. We no longer saw each other for all that we were, only the things we weren’t.

I liked the thought of her being liked again. I could feel her spark. And for a second, it seemed like this might be possible. 

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