With him, everything came in 2's.
I met him in a year that contained two 2's, we fell in love two times, he broke my heart two times, and there are only two reasons why I will not contact him again.
There should be more.
I was fascinated by his words, by his stoicism when it came to all but one thing, by the secrets he kept inside until he let them out, one by one, at the strangest moments. We had an attraction that defied explanation. I look back and think that he was acquainted with the fog I was living in, and wanted to clear it, but didn't know how.
He moved in almost right away, and we spent days and nights together, traipsing around the city, watching independent films, shopping, drinking, and being completely in love. Every hero in every book I read became HIM; I missed him while I was at work; he inspired me to write things and do things and make things. He suggested that we would attend his 10 year high school reunion with the same last name. He became the tragic character of every daydream; in my mind he found himself through me, lost his life and lived on in my memory, or disappeared into nowhere leaving me only a letter. I had no idea that a bizarre mix of my melancholy fantasies would eventually prove true.
I have only a few specific memories of this time. The rest are a blur of anguish and uncertainty and anger. It was a polar relationship--passionate at either pole, one a living hell.
After about five months, he began to come home drunk, on weeknights, crying that he was a horrible person and would never do it again. Do what? I could only imagine, really, but I never really asked questions, just tried my best to understand.
And there were fights. Between the nights out and the nights in, there were fights. I can't even remember what they were about, but they were passionate and loud and devastating.
And then, one night that July, he told me he didn't love me anymore. He was moving away. Not just out. Away.
I fell asleep listening to Norah Jones while he passed out on the sofa. The next morning, he and all his possessions were gone. He left behind a pan and an iron, and two t-shirts. No note. Just a few belongings he must have deemed disposable enough to leave at the home of the girl he no longer loved.
I didn't leave the apartment for days. I cried uncontrollably. I got physically ill and listlessly allowed my mother to take me to the emergency room. The workmen were supposed to come in to the apartment to give me hardwood floors. I remember hiding in the bathroom all day while they worked on the floor, not coming out until they were gone. I don't think I would have ever done anything else for the rest of that year if it wasn't for one new friend who brought me out of that hell.
Life went on. I worked, I played, I discovered things about myself. I got a good job. I moved. I started to become happy just being me, and felt like a different person. Not really a lost little girl anymore. I was thriving on my own, and for once I realized that my life was not for rent. It was mine. I went through drama with jobs, with school, with my health. But I didn't give a second thought to EI2.
Until one night about 2 years later, when I was sitting in a bubble bath with my little laptop. (NOT recommended.) An IM popped up that said "hello." Since I never used IM, I was tentatively curious. After a moment or so, I realized that it was him.
He said he just wanted to tell me he was sorry, and wondered if he could "take me out for a cup of coffee."
After lots of coffee, and lots of talking, he drove me home. I said goodbye and got out of the car. I had both my feet on the street outside, but right before I was about to close the door, something made me look back, and he was leaning over the passenger seat, looking up at me. And before I could think of anything else, we were kissing.
This time, I moved in to his house. We spent Christmas together, and he told me countless times that he had been scared and selfish and unsure and that everything I suspected was untrue.
Honestly, we had an uneventful life together. I spent days sitting at his desk, looking out his window while writing on his computer. We spent nights doing everything and nothing. I felt like he was distant, I felt left out, but I said nothing, because I desperately wanted to hold on.
Again, after only a few months, I was frightened and antsy. I confronted him, and he told me he wanted space.
I told him he could have it all, and packed up my car, and went back to my (thankfully still on lease) apartment.
It was hell. Once again, I got sick, I wanted to hide from the world, and my work suffered. (Unfortunately, I had a brand new job.) Somehow, though, I came out of it slowly. I began dating again. I started to think to myself that it all happened because he was lost, confused, overwhelmed. It wasn't my fault. It wasn't even necessarily his fault. It just was.
One of the reasons I will never speak to him again as a potential mate is that I am happily married. The other is one I will never share. I can't help but think that there should be 1000 reasons in my head that I should view him as completely off-limits, but every single one of them is forgotten or forgiven or not that important.
I wish I knew why he still pops into my head when I pass a certain bar, or hear a certain song, or see a certain piece of clothing in the back of my closet. Everything about him, our relationship, and my reaction when I randomly see him from afar, defies logic. Maybe someday I will figure out the answer to some of the questions that still live in a corner of my mind, and I can evict him forever.