Tag Archives: heartbreak

Lying on the Couch

Written on 20 OCT 2019


I’m lying on her couch.

She’s in the next room, her bedroom, lying in her bed.

Her bedroom is a private space -that’s what she told me the first day.

Our flirtations -nuzzling, hand-holding in the streets, cuddling on this couch- have grown bolder at deliberate, steady pace, but never in her room.

I like the slow, deliberate pace of things. The slow, deliberate way in which we are re-learning each other after years apart; the way we aren’t putting the cart of intimacy before the horse of connection. Violent delights of course have violent ends, and I don’t want to relive past mistakes which sprang from impetuousness and recklessness. I don’t think she does either.

No. This time I’m thinking more seriously. I sat with her today -all afternoon in fact because it was raining- while she watched her shows and fretted about how to arrange her living room for a party next week. I sat there, not quite sombre, but pensive, thinking to myself, “could I sit here with her every Sunday for the rest of my life?

Maybe. Maybe even probably.

But I’m cautious, at least I’m trying to be. I’m really looking at how I feel in the moment and seeing if the feelings that come to me are shaded by guilt for how I treated her in the past. I want to make sure that whatever I do is righteous in the moment, and not short-sightedly satisfying nostalgia for the warm, agape love she once showed me.

I kissed her today. I was really happy afterward. I was happy because she was happy of course, but I was also happy that I recognized the right time to do it: I was lying beside her on the living room floor and she was talking about something excitedly. Her eyes, always bright and wide as their default setting, were somehow brighter and wider, and the faded black accents on her off-white t-shirt seemed as bold and vibrant as the ebony keys on a piano against the ivory ones. It was a sign. I recognized it. I acted on it. It was perfection.


In the intervening years since I broke her heart she has learned to set boundaries; no men -no me– in her bed is but one. I respect it, I understand it. Still, it hurts my heart a little when, in the evenings, she has left our cuddling on the couch to go to her room. I have asked her to stay, but she has said no, and that’s honestly what I probably need from her.

Tonight though played out a little differently: anticipating the hurt of her leaving me here on the couch I didn’t get invested emotionally when she started making overtures toward going to bed. I pulled out my laptop and switched on Mad Men as she brushed her teeth and didn’t get up to say goodnight.

I laid there for a few minutes after she retired and then realized that this behaviour on my part was just the kind of passive-aggressive, ego-based game bordering on dishonesty that has gotten me into such bullshitty situations in the past.

I got up and knocked on her door. She said “come in” but I asked her to come out on account of her bedroom being a sacred space. I explained why I didn’t say goodnight to her (protecting my feelings) and how that wasn’t right, and for a moment I guess she thought I was asking to come in and invited me in. I declined reflexively because I was already in that headspace of letting her have her space, and re-explained that I wanted to say a proper goodnight. I hugged her and we shared another lovely kiss.

I couldn’t sleep after that and instead watched another episode of Mad Men.

Speaking of which: There’s a great episode of the show where Roger Sterling seduces his young ex-wife, Jane and they make love in the apartment he bought for her after their divorce. The next morning she is upset with him and crying because she had a place that was just hers and now it was contaminated by him- even though she wanted him in the moment.

I bore that scene in mind the last few days while here, and it was certainly in my mind when I closed my laptop and laid on the couch thinking how nice it would be to be curled up in bed with her. She had invited me in after all and there is a point in the evenings, in the darkness, where noone can see us breaking the rules we have set for ourselves.

But I haven’t been able to bring myself to knock on the door. That would be a critical dose of impetuousness at a time when substance needs greater exploration, as flash has been well-demonstrated.

So I’m lying here on the couch, being the strong one tonight because she can’t be. I want to go knock on the door in a short-term fulfilment kind of way, but I’m playing a longer game now, and I’m not yet convinced that me knocking on that door is the best long-term move. Put more superstitiously: I didn’t get signs and a flash of vibrant colours like I did just before I kissed her.

There might be something there that is righteous and well-intentioned, but right now -tonight- I couldn’t hear it over nostalgia for times past and the desire to no be alone.

There is a time to act and a time to observe. Now is the latter.



Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Thinking on my Sins


I quit smoking. I left Berlin, hotbed for smoking anywhere and everywhere that it is. I came to Lisboa to finish my third and final month before submitting….succumbing to the yoke.

I will get myself clean before going back to Canada. I will get myself clean before putting my head down and shutting up. I will get myself clean before I go pay back all that good karma of living so recklessly and “finding myself” these last post-Chelsea years.

And that’s what it is -post-Chelsea, not post-Marijo. Not post-Anne. I lost Chelsea,  who loved me unconditionally. I have been so fixated on Marijo but she never loved me unconditionally. Marijo was too wise for that, even though she got start-struck by me and my sole purpose and intentional focus. She wised up real quick when that focus and drive she fell in love with became disproportionately fixated on her.

God how I sinned against her.

And then spurned by her I attached myself to Anne like a parasite. A weak man attaching himself to a strong woman’s vain twilight hopes of having a family. I look back at my weakness and willingness to use those weaker than me and I feel disgust. I never want to be so weak again.


I think I am still willing to use people again if need be. I just want to make sure I use that malevolence and ….charm, in a more intentional way. I don’t want to use it against women. Or men. I want to use it against people who know we are in contest. And then only as a last resort. I competence rather than artifice and the naivete of others to be how I make my way in the world. I want my cunning and wiles (such as they are) to be the fruits reaped by contenders who will appreciate the artfulness and not be left stunned and in disarray at how their best –their pearls– were spit upon for selfish egoistic self advancement.

I look back and see human wreckage. I’ve taken what I want from women. From those women gullible, naive and/or idealistic enough to be duped at least.

No more. I will make sure their eyes are open. If I can’t open them then I will walk away.

And of course I realize wryly that it’s all well and good for me to repent and rehabilitate now that my ‘victims’ have endured/are enduring the brunt of wasted hopes and wasted years. I used to take pride at how I was on good terms with all of my exes. I can’t do that anymore. I look at the last few women in my life and I see indifference/getting on with life at best, and….something else at worst.

I sinned against Marijo. I have known this for a long time. A spiritual sin against someone so perfectly matched to my soul that I felt I might have to pay penance for several lifetimes before I might have her essence welcome me again.

And if that weren’t bad enough, my penance to her was at the “altar” of my relationship with Anne. I saw Anne as the fitting punishment for earlier transgressions. I spent a year self-flagellating with her, trying to conform my heart and soul to a new life that wasn’t my own and my health suffered. I felt like I couldn’t even stand up straight and I was scared that I was going to cripple myself by continuing down this road.

And then there’s the elephant in the room, Annie.

Annie, who loved me so purely and so dearly while I pined after Marijo, missing the latter with the vain goal of co-mingling my weakness and inadequacy with her optimism and idealism. I haven’t even addressed Annie. I have kept her compartmentalized out of a sense of respect. She loved me so dearly, so purely, and all I could think about was another woman.

Marijo. Annie. Anne. They all have names. They are all lives touched by my brutish, unrefined demands. Sodomized by my insecurities, they allowed themselves to be victimized by my emotional rapefulness [sic] because they didn’t know better; because as they were struggling to keep their own heads above water they only saw the polished tip of my iceberg and not what floated me -not the generational pain, narcissism, hurt and legacy of past impetuous, rash and calculated actions.

There’s an idea that I don’t like per se, but which is nonetheless salvational: “None of us get away with anything.”

I realized this when I cheated on Anne. Even though we might lay cuddled, there was always something between our tightly intertwined bodies which prevented ultimate closeness, and the only thing which ameliorated that distance was coming clean about my infidelity. Poor girl. Poor lovely, unassuming young girl who was five years my senior. She wanted so badly to believe that her investment in me would pay off that she forgave me.

No. That’s not true. Forgiveness implies an even playing field. She was DESPERATE. I knew this. I knew I could act a fool and get away with it. And still, when I came clean it was only because I found my conscience -atrophied, jelly-like invalid that it was- irksome. I wanted to hold her closer for my own selfish indulgence, and the last good thing in me was screaming at me in its weakened state, “NO!”

I told her. She forgave me…not like she had a choice and my cuddles were as close after that as I needed them to be, no longer impeded by that thing I had been neglecting to feed and nurture.

If we can shut a yappy creature up and get ourself some respite, very often we will settle for that instead of a proper solution.

What a horrible state of affairs if that yappy creature whom we wish to toss only the merest sustenance to is our conscience.

Oh ladies who have loved me, I am so so sorry. I have wronged you so egregiously. I took what you freely gave at your most idealistic, and demanded more with no recompense. I am disgusted with myself.

I am haunted too. I am haunted by a selfish thought. The thought that is haunting me is this idea of 3. Three. Three women in your life. Three loves. That’s all you get. That’s all anyone gets. I look back on the women in my life trying to piece together who I loved, and who I didn’t actually love but who I just saw as an idealized projection of what I wanted. I hope to God the count is less than three. I hope I meet the love that will be so redefining in its depth that it will shift the goal-post and make me realize that everything I experienced before was just a shadow of the immaculate now where I find myself in union with a hopeful, unjaded feminine sweetness that loves me like Chelsea loved me, unconditionally.

That future is uncertain. I have thought about becoming a priest or turning to homosexuality over the last year because honestly, what do I have to offer the women I want; the sweet young women that I want, aside from rapaciousness and plunder?

And so I have become a man of faith. Perhaps all men of faith are motivated by a self-awareness of the transcendental nature of their error. I see my transgressions -for better or worse- as arithmetic figures to be punched into the perpetually tabulating equation of human suffering and misery. My act of faith is to absorb as much of that suffering as I can without letting it pass to the weaker around me who fall in love with me because of token, gestural demonstrations of strength and poise.

No, from now on I will shoulder the burden instread of passing it to them; not because anyone is watching and I am trying to get laid, but because I have learned experientially that the only way to redeem my suffering, to redeem the hurt I have inherited, is to minimize the suffering around me. And I so dearly need that respite so that I can become.

And here is the faith: If I do this, I trust that whatever happens will be the right thing. If it turns out that it is three strikes and I am out for women to love me, then I will take satisfaction that this is but one life and there will be another to get where I’m going.

If it turns out -God willing- that it has only been two, then I swear by everything that is holy that I will have the wide open eyes to recognize that beauty and not take it for granted like I was wont to do in the past. I won’t coast, but will work every day to make it better until it kills me.

If it is three I have already had then there might be another way…

My wandering vagabond lifestyle up to this point has been a blessing and a curse, but whatever I can say about it, it has made me choosy and refined in how I go about suffering. I want so badly to suffer for something with my enlightened perspective of how deeply meaningful suffering can be and how to shoulder it for the benefit of myself and everyone around me. I want to have my back against the wall and have people depend on me.

And I will get it…if I’m meant to in this life.

Again, faith.

I have difficult years ahead of me. Lots of credit I have been living on that has to be paid back. I am going to pay it back with a smile on my face. And if I have to buy a pack of tobacco to bolster me now and then, then I burn away my health and beauty gladly.



Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized