We ask each other a lot of questions that we know neither of us can answer. Is this working. Can we be better. Is this worth it. I don’t know I don’t know I don’t know.
We fight. We fight constantly. We fight so much I can’t even remember what most of these are about or what we were fighting about yesterday or even what this one is.
We’ve been doing this for months. After a blissful beginning consisting of cooing at each other and spending every spare minute in each other’s presence, I got upset at the end of our brief trip to Boston before I left for my month-long winter break. It was stupid. After two perfect days, I sabotaged it as you drove me to the airport, ready to adjourn the trip with a stony wall. Why do you let one little thing ruin a good time? Can’t we say goodbye on good terms? You told me we were on the same team, that you weren’t my enemy, a revelation that jolted my entire worldview. Nobody had ever been on my team before. I’d always seen everything as me against the world, every disagreement a debate to be won to prove myself strong. I left you feeling so grateful for sticking up for our team.
I made sticky notes of all the places we planned to go this spring, all the things we want to cook together. We’d been dating all throughout the winter, and we were itching to get started on our warm-weather activities. Your beach house in Maine. Teaching me how to sail. Drive-in movie theaters (do those even still exist?). Doing ecstasy and walking through the woods. Picking berries and having a picnic on a grassy hill with champagne and blueberry pie with my sundress and the new shorts I helped you pick out.
I don’t want to give up on these things, even though I listed them in order of priority, just in case we break up before we have time to make it through the whole list. But I want them, I want them, I want them. I feel entitled to them, for making it through the boring, frozen winter, where entropy stills and we grow rigid, rigid in our ways. We have almost made it to spring, to the thaw, we can shed our coats and insecurities and grudges and just melt into each other. But perhaps the cold has already done its damage, leaving us with a sort of frostbite that has paralyzed us in painful positions and left our nerves going into spasms, hurling out words out of fear and hurt that gash each other’s skin and drain us of our will to try harder.
Can I still go sailing with a limp from the time you told me your condescension was “appropriate” because I was being an idiot? Can you still follow a pie recipe with the insecurities I have caused screaming so loudly in your head?
The idea of wasted sacrifice is too much. The thought of having made so much space for you in my busy, complicated life and my damaged psyche to be left with only pain and loneliness and the “lessons” I’ve learned is too much to accept.
With the return of birds’ songs and the blossoming of buds, I cautiously start to hope. I embrace the cliché and cheesy symbolism of the rebirth of all that had been dead, the renewal of life and new chances. Maybe we did it wrong, starting as everything else was ending in chilly November. Maybe we jumped into each other’s arms simply for a gulp of air and touch in that season of stillness to assure ourselves that there was still warmth somewhere. But then maybe we can make something of this spring to start anew.