Giving up The Ghost

Posted on | July 17, 2012 | 13 Comments

On one of our first “real” dates, my Ex and I went to a pizza restaurant.  We loaded up our bellies on heavily buttered and garliced bread and similarly garliced pizza.  We held hands and laughed, walking back down the leaf decorated road, until I shivered… announcing that my nose was freezing cold.   In a moment that kept replaying in my head for years to come, he cupped his hands around my nose and blew hot, garlic breath straight up my nostrils.

He meant it to warm my nose.

He meant it as a romantic gesture.

It was actually one of the most foul smelling things to ever happen to me.

But it was ridiculously endearing.  It was the moment that defined who I believed he was, deep down… under all of the anger and angst that he carried in his front pockets.  It was a moment that I held on to when times were difficult between us… a moment I remembered as one of the few times he didn’t act with precision, with a perfectly manicured plan of attack and conquer. 

Even after we separated, I could remember that moment with a smile… knowing it was one of those rare moments where I thought I was glimpsing the real him, the real person that lived behind his calculating facade.  It was a small moment that stuck with me, one that reminded me that he could be someone special… he just had to find his way back there.

It’s funny how much we want to believe in our own selves, isn’t it?  How much we want to make our hearts the strongest, our perceptions the best and our minds the sharpest?  We don’t want to believe that we were taken for a ride, fooled in any way, and definitely not deceived.  It is THEIR fault… they changed… they got worse or better or somehow less desirable.  It is never about us.

It was never about me.

I certainly had not been blinded by that moment… that one moment of sweet stupidity that was romantic and ridiculous all at once.

Only I had.

For the better part of six years, I held tightly to the hope that he was the boy on that fall street corner, sheepishly grinning and apologizing through laughter.  For the better part of six years, I believed that he had simply lost his way, lost his memory, lost his ability to be that boy… that fun, exciting, ridiculous man/child of a person who made me simultaneously laugh until I cried and go weak in the knees.

And then last night, he was texting me… as he often does when he reads that I’m happy or dating or, well anything.  I was trying to do what I always do… salvage the friendship for the sake of our son… and maybe, just maybe find a common ground, a way back to the friends we used to be when we strolled the strip of ground between Murphy’s and Paolo’s Gelato.

And as often happens when I let down my guard and let him talk to me as though we don’t have a marred and mangled past…  I found myself standing on that street corner in the Virginia Highlands.  I was cold, bundled up in a warm coat, next to the boy I’d been seeing for just a few short weeks.  Oh and he was charming, perfectly gentlemanly and full of grand gestures.  He reached his hands up, cupping them to my nose in silent slow motion… a sparkle in his eyes, concern on his unmoving lips.

But this time I stopped him.

I put my hand against his chest and I gently pushed him backwards, watching him disappear into the crowds of hipster wannabes and weekend musicians. 

I wasn’t so very sad to see him go; not nearly as sad as I’d once thought I’d be to lose that memory, that slice of who I wanted desperately to believe he was.

Because last night I realized something …. sometimes, it is not the small moments that define who a person really is; sometimes it is the small moments that make us see who it is we really want.


13 Responses to “Giving up The Ghost”

  1. Hilly Glaser
    July 17th, 2012 @ 8:45 am

    I love this! Thank you for being so blunt and honest! Your words are comforting to me right now.

  2. Law Momma
    July 17th, 2012 @ 8:52 am

    It’s hard to give up on someone, even when you realize they’ve given up on you. But it’s so much easier when you can distance yourself and see that they were never who you thought they were to begin with.

  3. Jess
    July 17th, 2012 @ 9:36 am

    GOOD GIRL. I’m so proud of you. You have to stop him at some point. He will constantly try to make an inch whenever he sees you are making progress. NO.

  4. Law Momma
    July 17th, 2012 @ 2:16 pm

    It’s such a long process… the letting go of what/who you thought you loved. It’s like admitting you were wrong… and I HATE being wrong.

  5. Kir
    July 17th, 2012 @ 10:41 am

    I am literally sobbing at my desk, reading this. I’m not even quite sure why, other than that I am so affected by your words.
    I am glad you pushed away this time, that you see what you deserve and who you are.

  6. Law Momma
    July 17th, 2012 @ 2:18 pm

    Thanks so much. It’s been a long long long road… and I haven’t remotely reached the finish line.

  7. Michelle Stibbs
    July 17th, 2012 @ 11:16 am

    very interesting! I love that you realized it wasn’t him you wanted, but someone that treated you like that. very cool. breakthrough for women around the world!

  8. Law Momma
    July 17th, 2012 @ 2:17 pm

    Wouldn’t that be great? To think all women could realize what they really want and need?

  9. kristinayellow
    July 17th, 2012 @ 12:10 pm

    I am so so proud–not that you pushed him away but that you realized what you want and more importantly, what you deserve. Someone who loves you, will make you laugh, and truly is that person that you believe him to be. And I love that you see him more clearly since it’s the niggly little bits of hope that can cause hurt in our own hearts–sometimes reality is a blessing. HUGS. (And I love that you had 2 great dates over the weekend! But please, try the aquarium and funny talk again. I’m dying to see how that goes!)

  10. Law Momma
    July 17th, 2012 @ 2:16 pm

    That was the big deal for me… realizing that what I wanted was THAT person… the person he only was for one brief second on one brief date. And I deserve THAT guy.

  11. Kimberly
    July 17th, 2012 @ 10:02 pm

    I’ve read this a few times today. Thank you for giving me so much to think about. We have so many similarities- our first real date was out for pizza too. Congrats on letting him go.

  12. Carrie
    July 18th, 2012 @ 2:20 pm

    You have an ability to put into words things I never could. Thank you for sharing, it really does bring comfort to me and I’m sure others. It’s a tough thing, realizing that someone can change for worse and actually accepting that fact.

  13. E
    July 18th, 2012 @ 6:08 pm

    I’m happy for you and your progress, and your acceptance that this is a journey that has just begun.

    I’m sad for my gender, sometimes, though, for being a bit clueless, and able to be pushed back into the crowd like we are. When will we learn? When will it get better for us?

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    Spilled Milk (and Other Atrocities) by Law Momma is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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