...and what I learned from it.
March 2007 - May 2007: Black Luke and I (see previous blog entry) were happy, and life was pretty good. Of course, I still had a lot of issues surrounding the end of my marriage, and difficulties with the kids' acceptance of it (which, being a child of divorce myself, was the hardest thing for me to deal with), but Black Luke was supportive and I knew he would help get me through the hard time I was having.
We welcomed Easter 2007 together with great anticipation. Black Luke, still fascinated with my Christianity (something I never wanted to discourage in him, since it did niggle at the back of my mind that he was not a Christian, and I knew that I wanted that in a partner - I suppose I hoped that his fascination would lead to his own epiphany), had never seen Jesus Christ Superstar, and it was something that he really wanted to do. We loaded up on snacks, hunted down the movie (which was surprisingly difficult to do; this was in the days before Netflix and YouTube ruled and we had to phone Blockbuster, Rogers Video and Pic a Flic before finally finding it at a tiny obscure video rental kiosk called Gorge Video Station) and settled in for an enjoyable evening.
It was not in the cards for us that night. Our evening's entertainment was ruined by an appearance of that nasty little bug we call Crumbs.
You see, although I had wrapped up my relationship with Crumbs and moved on, he had heard through the grapevine that I was seeing someone new, and he was not happy. My phone began ringing incessantly, with Crumbs on the other end alternately crying, yelling or begging me to see him and speak with him. He wanted to know Black Luke's name, how I knew him, where he lived...everything. I told him several times that it wasn't his business, and hung up, but he kept calling back.
Add to this the fact that Black Luke - who had ended a lengthy relationship only a few weeks prior to meeting me - had also told his former girlfriend that he was seeing someone new, and was fielding curious phone calls of his own from her, and it made for a night full of disruptions. Neither one of us was nasty enough to want to treat these people badly, but when it became apparent that no amount of soothing or firm words would do, we turned our cell phones off and breathed a sigh of relief as we turned back to our movie.
Less than half an hour later, there was a knock on the door.
I peeked out the window to see Crumbs standing on my doorstep, looking desolate and skinny, his cocaine and alcohol habit combined with his preexisting medical issues having reduced him to only half the size he had been when I first met him. Refusing to let him in, we tried to ignore the fact that he was standing outside, banging repeatedly on the door, calling out that he was going to stay on the doorstep until I would see him, and finally - when we said we would call the police if he didn't get off the property - retreating to his SUV, where he spent the night in the cab (he did actually come knocking on my window to ask for a pillow, if you can believe that). Black Luke stayed all night, stressed and exhausted, to make sure that Crumbs wouldn`t do anything to hurt me or upset me more. When morning came, Crumbs and his (pillowless) SUV were gone.
It was a huge stress on our relationship that Crumbs appeared to be stalking me. Nevertheless, I believed that Black Luke and I were strong enough to get through it, and I knew that Crumbs would give up after some effort (persistence was never his strong suit, except in the stock market). So I was surprised and concerned when, after seven weeks of back-and-forth texting, calling and emailing, one day the phone was strangely silent.
Black Luke didn't get in touch for a full day. When I finally reached him on the phone, he sounded uncharacteristically subdued. "Hey," I smiled, trying to keep my tone light, "are you avoiding me?" I fully expected that he would laugh and tell me how he'd been so busy at work, or that his dad had bugged him to come help clean up his yard, or that he'd been working on his VW ("the station wagon of my dreams!" he'd called it). I craved his reassurance and it didn't really occur to me that I wouldn't get it.
But all he said was, "Yes." And it hit me like a ton of bricks.
"Why?" I managed to choke out.
He was silent for a moment. I sat listening, my heart beating like crazy, until he finally said the words I hadn't even known I knew were coming. "I can't do this."
It felt like the end of my world. "But...I love you," was the only thing I could think of to say.
"I know," he said. "I love you too."
I think I screamed at him over the phone at that point. I'm pretty sure I was overwhelmed by desolation and heartbreak and surprise and shock. The only thing that was pounding through me was why...why...why...As far as I was concerned, if two people loved each other, they had it in the bag. Any external problems could be worked through.
Black Luke didn't see it that way. He came over that afternoon and we sat on the couch and talked. I still remember the T-shirt he was wearing, and remember staring at his face hungrily, willing myself to memorize every little detail. I sat there in silence as he explained that he wasn't ready for the dedication of helping raise three children, didn't feel able to help me in all the difficult things I was going through - including Crumbs' stalking and the end of my marriage - and how his love for me made him feel that he should be able to be there for me and support me. It broke his heart that he wasn't strong enough to have a family, he knew that it was going to be hard, but that the best thing for us both would be to move on. When I begged him to stay in my life, even just as a friend, he shook his head and suggested that a clean break would be better for both of us. Even back then, in that cloudy haze of pain, I knew that he was right; if he really wasn't able to dedicate himself to our relationship, it didn't make sense to hang in there and pretend we were just friends. I admired and respected him for being able to recognize what he was and wasn't able to give to the relationship at that point in his life...but it hurt. Oh, how it hurt.
What I learned: My relationship with Black Luke had nothing but positive effects on me. Although, at seven weeks long, it was my shortest relationship, it was also the one that had the biggest impact on me. Two short blog posts can't possible do justice to the enormity of the feelings I had for him, nor fully explain his reasons for not being able to continue with the relationship, nor show how much those seven short weeks affected both of us. He made me feel like I could do anything, like I wanted to be the best me I could be, like I was wonderful just by being myself. I never wore a "mask" when we were together; he loved me just the way I was. I learned that I am worthy of being loved, and that I am capable of loving so deeply that what the other person needs becomes the most important thing to you. I learned that being yourself is always the best way to be. I learned that just because you love someone, it doesn't mean that everything will automatically work out like in fairytales, even if you feel like you are living a fairytale. I learned that sometimes loving means letting go. And I learned that you should never, ever settle for less than what you are worth, in a relationship or otherwise.
With affection always for Black Luke, the man who helped me see my worth,