Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Time Set Aside

For a long time, I was foolish enough to think that expressing love for someone (romantic or not) meant that I had to sacrifice a part of myself.  I thought it meant losing my independence and I held on, tightly, to that notion, refusing to let go, fiercely protecting myself from that loss.

Eight years ago, I stood on the rooftop of a friend's apartment building, a few of us lingering above a house party bustling below, and I fell into easy conversation with a fellow graduate student.  Numbers were not exchanged but he found me anyway and a few weeks later we went to dinner in the North End of Boston.  I had the advantage of being completely disinterested in the entire ordeal.  In my mind, I was already in New York City, where I would be moving in a few weeks anyway.

And so, it came as a surprise, years later, when we found ourselves in the same city once again, reconnected with the aid of a since defunct social network, Friendster (Yes. Friendster.)  We shared a few meals over the course of a few months.  And in October, the weekend of my birthday, I went off to Savannah, Georgia with a few girlfriends, shrugging my shoulders when my friend Lynn asked about 'the boy', because I was, yet again and as always, disinterested in the entire ordeal.

My entire birthday passed without so much as a word from him.  And standing over a beer in the dusty glow of a Savannah bar, I said, 'Tyler did not call me on my birthday.'

And Lynn said, 'I thought you didn't care.'

I was stubborn. As usual. 'I don't.' 

I always tell Tyler, had he wished me a Happy Birthday that day, we would not be together.  Expressing that would have been far too much for a girl afraid to let go. 

And so, on Valentine's Day, a day to express love, I think about what it really means.  It is twenty-four hours.  A true gift of time and space to say the one thing that may seem mandatory but is truly not.

I am grateful, every day, for the irony of years spent apart.  For Tyler's silence that day.  For time set aside that allowed me to express what I was too frightened to know.


  1. I completely understand - one of the reasons my hubby and I work so well is that we both let the other be ultra independent. He knows I need to sometimes shut myself up in my office for days to write and I don't mind when he plays his guitar at top volume (the neighbors on the other hand...hah). Happy V-Day to you and Tyler!

  2. I think true love is seeing someone as they really are and loving them for who they are. That kind of love is empowering :) Happy V-Day!

  3. Love the story! I was ambivalent when I met my hubs, so perhaps that's why we clicked so well. I wasn't looking for anything and it found me.

  4. Holy crap... that first paragraph? SO ME. Until recently, thank goodness. It's still a battle but I'm learning and thankfully my boy is helping me through it in the best way. I'm so glad you wrote that, because for a long time I thought I just had "relationship crazies."

  5. What a great story. I love how everyone has such a different road to love.