Usually, I am sort of excited to write a new post. I have an idea and am running with it. This time, I feel a bit naked and scared.
Because if I am truthful, I won't look so good. But, I feel the need to tell the story and if I come across as I fear, well...okay. I yam what I yam and all that shit.
Bing was toodling around on the piano this morning and it was such a lovely little piece that I sat down next to her and asked her what it was. She told me it was an old song, and a very sappy song by a man named Joshua Kadison.
"Wanna hear the words?" she asked.
I said sure. So, she played the piece and sang the song and when it ended, I said, "I hope he got the girl and I hope she stayed put."
"Me too," she said and paused. And then she said, "Because I think of it as my Maria song."
I half laughed but to be honest, felt uncomfortable too. It hit close to home. I think I said something to the tune of I have never in my life asked you to live in a trailer by the sea or called you from Vegas at 5 a.m.
"You're missing the point," she said. And then she didn't say anything for a long time and kept playing softly.
I started to get up and she brought me back down with an arm. So, I sat and waited. Uncomfortably, I admit. I had a feeling that she needed to get this out.
She ended up talking for a long time, but basically what she said was this:
I have been in love with you since I was eighteen and your dorm partner. You never gave me a second thought for years. We are talking YEARS. I was always the friend who quizzed you, half carried you home from parties, listened while you went on and on about how you thought so and so was so hot. I was the sidekick. I was the one you never considered kissing, but I was always watching you. I always got the feeling that somewhere inside you knew that but wouldn't go near it.
She was right. I did know it. And no, I didn't go near it.
Then I went back to New Orleans to go to grad school and you went to Creighton and then you met Cory and well, I knew that was that. You both came and visited me, remember? You couldn't keep your hands off of each other. Late one night, you told me that you were crazy in love with her. You moved in together, bought a house together. And I am the one you called at 2 in the morning seven years later to say that you didn't love her anymore and you were afraid to leave her, that she had threatened to kill herself.
Another truth. Bing is the only one I felt I could talk to about that. I trusted her completely.
And then, yeah...she tried to off herself and I am the one who moved to Omaha because you sounded half dead on the phone and I was worried. I was the one who moved in and became your roommate. I am the one who heard you come home from work and then stumble around getting drunk for hours because no matter what I said, you thought it was all your fault. And I am the one who hung tough and stayed the sidekick, the best friend, when you went through women (and a few men, I might add)like water for years. I was always the one who went to the parties with you, went to the movies with you, went grocery shopping with you, but never went to bed with you.
Let me add here that Bing also dated many other women. But, I always knew that they were time killers. She never seemed too deeply in love with any of them. I don't know what I would have done if she had gotten really serious with someone. Would that have woken me up? I will never know.
You never seriously hooked up with anyone, always kept from anything too serious. You said it was because you were a pot who hated lids. I would sit there and smile and shake my head and agree that you were definitely not inclined to commit, but never once, not ever once did you consider giving me a try.
That isn't really true. I did consider it, but figured I would only end up fucking things up, so never acted on it.
So, then you decide that it is time to be a mother and I figured that was a good time for me to move back south, but I couldn't leave you. I would decide to go and then you and I would sit up all night talking and I knew I'd never be able to leave you. That I would just be your fucking Joan Cusack sidekick forever if that was what you needed. And then...Liv. I loved her from the second I saw her. I knew that I could parent this kid with you. I think you knew it too and you also knew that being a single mom was a helluva lot tougher than you thought it would be. So, you finally let me in. Remember that night you told me? It was like a business proposal. You were about that romantic. And I leaped at it like that crumb was a banquet.
She did. She and I were "together" for not quite a year when Liv was a baby. And then I realized that I just couldn't do it anymore. I hated being part of a couple. I could see Bing was ready to sign on for life and I just didn't deserve that sort of love, not when I couldn't love back yet. So, I broke it off. She went back to Louisiana for a couple of years. The whole break up was remarkably polite. Or so I thought.
You broke my heart. I went for over a year with my hand on the phone every single night, wanting to call you. But, I never did. And then you made the first move and called me. Remember that? You called me at 7 at night and we talked until 7 in the morning. You talked me into being friends. I can't believe I settled for that, but I did.
She did. And I called her because I missed her. So much. But, I wanted to be clear that this was not a get-back-together thing. That we could only be friends. She seemed open to it, almost eager for it. I honestly had no idea then that she harbored feelings for me. She said she was dating someone casually and I thought to myself that this was good, she had gone on.
And then, well..I ended up moving back, didn't I? I came for Christmas and didn't want to leave. I knew then that this was my life, good or bad. That I wanted you and Liv no matter what and however I could get you. We bought that house and I moved in with you. Didn't sleep with you, didn't get to touch you though. I watched you get interested in other women and yeah, it was hard, but in some odd way, I was happy for you. I had reached the point where I just needed to know that you and Liv were cared for and happy. And then, you know....that night on the balcony.
The kiss. Ventura Highway playing. Her arms going around me. And me thinking that if I was going to go in this direction again, I better THE HELL not hurt her again.
And then suddenly there we were at this crossroads. Do we stay or go? I was ready for both. I didn't trust you. But something was very different this time. You had changed so much in those years apart. This time, if it wasn't all romantic and hot and something out of a dream that I had stuck in my head for years, but never thought would really happen. You asked me if we could try again and I said yes.
You screamed YES.
So, now...here we are. The happy couple. Except every now and then I see you feeling your oats and not wanting the lid and I get scared. So, yeah...this is my Maria song.
I put my arms around her. Told her that I was set in cement in our relationship. That I would never leave again. Never fuck up that badly or hurt her like that again. She has me. My heart belongs wholly and forever to her.
She said she believed me and then laughed ruefully and said, "Well....kind of."
Then Liv came in and we went to visit a sick aunt and the moment passed.
But, I have been thinking and looking inward all day. Why am I with Bing? Is it for Liv? For me? For both of us? I DO sometimes chafe at the bit. I am not good at being in a relationship, really. I can be aloof and elusive and impossible to reach. I worry sometimes about Bing, feel badly that she is stuck on me and with me.
But, the truth is that I am finally where I fit. It just took me a long time to reach this place. And it pains me that I hurt her so badly in the process. I will never hurt her again. I will stay put. Weather the storms. Batten down the hatch.
The only gift I can give her now is that my heart is finally hers. Well, as much as I am able to give it to anyone. I am very lucky that she thinks it is enough.
Thank you darling Bing. I love you. I really do. I'm just...not good at this dance. But, for you I will waltz. I promise. Every day. Not going anywhere. I promise.
This is the song that Bing was playing on the piano this morning.
It doesn't make me look all that good. But, it is truthful. And real.