They left again.
As they always do. As they always have. It's a part of the life they've chosen, and all the pain and sorrow they feel at the leaving cannot change the essential truth: they leave me again and again and again, and I have felt that pain since I was a child.
Not just them, you see. Always there was the leaving, with me in tow, friendships made torn asunder and only sometimes fed fuel from time to time, rekindled in later years.
It made me angry. It makes me angry.
And I feel ashamed of that anger.
How can I be angry when their lives hold so much meaning? When they do so much good? How can I be angry when that life gave me a richness of experience that I value to this day? How can I be angry when I know that others have never had the depth of love I have been given since the day I was born, who have also been torn from friends and family, who have suffered tragedy of such dimension that my pain is dwarfed by theirs?
How dare I?
So guilt and shame is mixed with anger and sorrow, and the poison cocktail has soaked the crevices of my heart for three decades. I bandage the wounds but let them fester, ignoring the ache until they crack and bleed again.
I would not let myself fully love, for love means loss. Love means pain. And if everyone always leaves, than it must mean I am not worth staying for.
They always leave.
He bears many of the same wounds, though from different poisons. He too built the walls.
We dared each other to take the risk. And, gambling on the outcome, went all in.
I still panic about it. There are times when I want to reach out and pull back just a little of my Self, keep some in reserve, Just In Case. There are times when I can barely breathe with the momentary certainty that he will throw up his hands and shake his head and walk away.
I was angry this last weekend: they had left, and the anger I cannot admit was welling up into overreaction to everything and everyone else. He came to me, and I found that with him I could admit the truth, and with him I could weep, and he held me, and then he said the words that told me that he understood the deeper truth behind my fear and sorrow and anger and pain: I'm not going anywhere.
He's had to say it to me before. And I know he'll have to say it again. The fact that he even understands that need says so much about why I have allowed myself to love him as I have never loved anyone else--not just romantically, but at all. Some of those wounds are healing.
But not all.
The anger is still there, and it has washed me in darkness this whole week. I have been taking offense to the slightest things, feeling unintended insults from all directions, fighting back a shadowing of despair. Yesterday I had a moment when I had to remind myself, again, of his words. I'm not going anywhere.
Becoming part of this new Us, this larger Family that reaches beyond just me and him, is a terrifying thing at times. I'm choosing to take more people into that circle that involves risk and loss. I'm choosing to open up my heart to the possibility of pain.
Because they always leave.
Even when they don't want to.