Conversations with Strangers and One Really Terrible Poem

I had a conversation with a stranger today. It began as a networking opportunity, and while I will likely never speak with this individual again, our conversation will stay with me for some time.

The correspondence began with pleasantries. I should pause here and clarify that while I have never met this person, he is a friend of my former paramour. I will refer to this individual as B.

Our conversation moved along with topics on work and job searching, but eventually, B asked about my relationship.

I was shocked to learn that B did not know about the split. “Oh, I’m sorry,” I replied. I thought he would have told you. We split up at New Years.”

B replied, “I am very sorry to hear about that.” And then B said something that I will not repeat here, but suffice it to say, it felt like a sucker punch.

There it was, in black and white, the very possible reality that I kept denying: he is still holding on to his past?

I had to ask myself a very hard question: was I fighting a losing battle with a ghost? Had I been in a competition that I had no real chance of ever winning?

As painful as this conversation was, it showed me that is it time for me to let go. Every day this past week I feel as though I have been walking around in a fog, wondering what direction my life should take. Every aspect of my existence, outside of friends and family, feels like it is limbo, and I need to choose a path.

Every day since I walked away, I have asked myself, “Should I have done that?” I thought I was too hasty. I thought about contacting him countless times. Asking him to talk, to go to counseling with me, to go on a date with me. I have even imagined how I would do it. What cute way I could reach out, something our future selves would smile and laugh about.

Enough. It is time to let that go. It is time to let him go. I don’t know what he is thinking, or the true reasons on why he wanted to separate.  I will never know if it is because of his past.  Whatever the reason is, the reality is that I will never be her. Our baby never would have been her child. Our house never would have been their house on the corner. I would have been the consolation prize. He would have been unhappy and resented our life.

He will always be wild. I will always be emotional. Was this a match made in one of Dante’s Circles of Hell?

I am giving myself one month to mourn. I have until the second week of February to feel the pain of my losses, and then it is time to pick up and move forward. If I don’t set a time limit, I fear I will wallow for far too long. I deserve to be happy. I deserve someone that wants to move forward.

We can stand still forever, continually staring at the past while regretting life decisions, or turning to look into an unknown future with terror.  Or, we can move forward. Come hell or high water, I will be damned if I am going to be stopped in moving forward.

In closing, I want to leave you, Dear Readers, with a re-imagining of Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken.” My sincerest apologies to Mr. Frost for bastardizing his work, and to my readers, for putting this awful, janky poem on the web.

Titled, “This is Bullshit.”

Two paths diverge in front of us

And we stand at the crossroads

Hand in hand

Looking like we just escaped an emotional Verdun.

“These crossroads are janky as fuck” I say.

I step forward, but you do not move.

I turn to you and ask

“Don’t you want to move forward with me?”

You just look at me, and then you look behind you

And I know, I know you long for places past

And not future dreams.

So I drop your hand

I touch your face one last time

You close your eyes

The whiskers are soft beneath my fingertips

But in my mind I’m actually punching you in the throat

For being such a stubborn ass.

(I know, I know

I’m emotional, equally as stubborn

And have a tendency to turn

molehills into mountains.)

I sigh audibly.

There is nothing left to do

But turn to pick a road.

I hesitate, but your eyes are unchanging

And so I begin to move forward

Shaking my head back and forth

Muttering “This is bullshit.”

I leave you at these janky fucked up crossroads

Because I can’t force you to choose a path

You obstinate, frustrating man.

And someday

Someday I hope it will have made all the difference.

I know, I know. So bad. If I had a license to write, it would be immediately revoked. Robert Frost is rolling around in his grave, muttering “that poem is bullshit.”

Until next time ~ B


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