For the Sake of the Game

25 Apr

Our first impressions were less than stellar, although I knew from the start I’d love her; I also knew she would never love me, but my belief that we’d meet somewhere in the middle was strong enough to propel me forward through four years of suspicion and cynicism, and the expected comparisons made in such situations. What I could never have foreseen was the revolving door that first brought her into my life and then swept her away while neither of us was actually looking.

She was brash and provocative. She craved attention so deeply that at first I believed she might be narcissistic; but as time passed, I saw she wasn’t, it was something else. We were doomed from the start as unspoken assumptions and judgments, unfair comparisons, and other frailties worked their way through the back roads of our psyches, pulling us in opposite directions, though I believe with all of my heart she wanted to find her way to a safe, shared space as badly I did.

I knew what I wanted, I wanted to teach; she wasn’t interested in learning. I wanted to talk but she covered her ears. I wanted to repair the tattered philosophy of self-destruction she wore like a breast plate against the world, but she was determined to keep it in place.

Ten years later, it’s easier to accept the truth, as painful as it is. It’s easy to say the words, I was wrong, but it is harder to sit with myself understanding that ten years ago, I looked a woman-child straight in the face, accusing her without speaking.

I was the nurse with a strong background in psychology, yet I failed to understand that she wanted to learn, that she wanted, also, to teach. I had forgotten that until a teacher acknowledges a student’s actual presence, nothing can be either taught or learned. I forgot the imperative of listening and failed to bring Zen energy into the center of the volcano; thus, it’s blast was devastating.

She appalled me with her survival skills; I was undone by her behavior. I was offended by her disrespect and rudeness, outspoken as I am. The union of a woman from the south and a Yankee steam pipefitter proved catalyst for trapped explosive air to burst from timeworn vaults of anger, resentment, and simmering sibling rivalry in a near fatal explosion of wills. When the matriarch of the loosely attached tribe drew a line in the sand, everyone, spare us, crossed over. Apparently, gloves were off.

Several years later, we submitted to gravity, falling southward like dead weight, waking, rubbing our eyes from the social and environmental changes that enveloped us in Southwest Texas heat. It wasn’t a single bomb that exploded in the years that followed, but more a series of eruptions that unintentionally helped us define ourselves, singly and communally. During those years, I found myself thinking more and more about the life we’d left behind; more specifically, the adult stepchild I’d never really known. So I followed her across social media fields like a birdwatcher on the trail of a magnificently rare species, hiding in anonymity without leaving an obvious trace.

I admire the gem I will never touch, never have the privilege of wearing. I admire it from afar. I’d reach out in conciliatory kindness if I believed no one would get hurt. But I remain in the company of a wounded man, deeply it seems, so deep everything inside shields the pain. And I am as fiercely protective of his feelings and dreams as I am in love with him.

In the end, if we’re honest, we can admit life is a lot like the game of Survivor; alliances are made and either kept or broken. Individuals silently plot routes for victory or escape. Everyone wants to live even if survival means we lose pieces of ourselves along the way. Choices are made. Promises are kept until ultimately they are broken for the sake of the game.

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10 Responses to “For the Sake of the Game”

  1. lavernjdewilde April 25, 2013 at 3:51 pm #

    Very nice, I can relate in many ways!!!!

    • ittymac April 25, 2013 at 8:46 pm #

      Conflict always defines; it just doesn’t always stay inside the lines we draw.. Again, thanks for your time. It means an awful lot to me!

    • ittymac April 26, 2013 at 10:31 am #

      It’s a wide spot in the road many travel, it seems. Again, Your blog is fascinating!

  2. losttaurus April 25, 2013 at 8:30 pm #

    Written with honesty.

    • ittymac April 25, 2013 at 8:44 pm #

      …and a pinch of melancholy, a bushel of love, and balls of steel!

  3. Archita May 4, 2013 at 10:55 am #

    You write so well … Im a lucky reader here 🙂

    • ittymac May 4, 2013 at 10:58 am #

      You are very kind. I really enjoy your writing style; it is the perfect companion for your graceful photography.

  4. witchyluck May 4, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

    truth. I recognize the animal….

    • ittymac May 4, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

      ..alive and well, contrary to general consensus… Thanks for visiting.

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