Two years in, after Joyce’s wedding, I flew into a rage that you didn’t want to hear how difficult it is to become vegan almost overnight. You had looked me in the eye and told me you couldn’t marry someone who believed that slaughtering animals (cattle, goats, what have you) for food was okay. I tried to explain my need for red meat (I’m anemic and horribly so, once a month) and how for others the case may be the same. There was a major financial element, too; hundreds of farmers and their families rely on flocks and herds for a livelihood. I couldn’t get through to you that becoming vegan was much harder without transitioning through a vegetarian phase first and the more you pressed me for a black and white answer, the more incensed I became. You wanted me on board immediately and I resisted because I grew up with some hardcore Buddhists and been subjected to their dietary needs: not easy. When you came to the part of being unable to marry and have children with a meat eater (I’m paraphrasing here), I reached the end of my patience and I told you, if you really felt that way, then we didn’t belong together. We walked out towards our hotel room, rather, I stormed to it and my things. As I packed my things, you reminded me that it’s wrong to leave in the middle of a fight and that you were staying and I should, too. Totally hated when you’re right and I stopped.
When you got into bed, I wasn’t ready yet to be touched. When I saw you turn over, I didn’t want us going to sleep mad at one another. I forget now, the things we said, but I remember needing to take away some of your hurt. Did I tell you how I’d try for your sake (that word is read as the Japanese would say it everytime I type it)? And I did try. And when you turned over, I didn’t have any more words and I didn’t know what to say so I tried to say it with touch. To scratch and massage that I understood where you were coming from and where you wanted to go but lacking the words that would have asked how much of my individuality I have to give up to show I support you, if any of my gestures meant enough to you to stop the ultimatums, if you could love me for me and not as an extension of you and whether you believed me when I said I’d always have your back and never use your trust against you because I truly did have your back? It was a large undertaking to be your all. Why couldn’t you return the same to me.
The next morning, *you* were the one preparing the breakfast in bed. I was caught off guard since I liked doing that for you but I loved it and you nonetheless. I told you I was glad you asked me to stay because I would have regretted leaving angry and things unresolved/unsaid. We were both pretty raw but at least you didn’t give up and I didn’t just walk away. That was four years ago.
It’s impossible to love and need someone and to promise marriage one week and renege completely the next. It’s pathological to play with someone like that. Even if it’s a defense mechanism, it’s wrong because of the manipulative quality, to deliberately make someone feel bad, to keep them on edge for the next round of pain. You don’t use people until you feel like you’ve gotten all you can get (support, camaraderie, whatever): that’s the type of attitude just asking for karma. Maybe if you leave enough loose ends, you’ll have enough to hang yourself with, won’t you. Maybe if I worked on remembering all your worst qualities I could forget. Maybe if I were more callous I wouldn’t be waiting to hear your voice, to breathe you in again. Maybe if I weren’t the type to readily forgive and maybe if you could have been the same. Just maybe, if someone believed…