I know what they say about you when I'm not around, and it's much more unkind than what they say when you are around, which is surprising, but I don't care. They don't know you like I do. They don't know what it's like to see that glint in your eye when you burst into inappropriate laughter after a bawdy joke or the current that flows from your hand to mine and the goosebumps that you leave behind when you pull away. They don't know how I smile when I see a movie on my shelf that we've watched together or I hear a song that I've sung softly in your ear as you fell asleep or just how big the hole in me is when you're not around, during all those times that you've left to go back to him or him or that other guy or whoever it is now that isn't me, whoever it is that is always nice to you and does the nice things that I do, like open the door and cook you dinner and tell you how beautiful you look (especially in the moonlight) but who doesn't do the things that I do, like the condescending tone I get in my voice when we talk about politics as if your disinterest indicated an incapability to understand or when you talk about some band that you love or a movie you love or something that makes you happy that I just shoot down in my pretension that I pretend I don't have and that I fight so hard to repel, but to no avail.
I hear your stories about the guys that came before and I don't know what to say. I'd like to say that I'm actually shocked when I hear the horrible way you've been treated, that I have no idea how someone could be so horrible to someone in whom there is so much good, so much love, but I know better. I pretend otherwise, but I know better.
Because I'm no better than they are.
I've done the kiss-the-girl-on-the-first-date-and-not-call-her-again thing. Twice. The act-like-you-like-a-girl-so-that-you-can-get-with-her-and-then-after-you're-
want-to-get-away-from-her thing? I could write a book on it. I've been mean and I've been hurtful and I've been vindictive and I've gone out of my way to make someone feel like shit and I've laughed at tears I'm responsible for and I've been a cold, cruel bastard.
And as much as I pride myself on being a "nice guy," I know, deep down (really, not that deep down) that it's all bullshit. I'm no better than they are. I'm not the kind soul that I so desperately try to be. But are any of us? I'm not questioning any kind of universal kindness in an attempt to justify my actions, because they, for the most part, cannot be justified. I'm simply wondering if I'm much different than they are.
Maybe it's because I had a quiet childhood of books and piano lessons instead of little league and halftime orange slices. Do I resent those kids that I watched having fun through the chain link fence while I was sidelined with a set of weak lungs? Am I still upset that my parents offered a car and tuition to my older brother that beat the shit out of me more than once and stole money from my dresser to buy drugs and gave me nothing more than bitterness?
Probably. I'd like to think that I'm above that, but I'll be the first to wave the bullshit flag. And when I drive around this town and I go to the music store and see three people I know and then I go to the other store and see two people I know and I go to the bookstore and see five people I know (one of whom I owe $5) and then I drive home and I count nine different residences, both current and former, of those that I have caused pain, I feel like dying. This down is crushing me with the guilt of my own actions.
And I know that this started off kind of sweet and nice, but I have a brimming anger within me that I know to be my own fault. All of my baggage, all of my neuroses, all of the issues that brought me to this place, are of my own doing.
And if I was cruel to you in the past, as I know I was, I hope you know that it keeps me up at night when I think about how kind you always were to me. Even if there were misunderstandings in the past, I'm sure a little bit of patience from me would have certainly stemmed the tide and resolved whatever situation had been created, but no. I was too impatient for that. I wanted things to be better now and I thought I was maintaining my entitled sense of pride that I deserved and was mine but all I was doing was pushing you away.
I realize that now. But it still makes me feel like shit. And I hope that makes you feel better.
And I don't mean that in a "Well, I HOPE you feel BETTER!" but in a very honest way. I hope that my misery really does make you feel better; I hope that you can see it from an angle of catharsis rather than an angle of kindness because I don't deserve your kindness. I don't deserve your care.
I'm sorry I'm such a mess.
I need to get out of this town.