Do you remember that Phil Collins song from the 80s, “Separate Lives”? Was it the 80s? Maybe it was the 90s, I get those two decades confused sometimes. Anyhow, it’s the one that goes:
You have no right to ask me how I feel
You have no right to speak to me so kind
We can’t go on just holding on to time
Now that we’re living separate lives
Remember? Well, I never quite understood why he said she had no right to ask how he felt. How can someone have no right to ask another how they’re feeling. It made no sense to me. Until this week, that is. This week I understood what he meant, oh I understood loud and clear.
You see, I still have some of Jason’s things in a bag, in the closet, in my apartment. When we broke up we had said that we would wait a few weeks and then get together to exchange things. Two weeks came and went and I was no where near being able to see him without completely falling apart. So I postponed it. His birthday was approaching and I was still dealing with what to do with his gift and at some point sent him a text which granted some email communication. But still no sign of me being ready to meet and exchange things.
During my trip to Chicago, in which I truly missed not being able to call him and tell him how it was going, I thought “if this whole job thing works out I need to be strong enough and see him, I can’t just leave and never see him again.” My dissertation defense was coming up a week after that trip, so I figured I’d wait until that was done. I wasn’t sure how I would feel by seeing him and I didn’t want to regress to the sadness at a time in which I just couldn’t afford to be at anything than my very best shape. So I told myself “once the dissertation is defended and done, I’ll deal with this and figure out what I want to do.”
The dissertation was defended successfully and all the corrections were done, so I figured now was a good time. I emailed and apologized for taking so long to get back to him with a date to meet and exchange things, but I wasn’t ready until now (or at least I thought I was) and proposed meeting. This was Sunday night. Monday afternoon I went down to get my mail and what did I find in the mail? A card from Jason.
In the card he congratulates me for the Dublin paper and trip, the new job and the dissertation defense. Apparently he has been keeping up with my life via Facebook. I guess it’s FB because he doesn’t have access to my blog. Anyway, he says he’s very happy for me and wishes me the best. He makes a remark about Chicago and how they have great pizza. I started to cry. I hadn’t cried in weeks.
You see the card was not any random card. It was a Guggenheim card. A place which reminds me of NY, a place which I love and in which I was last with him on my birthday. I cried. And now writing about it, I want to cry a little more, but I won’t.
Incredibly sad, I wrote him an email thanking him for the card and saying that I might not be as ready as I thought I was to see him, given that I was a complete mess just by reading the card. Maybe we should reconsider the whole thing. But then, not two hours after this email I started getting mad, very, very mad. And then it hit me, he has no right!
I was doing so well. I hadn’t cried in weeks. I missed him, but I could manage not to think about it too much and not let myself go *there*. And now, he just shows up, to say he’s happy for me and wishes me the best. He knows about my life and wants to let me know he cares, wants to let me know he knows. And now I’m a mess again, just because he needed to be nice. He had no right!
Phil, I get it now. It’s not that he can’t ask because I don’t want him to care or be nice to me, he has no right because when he left me he also lost the privilege to know about me, to be happy for me, to be there for me, to share my life. He has no right!
And this is where I lost it. The one thing my mom always warned me a lady should never lose. I lost my glamour and sent him an angry email and told him off. Yep, after he sent me a nice, sweet card, with well wishes and nothing but good intentions, I sent him an angry email telling him basically to let me be.
I don’t blame it on Phil. This was all on me. But I do understand now and I feel somewhat vindicated that others, before me, have felt this way too. Because really, he has no right. The thing is, I didn’t really need to tell him that. I can go through whatever I need to go through to get over this, but he doesn’t need to know. I should have just been happy that he was happy for me, thank him and let it go. I understood this a few hours after the angry email, while chilling with a glass of wine. Darn, I should have had that wine earlier!
Anyhow, he emailed saying he understood, he was sorry and didn’t mean to cause me any more pain. I wrote back to say I had impulsively sent those emails because of the sadness and the anger, and that I did appreciate the thought and gesture. And I reiterated that I do want to meet him and return his stuff.
So the meeting is impending in the horizon. I want it to be a happy meeting, a nice, calm closing chat. And hopefully it will be. I think I am in a better place now, but I guess we’ll see. We’ll see. For now, what I can say for sure is, I get it now, I know what Phil meant when he said “You have no right.”, because really when you leave someone and go, you just have no right.