I Don’t Regret Dating You. I’m Grateful for the Wound You Gave Me.

a drawing of a person with long red hair who is wearing a blue scarf, green coat, and pink boots. Behind them is a cloud that seems to be making a lot of wind.
Image by Annie Pilon / CC BY

Maybe it should have told me more than it did, that we liked the same band — but for completely different reasons.

He was attracted to the drama of their music. The dynamics, especially the highs. When he sang along, it was a form of emotional expression he couldn’t get anywhere else. A vessel for his unacceptable feelings.

For me, their music was a mix of passion and control. Their less-than-peaceful coexistence. I was in it for the war between these two opposites.

But he never heard their restraint. For him, it was all explosion. All highs, no lows.

And maybe that should have told me something.

*

I’m driving home from my girlfriend’s house when the song comes on.

I’d call it our song, but I suspect he wouldn’t agree. He was always choosing ones that symbolized people in his life. The first time we dated, he picked something over the top and cheesy to represent our relationship. A track with pounding boogie-woogie piano and a clarinet that sounded like it had just escaped from jail. All flash, no depth. But there was French at the end, and I do love French.

The second time he picked something dark and brooding that crawled its way from imperceptibility to fortissimo. Dour, tortured. A song creeping through the shadows like a ninja on some kind of revenge mission.

No, the one playing on the radio is a different song, one we swayed to when he put his arm around me at a live concert. It was the one moment that we liked the band for the same reason: Because we were part of the show.

Parallel Dimensions

“I’m not entirely convinced that you aren’t a clone of me sent from a parallel dimension.”

It was the first thing he ever said to me. And an observation he’d make from time to time: We were so similar. We were practically the same person.

But it never felt that way to me. Sure, I liked him. He could be so charming. Funny as Hell. But we were nowhere near the same.

I was always well aware of our differences.

We liked the same band but for different reasons.

Kink for him was about gratification and for me, vulnerability.

And perhaps most trying of all, we’d walk away from every conversation we had with completely different interpretations.

To hear him speak, we were perfectly in sync. But to me, we were living in two different worlds.

Maybe I’d misunderstood him in the first place. Maybe it wasn’t the clone part that was important but the fact that I lived in a parallel dimension. A place where gravity worked a completely different way. Where you needed poison to survive.

Grateful for the Wound You Gave Me

I pull into my driveway as the song is ending. There’s a dull ache in my ribs, on the lower right. I know it’s from thinking about him too long. I’ve been driving in a haze. Feeling too much without registering it, lost in my own thoughts.

There’s a wound there still. And it aches exquisitely.

I could be upset, but I’m not. Instead I smile.

When we dated before, I worried about this future I’m living in, the one where I’m his ex for a second time:

I don’t want to be your ex again. And it’s not the losing you that I fear.

It’s that I never want to show you my dark side. My claws. My petty nature.

I only want you to know me as you’ve seen me. Noble. Mature.

The girl who is a little too good to be true.

I want you to always know and remember me as virtuous. Patient.

The woman with love in her eyes.

Not as I am when I’m wounded.

If this does end, the worst part won’t be losing you. Not at all. The biggest shame of all will be that you lose me. Not only as I am but also the memory of me as I was.

He told me not to worry then. That we’d broken up before, and we’d done it well. We’d experienced the failure state, so why worry?

Looking back at that piece, we were both wrong. He changed his mind about me after the second breakup. Not right away but with a bit of time. Decided I’m someone he doesn’t want to stay in touch with. Totally his right. But not what either of us thought would happen.

And I was wrong, too, for thinking that we’d already weathered the worst case scenario. That would come later.

But we were right about something else, something larger: There was nothing to worry about because it didn’t matter if we walked away from each other wounded. Not to me anyway.

Because I’m grateful for the wound he gave me. It’s a special kind of hurt.

*

Books by Page Turner:

A Geek’s Guide to Unicorn Ranching

Poly Land: My Brutally Honest Adventures in Polyamory 

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