Due to unfortunate obstructing events I did not have the rendezvous with Matt yesterday; it ended up being today instead. But that is okay, and now for the scathing expose which will really not be scathing or even exposing. Exposive? Now there’s a funny word.
I drove to the park we had agreed to meet at. I wandered down to the area I thought he would probably be in. After meandering through the paths, calling my grandparents about mowing their lawn, and meandering through the paths some more, I came out of the foliage and saw his car. I was about to text him and say “I see your car but not you” when I saw him sitting on a rock by the pond, though why any of that information was necessary I am not sure.
I strolled on down, with every single organ in my gut quaking in fear, from gallbladder to stomach, and said, as I approached, “Mind if I join you?”
And he of course said no, and I sat, and he said, “So, what did you want to say?”
And I took a deep breath and plunged in. “I wanted to apologize.”
This was at about one-thirty. Two and a half hours later somebody checked the time.
As seems to be the pattern with Matt, I didn’t get to say half of what I wanted to say. But I think among the plethora of things I was supposed to learn from this episode is that I do not need to say everything I want to say. Perhaps having a blog has led me to believe that every conversation I have needs to encompass every thought I have, and that is not technically true.
But anyway, I didn’t feel like I needed to say everything I thought. Maybe it’s the difference of my relationship with him. I still have things I would like to say, but they are not weighing on me anymore.
I apologized, and I explained why I thought I was so hateful over Twitter. We talked a little bit about why we got into a relationship, and both agreed that Hannah and Tanner collectively steamrolled us into it, and had a good laugh about that.
After that the conversation went just about everywhere else in the world. Here and there we talked a little bit more about our relationship (and about other people’s too) but not much. We just talked about everything. Shared a couple of puns. Were able to relate to each other in a way we hadn’t managed as a couple.
For the first time, talking to him, I felt natural. Like I was just being. Where when we broke up both of us pointed out that we didn’t feel comfortable being ourselves around the other, today I felt none of that pressure to be anybody else. It was natural, and comfortable. We talked about whatever came into our heads (well, more what came into his head than mine, but that was okay) and made each other laugh. I think we are better friends than lovers.
Anyway, we parted friends. I don’t know if we’ll ever see each other again. Like Tanner, he will probably just have to fade from my life. But I have managed not to annihilate him. I will remember him fondly. I have forgiven him. And if I run into him in the grocery store, I will be able to say without secretly glowering, “Oh hey! How are you?” and he will be able to say, “Oh hey! Awesome, thanks, and you?” without wanting to turn and run the other way. Presumably.
I remember saying to Derek or Hannah or Tanner or whoever I was talking to that I felt like he saw me the wrong way, like he would remember me in a negative light. And I completely understand that I rather encouraged that by being as hateful as I was, but it still bothered me. Hannah said that too, about Tanner. And while I cannot and should not bother to predict if Hannah and Tanner will bury their hatchets, I am satisfied that Matt does not remember me badly, that he does not have a wrong and distorted memory of me, of Red.
One of the things I said to him today when I got a word in edgewise, when we were talking about parents (and our respective parents could not be much more different), was that it’s a lot of pressure to be the center of someone’s universe. I think we both felt that way about each other. I was afraid that I wasn’t good enough to be the center of his universe; that’s why I held on so tight. He didn’t like the pressure of being the center of my universe, so he got out of there. It makes sense. So, as a couple, we cannot handle being the center of each other’s universes – but, as friends, we are content to orbit in each other’s solar systems. I got the intergalactic units of measure a little mixed up there but I think the idea is clear enough. Ed Sheeran sings, “Out of all these things I’ve done, I think I love you better now,” and I think that after everything, after all the butterflies and all the lovey-dovey and then all the hate, that we appreciate each other more now, as friends and as people, than we did before. Or at least I do. I can’t speak for him.
While I was dating him, I harbored a lot of illusions about how this was it, after one nasty, messy heartbreak and a long period of rather dreary singletonhood which also contained a couple rejections that I would finally be happy with someone quite wonderful. I figured that since he had come along my deal was sealed and I would forevermore be happy until we had to give each other up. I visualized writing poems, later on in the relationship when it would make more sense, that ended with the word, all on a line of its own, “Healing.” I wanted these poems to describe the fact that he was going to teach me how awesome love could be again. I had this entire unrealistic vision. It was more than a little ridiculous. He is human, and I should have let him be.
As it is, I will not write those poems about Matt, and I will certainly never plan on them again. Better to be surprised by that kind of thing. But I can write ridiculous forgiveness poems now, and end those with the word “Healing.” It’s not a fairytale, or even a romance, but it’s a happy ending.
I don’t know if I’ll ever speak to him again in my life, but it’s a lot nicer feeling of closure today than it was when I just gave up trying to argue with him, said, “Fine. Goodbye, Matt,” and walked across the street and threw my keys at my car in frustration. And none of the memories from our actual relationship are tinged with bitterness around the edges anymore. I can actually be glad that he was there for a while; I can, on reminiscenty days, remember all our special moments without cringing and thinking, “I dated that guy?!”; I can remember him fondly and be his friend. And he can, presumably, remember me fondly as well. As I said to Derek in a text when he asked how it went, “The relationship bad feelings are closed, yes. He is not evil, or the devil incarnate, or even a jerk. He is just Matt, and we are friends.”
So there is, after all, as much space in the lotus as there is in the whole world outside; enough room, it would seem, for Matt to be Matt, for Tanner to be Tanner, for Hannah to be Hannah, Derek to be Derek, and for everyone else I’ve ever loved to be who they are, as well. Open hands, open hearts, et cetera.
I tried entirely too hard to learn all this right after we broke up.
Like I mentioned, I didn’t get to say everything I wanted to say today. But, as I also mentioned, I don’t think I needed to say a lot of it. In his way, I think he understood what I was trying to say. And I need(ed) to understand that he understands things in his way and not in mine. Add that to the list of everything else I have learned from this episode of my life.
This is not the ending I expected when it began, nor is it the ending I expected when it ended. But it is a good one, and I am content with it. This is not the healing I was expecting to receive, or the lesson I was expecting to learn. But then again, life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. I have received a healing, learned a lesson, I did not know I needed. And that is probably a good thing, considering I might not have noticed it myself.
So, to sum up.
Things You Learn from Being in a Relationship with Matt Rueger and All the Ramifications Thereof:
-Not everybody operates the same way you do. Give them space to do this.
-It is okay to need people.
-What a hadron colander is.
-Love with open hands.
-Forgiving does not mean forgetting. Forgiving means not being angry about it anymore.
-You are more loved than you know, and you should really not forget that.
-Let go. Let it be what it is. And, perhaps more importantly, let them be who they are, too. I don’t know how many times you need to be told this to learn it, but there you go.
-Once again, forgive.
I was singing “Love Is All Around” in the shower this morning and there’s a line in there which goes, “You are Most Likely to Succeed,” as in, the high school yearbook superlative, and I got to thinking about that. If you are voted Most Likely to Succeed, does that mean that you are most likely to do something generally considered successful? Or can it also mean that you are most likely to find success in what you do?
I have found a success, of sorts, in my life-encounter with Matt Rueger, and that is the important thing. Good can come from bad. That may not make me wise, but oh, it makes me glad. (Beauty and the Beast Broadway, final number “A Change in Me,” if you’re wondering. I knew that line meant something.)
Anyway, blessings out of hardships and all of that junk. Don’t do what other people find successful, find the success in what you do.
And lastly, as Shannon Hale wrote, “Thank you is nicer than goodbye, anyway.” It leaves open the possibility that you might see them again, but you are grateful for your time with them.
So thank you, Matt.