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"Addictive Love Is...."
(Notes found in a drawer)
I was Swedish Death Cleaning my file cabinets the other day and came across a page I had written in 2003. An actual page, printed on actual paper, like we did in 2003. It might have been a pitch document for a script or a book. It might have been an inventory I was going to share with a sponsor. It might have been a journal entry, but I doubt that because I am hopeless at journaling, much to my chagrin.
Whatever it was, I share it with you now because it feels real and raw and you just might relate.
ADDICTIVE LOVE IS…
…curling up on the couch in fetal position, nauseous, because he didn’t call.
…a red haze misting over your eyeballs and the top of your head about to explode because he walks into the room.
…your heart lurching into your throat because you see a car the same make and model as his.
…looking at every girl in the room and imagining that he’s with her.
…getting an overwhelming feeling of calm simply imagining the hug, the kiss, the kind word.
…rehearsing phone conversations that never happened, letters never sent, over and over until perfect.
…re-reading emails until they’re memorized.
…tears welling up for no good reason.
Nothing tastes good - nothing tastes at all - except sugary sweets and salty snacks.
You can’t fall asleep, then can’t stay asleep... you wake up at 3am but don’t get out of bed until 9.
The bribes and the bait. Taking back the bribes and the bait.
The grief comes in waves.
These are men I have felt exactly this way about:
Ted, who was tall and dark and a diplomat’s son
Martin, who was short and grey and made cartoons
John, who was chubby and a rocket scientist
Pat, who was blonde and insane and wanted to act
Chuck, who was smart and sophisticated and a junkie
Bill, who was rangy and rich and an adventurer
Lonnie, who had black curls and lived in a group home
Pete, who played the guitar and was married to someone else
There was David from high school and Charles from college and a few Stevens and a Michael or three… I felt exactly the same way about each of them and they had nothing in common other than that feeling. That, and that I knew they wouldn’t stay.
The terror sets in waiting for them to leave. Knowing from the very beginning that this is someone who will leave, because otherwise it doesn’t work. Once, I reveled in that exquisite torture. Called it that aloud: “exquisite torture.” So numb, I suppose, that feeling anything was better than feeling nothing. This, at least, was intense enough for me to feel, like curry on a cold. But now it’s just torture. It’s quivering, all-consuming fear. Maybe not all-consuming. Like the grief, the fear comes in waves.
The writing trails off there. I imagine I was too unhappy to continue. It’s funny looking back now on the list of men — tall, short, thick, thin, fair, dark, smart, dumb, young, old, rich, poor — and I realize I never had a type in the classic sense. My type was “unavailable.” No wonder I was sad.
Well, it did all become a book in the end, which I suppose is the good news. And if you relate to those feeling, I commend you to it. It might help. Because the better news is this: I don’t feel like that any more. Ever. I mean, never say never but I think I don’t ever have to feel that way again. Because wanting to leave is no longer an attractive feature on a man, and I no longer find exquisite torture exquisite. Change happens.