Chapter Twelve – The Way Back

by Christine Wild

I see myself as a misfit in the loner department. I like being alone. I travel best alone. I need time on my own to feel sane and compartmentalize my emotions, to hear myself think. Yet I am an extreme extrovert. I need people around me. I like to talk and laugh and dance and cry and drink. I love sleeping next to someone. It makes me feel that there is something in the universe stronger than me. I long for that feeling of unity, especially when it comes from the lonesome actions, like sleeping. That is the perfect combination of those two sides of me. They are difficult to mediate, specifically when I try to rationalize them. They usually coexist in me, taking turns in governing my actions and thoughts. This is why I have great friends and I would give them the world. I need them. They also know I need to be outside of the group at times. They know to let me live as the electron that depends and revolves around the centre, yet has a life of its own. They accept me as who I am, even though I sometimes have impulses to send them all to hell and run as far away as I can. They probably share that impulse towards me quite often.

Imagine the problem then when I like someone. Like truly, deeply, like them. I am torn between the need to be myself—that need for independence—and my love of love. I become addicted to the intensity of the feeling of being in love. I become another version of myself, the extrovert at its epitome. My heart then explodes into millions of sparkly pieces when I reach the state of perfect unity in lonesomeness. That state is however very fickle, and extremely difficult to achieve, because it involves two people being in perfect sync. When does that ever happen, you ask? And you are right to. Almost never. But sometimes, some wonderful times, the stars align and nothing compares. The rest of my life I spend longing for those moments, those feelings, bargaining solitude and suffocating togetherness. Most of the time I choose to be alone in crowded rooms. That is the red thread of my life.

As always however, bargaining with yourself is highly unpleasant. It is compromising your gut feeling, feeling sorry for yourself and painting extraordinary pictures that are but faintly based in reality, all at the same time. People are happiest when they face who they truly are as a person and stop bargaining. When you are truly honest with yourself, nothing can touch you—except for that which is stronger, greater than you. As I was sitting on the patio in Croatia, drinking and dwelling in my heartbreak, I felt unworthy. I felt that something, the Gods or the stars had sent me a sign that I did not deserve the good, the love that I had felt, so they pulled the rug from under me. And as my head collapsed onto the hard concrete, instead of caring for and soothing myself, my subconscious said think about what you did there, as if I had any influence on other people’s emotions. You can call it sudbina—I started writing this memoir. I started telling you my story. Maybe I was not unworthy of that relationship, maybe I was worthy of the words that needed to be written. It makes me laugh how shortsighted human beings are. Greater purpose is retroactive, when it is not sarcastic.

Yet here I am, in a much less romantic setting, with my coffee frapuccino and yet another cigarette, pondering the same question. Is the Inexplicable Man someone with a greater purpose in my life? His fickleness set me aback, but sprung me forward. He loved me. He loves me? Will I ever know? Can you trust someone who let you down and betrayed themselves? These are not rhetorical questions: they are real. I believe everyone deserves a second chance. I also believe people who give third chances just enjoy being shat on the head. That is their decision. Still second chances are tricky. Why would I give up on someone for a simple mistake, that they in fact needed to make to ensure it was indeed a mistake? Alright so I do not judge him for his actions, but can we ever go back? What happens when the desire for something big comes from something too small- someone too fickle? Is it ever too little, too late in matters of the heart? I cannot let myself be the kind of person that gives up on something potentially great because it might fail. I want to follow my gut feeling. The problem is, when I like someone, my addiction to the intensity, my addiction to butterflies usually takes the lead. And when the feeling has been compromised, the electron in me wants to keep spinning, never stops thinking.

I am giving him a second chance and as I do so, I am forced to reconsider the choices I have made up until now. And by forced I mean my fucked-up over-thinking-crazed brain is unable to stop itself. What made me, on one of my last days in Europe that summer, accept a breakfast invitation with the one man who had many years previous, also left me for his ex? I bumped into Damir* one night in my hometown and he insisted we catch up in the next couple of days. We had dated for a week a very long time ago. I never even had sex with him. We did however dance in deserted streets to music that existed only in our heads. We had held hands walking and exchanging the most magnificent words. He was a musician and a master of words. Not in the sense I think about words now, but in a poetic sense. His messages to me were art, quite simply. Unfortunately, he had that baggage that came back to get him. I only realized the parallels between my brief fling with Damir and my situation with Mr. Inexplicable half way through breakfast. I burst out laughing in my head. Of course, I would choose to see this man, who I adore to this day, at the same time as contemplating forgiveness and second chances in my current dilemma. The irony was overwhelming.

I made a lot of strange choices that summer, while processing the heartbreak and the meanings of my life path up to that point. Many of the situations I found myself in were highly morally questionable, if not outright wrong. Self-defense, self-reassurance or identity building, or whatever it was. I regret none of them. I wanted more, and maybe I still do. It was me searching for that intensity, for that connection that was lost and I was missing. And now, the frappucino has become a glass of wine, and I am offered that connection back. Yes, it has been compromised; it is not the same. But isn’t that what I had been doing all along, compromising, bargaining? Oh well, this connection is honest; all cards are on the table. There might be too many, and I might not know which game to play, but it is our game. I have played excessive amounts of cards that were not even mine to begin with. It is time to start writing my own rules, in chalk, with question marks at the end, and a wet cloth always at hand. At least they will be mine, part of the story.