How to summarize it? A rollercoaster that ends in a train wreck? Maybe not that bad.
My job involves traveling to the worst places on earth, war zones. There's some risk. Less than you would think, definitely less than my parents think, but some. Enough that when I go I give Roommate and Soulmate each a half of one of the passwords to my computer. Enough that when I go I make sure I've said everything I want to say.
Last year, before I went on mission, I had a conversation with Soulmate. I told her that through everything with Music, through everything with Voice, there was always a part of me that never got over her. She said she understood, but that wasn't the place she was in. When I was away, I thought of Music, and although I missed her intensely, I realized I didn't really want her in my life. When I came back, I saw Voice, and told her I did want her in my life, no matter what. And a little after that, we were in bed again.
This summer I went away again. I moved my stuff out of Voice's place. Management was coming back for a week and living with her. She was going to break up with him, she said, and would do it in person. I said okay, but if she didn't, we were not going to be together any more. Something she could no doubt take as an empty promise. I've been weak before.
One day, in a little villa where the foreigners live, I sent a text message halfway across the world, telling Voice I was thinking of her. She said, texts are not a good idea. She was sharing the phone with her real boyfriend.
It hit me then. I would never get what I wanted from her. It would always be like this. Secret. I would always wonder who else she was sleeping with. I would never be her man, for real.
When I got back, sure enough, she hadn't broken up with him, and when I followed through on what I said, she was shocked. She hadn't really believed me. We saw each other for lunch a few times, and then she went across the world to visit with him for a while.
These months without her, on mission and with her gone, have been clean. Lower highs, higher lows. Like an addict in recovery. Lucid. I make decisions, take actions, do things without everything making reference to her. Without fear of her disapproval or anger. This is how I want to live.
She came back. She's broken up with Management, she says. I don't believe her. It's not public. I don't want to go back to her. I saw her today, in a group of friends. We're all together, we're all friends, we're talking about projects and things we will be working on this year. The work that brought us together. And keeps us apart. Or maybe it's our choices that do that.
I miss her. But more than that I realize I miss things that I never had. Being able to hold her hand in public. Bring her home to meet my mom. Travel somewhere with her. Not too much to ask, I don't think. But things that I could spend my life waiting for. The memory of that, of these various indignities over these months, now years, may be enough to protect me from going back to her for another round. There's no reason I should live as a fugitive any more. But can we actually forge a friendship?