Knowing that Valentine's Day is approaching and knowing that I am most likely to spend it alone, makes me prone to nightmares, visions, and hauntings of all sorts. This is one more occasion, after my birthday and New Year's Eve, that reminds me, year after year, of how strictly single I am, how picky I can get, and how stubborn I am known to be. So in my waking hours I am happy, fulfilled, and thankful to be single than to have been with a wrong someone, but when I go to sleep my defenses go to sleep too, and ghosts take over. Memories come back to life, the fine line between dreams and realities dissolves, fact and fiction unite, and what I tend to deny while I am awake looks me straight in the eye in my sleep.
Last night, as I dozed off, I found myself walking in a nice cemetery on a cool winter morning. I passed by the tombstones and read their pretty engravings one by one; O.T. (May 87 – June 95), H.M. (December – June 96), K.A. (July 96 – May 00), S.S. (One week in August 99), T.R. (One week in September 99), S.G. (A few days in November 99), M.G. (Two weeks in May 00), M.B. (August 00), K.S. (September – December 02), R.A. (The benchmark for all times), K.Z. (September 04), and, last but not least, O.F. (April-June 05 … and still dragging). There were comments beneath the dates that ranged from "may he rot in hell", "what on earth was I thinking?", and "puppy love" to "silly me", "will miss you", "good riddance", "what goes around comes around", and "could have been love … but I lost it somehow".
As I read the comments, it seemed as though "the deceased" were coming back to life, one by one, and were talking to me. The hissing of the faint voices was a mixture of curses, blame, apologies, and scattered phrases: "arrogant", "I am sorry", "control freak", "forgive me", "na?ve", "who the hell do you think you are?", "please stop", "not my type anyway", "hasty", "nasty", "you've had your revenge", "bitch", and many other things that I could not make out as their voices grew louder. They were angry at me just as much as I was angry at them. I was haunting them just as much as they were haunting me. Their words chased me as I ran for shelter, and finally I woke up in the warm comfort of my bed, next to my cats, who were looking at me with the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen.
My brain functions around the basic theory that everything happens for a reason and, now when I come to think of it, this nightmare is a sign; I need to make peace with my "late exes" if I intend to get a date on Valentine's Day. Great!! I have time … a month of peace-making will definitely do the trick. All those years, I have been fostering bad karmas, hostility, anger, and vengeance. Today, right now, with my typical resolute attitude, I am deciding to let go … I will set them free so I can be free! Where do I start? I think I owe some of them an apology … not a bad start! I will write a note whereby I apologize to those I wronged; it is a collective apology for all my misdemeanors.
Someone once told me that a stiff apology is a second insult and I honestly believe that I mastered the art of stiff apologies and continuous insults. It was OK and I did not mind until I realized that I lost a good worthy man like your gracious self. No one tricked me but my stupid blind ego; I hurt you then I ignored it; I insulted you then I dropped it; you starred in my articles then I banished you; I heard you but I never really listened; I demanded acceptance but I never accepted you; I wanted space yet I denied you your space; I stepped allover your manhood in an attempt to prove my strength; I was always right and you were always wrong; I was stubborn and now I am sorry!
Yes, that is the word that was stuck in my throat! My mood swings, constipated face, and misplaced left eyebrow left me looking like I just swallowed a cactus. I wronged you royally but I was too self-centered to even notice it. Every time I tried to kiss the wound better I rubbed salt in it. For fear of being rejected, I made sure I hurt you first. Since you have stepped aside, I had plenty of time to rewind the tape and pause at every mistake I made. Yes, I was obstinate! True, my relationships are power struggles! Right, I lack resilience! Correct, I was rude and insensitive! I just want you to know that I am just a scared little girl who wants to be loved; the turtle in me will never stick its little head and legs out of the shell unless she is warm and secure. Once again, I sincerely apologize. May you rest in peace!
Phew! I am glad that this is out of the way, it is also time to forgive … I did not know that forgiving is more difficult than apologizing! Let me just make one point clear: the deal was to forgive, I never said anything about forget! Yes, you hurt me, cheated on me, abused me, ignored me, insulted me, neglected my needs, crushed my ego, underestimated my brains, never saw my suffering, never heard my agony, took advantage of my innocence, manipulated my need to be held, placed your bets on my heart, damaged my soul, left me with scars that I will live with for the rest of my life, and finally you dumped me for no reason; yet I forgive you!
I nearly choked saying that! Remembering all the bad days, the tears, the lonely nights, and the holes in my heart made me want to take it back. I was about to change my mind that very moment and skip the forgiveness part of the deal. Then I remembered my last Valentine's Day, the one before, and the one before and the one 31 years ago … to me they were all the same … they were just another day. I sincerely want this one to be different so I have to break the curse … I have to forgive … let me have a second go at forgiveness! Breathe Jenny … exhale all that anger … and its ok to cry.
I remember clearly my first article … when I was hit by a bus … when you were slipping away … when I had no more strength to hold on to you … when I did not want to get out of bed … when I locked myself up away from inquisitive eyes and blabbering tongues … when nothing and no one would fill the dark void within … when memories hurt … when unfulfilled wishes and dreams hurt … when anger hurt … when a wounded ego of a girl who believed she should have been worshipped hurt … when I just wanted to die or to get hit by another bus! You said you are different and I believed you; you said you will never hurt me and I trusted you; you asked for the benefit of the doubt and you turned out to be just another bus; yet … I …. I …. I … forgive you! May you rest in peace!
A new slate; a fresh start; all the ashes I sprinkled in the air and I could see the wind taking them places far away … some souls I forgave and to others I apologized … I paid them all my due respects and I owe them all nothing … now their tormented voices are hushed … their hissing is gone … their spells are broken … the nightmare is over … they cannot hurt me again … their wrath shall not ruin another Valentine's Day! Even if I am still single at least I will be free!
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