You introduced me to that term - the "French Goodbye": leaving the room, the party, the gathering, without letting anyone know. I thought it was charming, roguish - but is that essentially what you did to me?
I loved your razor-sharp edges, your poetry, your impeccable writing, your passion, your sensitivity, your darkness, your difference. You were a complex organism and I felt we had just begun to know each other, and I looked forward to the journey, and that's when you turned.
You cried when you heard of wars, you cried watching the Battle of Algiers, you would see a grave of a woman from 1923 and remark that her lover probably died during WW1 and how heartbreaking that was. Your father forced you to drown a litter of kittens when you were seven. You were South American and you told me you understood what it was like to be from a different culture, from a poorer world, just like me. You said you understood family values and what it means to be "ethnic". You shared all of these things with me. I thought you were letting me into a sacred space. I treasured it. I opened myself up and let you into my wounds, into the intimate corners, let you hook your talons into my psyche and my soul. I told you everything about me wide-eyed and trustingly, about my struggles with depression, about my struggles with my family as an iconoclast in the midst of a clan of conservative Muslims. Having been disappointed and damaged by the loss of a love five years ago, I was shocked and so happy that I felt the capacity to love and be loved again, that I could open up to someone again. You convinced me to go off my medications and told me you wanted to know the real me, you told me you would support me through the process. It was bad, the withdrawal, and you took care of me for awhile, and sometimes I still wonder if it was my fault. Interestingly, later you told me you were counting on my weakness because you didn't trust me with your heart. You were always afraid I would leave you in my strength, but when I opened up and showed you the vulnerability you scorned me, threw me away. Things still don't line up for me.
This man, who was so sensitive and brought to tears by abstractions, where was he when I begged, implored, for understanding, for compassion, for humanity, for respect? When I confronted you about the other woman you were courting while pushing and pulling me for four months after a year and half of seemingly complete devotion, you called me a bitch, you called me a c***, you clenched your fists, you didn't take your sunglasses off so i couldn't see your eyes, you said you wanted to hit me but that you wouldn't let ME Turn YOU into a bad person - where was that bleeding heart then? When even after this, I still couldn't believe that the compassionate kind man I thought I knew was in there, I came to your house a month later to talk to you, to find some iota of civility and kindness, you looked over my head, as If I didn't exist, and called the police on me. When I begged and pleaded, that all I wanted was some affirmation that any of it was real, that there was ever really any care, that he was not heartless, because it had shaken my belief in humanity to the core, I was met only by silence, silence, silence.
I guess I was luckier in some respects than other women who have dealt with narcs. You never took my money, you seemed to be honorable about that. You helped me with many things. You were just normal enough that it makes me doubt myself. How is it that a person who seemed so caring and invested could pull away so intensely? Your gaslighting drove me to attempt to take my life and then you didn't speak to me, until I said I understood it was over, and that's when you turned on the i love yous again, only to retract them that afternoon, to reavow them the next day, and answer in silence again later that evening.
You have convinced yourself, you, your co-dependent brother, and your circle of alcoholic musicians and friends, that I am crazy, toxic, a poison, someone that you should stay away from. But I know I am beautiful, unique, intelligent, compassionate, and kind. Some of your friends had even told me I was the best woman you had in your life, that they were shocked at you walking away, that after the string of former heroin addicts that you had dated, that I was completely different, probably one of the smartest and most attractive women that had ever set foot in your brother's bar. And yet, you unravelled me, you made me doubt myself. I was doing well again when I met you. More and more I wish I never had met you. For the first time in my life I have come close to wishing ill on a person. And even though others still tell me that I am a worthy person, you shook me to my core and I can't stop blaming myself. I wonder if you will be successful in your next relationship - was it me? I want to be strong enough to survive that.
I don't hate you. Although sometimes I wish I could. I loved you sincerely. I still do. But you treated me like an addiction, not like a living, breathing, dynamic human being to grow and evolve with. When you realized I was not just going to be your docile arm candy, when I was hesitant about all of the promises you were making, when you hated me for making you do that oh-so-awful thing of getting a job so that we could possibly have a future together, you threw me away. All of the things you loved about me - the fact that I'm from a different part of the world, that I am not-so-American, that I am educated and have a good job, all became things that you started degrading. You called me a rich girl, too European (I'm Asian and Arab, so that's pretty funny), too romanticizing, said my values were crap. Isn't it interesting that I've heard that the new woman you are pursuing is a French artist who was once engaged to an owner of Christie's and was raised by millionaire art dealers? How much more European and privileged can you get? At least I worked for what I have.
I haven't reached the point that many women here have, and I hope I do someday. I don't want to hate you or have anger towards you, although those are maybe stages one has to go through. But I'm just not built that way. My problems is perhaps that I am too forgiving. I want to not think about you. I want my own happiness. I don't want to wake up in the middle of the night with that searing pain, with every fiber of my being longing for someone who doesn't feel that way about me. I don't want to wonder about whether you are happy, whether you are thinking about me, whether you are feeding another woman papaya in the morning, whether you are listening to Satie with her on your phonograph on lazy afternoons. I don't want those memories anymore. These thoughts just hurt me. I wish I could be like you - when towards the end you said "f*** memories".
To be continued...