Lightning Bolts Revisited

I sent flowers to a girl a lot of you know and plenty more of you have been curious about since I wrote about her shortly after we met for the first time. It’s pretty obvious I ended up caring about her deeply, although it really surprised me how many people invested themselves in the whole thing. Holiday reunions were peppered with questions and curiosity. I still get emails about that post, and in some ways it’s been tough to figure out how to share it all with people.

If you know her or if you simply read her last few blog posts, you’ll see the damage of her last relationship right on the surface and you’ll see a girl who didn’t deserve what happened to her…a girl trying to find whatever it is we find when our world gets torn apart and we’re left gasping for air.

You’ll see a gorgeous girl with a face-melting ability to write beautifully about her pain and confusion…a girl who falls asleep and wakes up with her heart beating so hard she can’t ignore it. A girl you want to sing about you.

I’ve struggled writing this post, mostly because I feel like I need to paint a picture we can both live with online, which is exactly how I said I’d never write. Fuck convention and forget what people want…write at the truth.

She had her world ripped away from her, and she’s just starting to surface with an idea as to how she might survive in a jungle she doesn’t recognize without him on her arm, without their projects as her projects, without someone who’s shaped her definition of true love.

It made her dangerous. We both knew it. I knew it. And I saw something in her that was worth the risk. I saw a goodness in her that I couldn’t and wouldn’t ignore. We talked all day and into the night, and for stretches that’s really all we had; I live here and she’s there. We agreed not to ask too much of it all, and to do our best to be open and honest and real…I still believe that’s the only way something meaningful emerges with a strong foundation.

And we had a pretty solid foundation, all things considered. We saw each other when we could, opened the lid on her pain and fears, sifted through my own fears and faults. She’s nothing if she’s not forthcoming, and she challenged me to be that way, which I want to be better at.

“You craft your thoughts…you say shit perfect. Stop doing that. Say it while you’re feeling it.”

There was the distance. The breakup. The room she asked for, to breathe and to grieve and to stand up without weights on her shoulders…it wasn’t easy to give her that but it was fair for her to ask. I gave her too much room at times, I think, and while she knows she did and said things that really hurt me, she did and said them from behind emotionally scarred walls. The distance made it all seem improbable, something I didn’t care about but also underestimated. Finding our foothold proved tough, aside from those moments when we were together in person and things were pretty great.

There were a lot of times when she wanted us to be an ‘us’.

I know that. She knows I felt that way too. In a different life, at a different time, that’s likely what I’d be blogging about right now.

In the end, though, things didn’t work out and when I last left Boulder I did so knowing it was time to actually walk away.

Walking away isn’t something I’m used to doing.

I operate from a deeply romantic stance on the world, maybe to a fault. Distance and circumstance seem to fade away in the face of an undefinable goodness that I like to think I have a decent sense for…a goodness I wait for instead of chasing it, and a goodness I don’t hesitate to chase when I feel it. It doesn’t happen often.

It saddens me, pulling my heart off the table and admitting some degree of failure. I’m sad about it, without question, but regret isn’t what I’m feeling. I’d have regretted not trying.

Things don’t always go your way, and in our case it really didn’t go the right way for either of us. I think we’re both bummed about it, and I still walk around with the adoration I had when I sent those flowers…adoration for a girl who’s going to make some lucky guy thank fucking unicorns that he’s got her attention. I still want her perch on the mountain, in front of all the women who look at her for inspiration, wings agape as she drops off the cliff and shows them how to fly.

So I stepped away when it was clear that was my only option.

I stepped away when the guy I’d promised I’d be to her, in order to remain the kind of guy who could actually be that guy to someone tomorrow, needed to be the guy who stepped away today.

How’s your heart, folks?

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