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Time does this, the old hurts wane.


Princess Tabitha


July 9, 2024


Dear Jeff,


I dreamt about you. It’s been a long time.


You know how dreams are weird, well, some of it doesn’t make sense. I didn’t pick you up at the airport or anything, but somewhere we ran into each other, and I don’t think it was by accident. We knew we would be meeting. It was arranged. I think? It’s unlikely you’d just happen to be in Portland, and I’d run into you out and about. But you know, you just can’t question the whole premise of some of these dreams. You kind of have to go with it…


Anyway.


You didn’t say much. You didn’t say anything at all. You looked stunned, but not about being with me, just stunned in general. You looked around, dazed, like you didn’t know what to make of the world you found yourself in.


As per usual, I didn’t let anyone’s inability to express themselves stop me from being my usual effusive engaging self. I chatted at you, asked you questions — I tried to make them yes/no questions. You answered some of those. That went on for a bit. Then I woke up.


As I stumbled around getting my morning started, Tabitha following me into the kitchen, yelling for her breakfast. I wondered why you and I didn’t have any semblance of conversation (I mean the “you and I” I conjured in my dream).


“It’s because I don’t know him anymore,” I said out loud to Tabitha. The cats like it when I talk to them, so I always share what I’m thinking.


“But then, I never really knew him at all…” Tabitha looked at me and meowed impatiently for her salmon pate, instantly putting the things that are really important into proper perspective.


You don’t have a voice anymore, because I can’t remember your voice. And you have nothing to say to me anymore because, well, a lot of reasons. Mostly because we’re no longer linked in the cosmos, there’s no connection, not even a sliver.


Yes, I’ll send you a link to this post, but that’s mostly out of habit, and some vestige of a desire of wanting you to know what I think of you, how I feel about you. All of that is just so diminished, now. Mostly I want you to know what’s happening in my life. So, I send you links because I want to believe you still care enough to peek into my life every now and then. I imagine you do, I pretend in my mind that you do, but it doesn’t really matter.


There’s a “fuck you” aspect that persists, a need to prove to you I made it through and out and am continuing on with my life, because it was touch and go for so many years. Why it’s important you know I survived you is a mystery. You were never invested in my demise. Quite the opposite. Even after I told your wife, I sincerely doubt you hated me. I imagine you knew when you took up with me it would all come out in the end, that the affair would end badly, as all affairs do. Only a fool believes otherwise.


Maybe I send you links because I miss you. But judging from the poor conversationalist you were in my dream, I have no idea why. You’ve nothing to offer me any longer, you’ve no appeal. You’re not at all interesting, not anymore. It’s not that I don’t care, it’s that there is no draw.


A remote curiosity remains, which sends me to your wife’s Facebook page every six months or so. Your granddaughter is beautiful. I’m so happy you’re all so happy. I don’t even feel like I’m on the outside looking in any longer, that I missed the party, that I missed the life that was supposed to be mine. Oh my, that was so painful. But no, I didn’t miss the life that was supposed to be mine. I’m living the life that was supposed to be mine. This is it. I’m doing it. And by and large, quite satisfied to be doing it. In spite of some notable challenges, I’m pleased with this life.


Time does this, the old hurts wane. I wanted time to do its work, I hoped it would and I knew it would. Time lessens the pain, it blurs the memory. It was a short affair, so the blurring came quick. Well, it was slow, it seemed slow, it took a few years. But pretty quick just the same. Six years on, the pain is mostly gone. The memory of what it felt like to be “us” is mostly gone. Only snippets, only flashes remain of our conversations. And it’s the conversations I remember, interestingly, seldom the sex.


I still have all your emails, I still have all my writing from that time. But when I read it now, I remember more writing it, not living it. Sometimes, still, a clear memory will ambush me and elicit searing pain. And I suffer — perhaps for a few hours. And sometimes the dark falls over me for a day, even a few days. I fight the dark, but it’s not because of you. Mostly, all that pain of the affair, it’s all blunted now.


Time is such an incredible gift. Aging comes with time, but so does acceptance. So does resilience. So does wisdom. It’s well worth the tradeoff.


I Persevere. And life goes on.

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