"Your head's like mine, like all our heads; big enough to contain every god and devil there ever was. Big enough to hold the weight of oceans and the turning stars. Whole universes fit in there! But what do we choose to keep in this miraculous cabinet? Little broken things, sad trinkets that we play with over and over. The world turns our key and we play the same little tune again and again and we think that tune's all we are.” ~ Grant Morrison, The Invisibles, Vol. 1: Say You Want a Revolution
Relationships do not just end at the exact moment of a break-up. Whether it is one person moving out, or whether there are words spoken between the parties signifying the end of the commitment, the real end of the relationship happens when you stop feeling for that person.
I did end our relationship when I found out. I was hurt, angry and devastated. But I was also forgiving. I was not ready to just let go of my dreams or my love for him. We were living together, and we were sharing a life together. I let my feelings for him, my love for him, override his acts of betrayal against me.
And with my progress towards forgiveness, I let him back into my thoughts, my heart, and my life. We were not together in the conventional sense of being in a relationship, but we were together in how I viewed him and how he was a main figure in my current life.
Over time, we had managed to maintain a very civil friendship. He was there for me whenever I needed anything, and similarly, I was there for him whenever he was in a bind. But underneath that friendship was a very strong desire to rekindle the love and the relationship that we once shared.
When he first moved out, I never took down any of the photos that I had of him that were displayed in various shelves around the house. Aside from his belongings that he took with him when he moved, I kept most everything in the house the way that they were while he was still living there. I even still slept on my side of the bed even though I now had the entire bed to myself to spread out. It was not intentional -- I mindlessly just kept things as they were -- maybe an unconscious desire to preserve the life that we had together before the betrayal.
I used to look at his pictures and feel surges of emotion, ranging from explosive anger, deep hurt, to gentle love. I had little trinkets, reminders of him, lurking everywhere in the house. There was the little neck pillow he bought from our trip to the Philippines together, the 9/11 memorial statue on the corner table that was his and was a reminder of the fallen World Trade Center Towers and the firefighters that held up the United States Flag amid the ruins, the ceramic of the iconic NYC coffee cup that he gave me, the paintings on the walls that he bought when we first moved in together... so many objects that tell stories of our life together.
Yesterday, I saw more reminders of him around the house. Unhappy reminders. I saw the chipped wooden blind that was damaged during one of our fights when he flung the car keys towards the window. I saw the dent in the bedroom door from when I slammed the door in his face, and he tried to push it open with his shoulder. I saw the folder of medical papers from when I was undergoing fertility treatments. Reminders of not so happy moments.
It was only just yesterday that I realized that my relationship with him is truly over. It is over because I no longer hold on to the good moments that we shared together, but instead can look back at it with a clear set of eyes and also see that life with him was far from perfect. In fact, if I look really closely, and if the walls could talk, the stories of bad times would outweigh the stories of good times.
This weekend, I will do some Spring cleaning and rearranging. It is time to reclaim my space.