Cracking the nut

Today I am wearing my pale blue t-shirt inscribed with I love my pussy across the front, with an image of a sitting cat. It could use an iron, and I'll have to change it if and when I go out. It's clear outside, and after a few days of cooler weather it will be warm again.

I'm aware of having dreamt throughout the night. The dreams themselves have largely faded from me now after being clear upon waking up. I know the dreams in themselves appeared to have little relevance to my life as it is today, but they have had the unusual effect of clearing my mind of much that was cluttering it. Today things are much more straight-forward than in days past.

I sent an email to Paige the other day. For the last week or so I have felt unsettled. Much is happening lately, and a lot which remains uncertain looking forward. I've dealt with that day by day, but it has not been entirely satisfactory. Most mornings through this period I've woken with a sense of loss, or perhaps more accurately, the sense of something missing. I nibbled at the edges of this not knowing exactly what it was but feeling as if it was something to do with Paige.

On Monday I woke knowing what it was. I miss having someone to talk to as I used to with her. I have friends I share a lot with, and many of whom who would love me to open up to them completely. It's not as easy as that though. It's just not in me to be that way, no matter how beneficial I know it to be. It's something I've tried to change over the years, and I am much improved on what I was. Still it does not come naturally to me.

For some reason it was different with Paige. Looking back I can't help but think she sneaked under my guard. While my attention was elsewhere she closed with me; when I finally looked there she was by my side. I think she saw something in me she could relate to very strongly. For a woman who could be seen as hard to know she showed a lot of intent in getting close to me. For a long time I was distracted by other things. I was happy to find her there but thought little of it until much later. It was only too late that I understood what she had understood from the first: that we fit.

Our relationship had the same surreptitious quality to it. Looking back it seems we did everything together, and even then I had some idea that there was something more happening that I never bothered to follow-up. I was arrogant, freely admitted. Much of what we did was completely casual, but that was the charm of it. We were always there, both of us. Throughout the day we might chat on the phone 2-3 times, we'd chat online a similar number, or have one chat that went intermittently the whole day long. We would lunch more days than not, and catch up for an impromptu coffee out. She would visit me a couple of times daily, while I would occasionally pop in to see her. We caught the train together to and from work. Occasionally we would delay the trip home – I would tag along while she went shopping, showing this thing and that for my approval. We might have a glass of wine on those nights in one of the dinky little bars around town, and sometimes even decided on dinner. Friday nights without exception we spent together, either in a crowd or alone. Regardless, we were a pair.

Throughout all this we would each share whatever was happening in our lives. Over countless meals she told me much more of herself than I ever revealed to her, but I found myself opening up. If anything of note happened throughout the day the first person we'd speak to was the other – meet you downstairs for coffee. In this way every little bit of our lives was put on the table for the other to dissect and comment on.

One day I was feeling pretty blue. I remember Paige asking if I wanted to catch up for lunch, a pretty standard request. On this day I told her that I was bad company, might be better if we give it a miss. Let's go anyway, she said, and secretly glad I went along with her.

It was mid-winter, we went to a little restaurant in Flinders Lane called Journal. We sat by the window and ordered lunch, and while she looked at me I began to talk. What I said doesn't matter now, what matters is that I opened up completely. Me, the strong, cocksure man who always had an answer for everything revealed my vulnerable underbelly. I talked and talked, encouraged by her keen attention and occasional prompts. She was a good, sensitive listener, as if she understood everything and was more than sympathetic. She cared.

Back in the office I felt obliged to send a jokey message to her thanking her for listening to my grizzling. She replied immediately with a lovely email: Anytime H…. and I do mean
that… anytime you want to talk, vent, chat, laugh whatever just give me a
call or whatever…. it’s my pleasure.

I appreciated her response right away, but the significance of it only struck me much later.

About a week after this exchange it all ended abruptly, as I have described elsewhere. Only then did I truly realise that I had lost someone near and dear to me. And it was only a month or two later that I understood the full extent of what I lost. For years I had tried to be more open, to expose myself more fully to those closest to me. Somehow I had managed that with Paige. Not only had I found that person I could relate to without a second thought, I had briefly become the man I had aspired to be. Then it was taken from me. I had glimpse and then whoosh, gone.

It is the lack of this connection that has ached within me these last couple of weeks. I have needed an outlet from all that is going on, but there has been nothing for me. On Monday I connected the dots: I wanted what I had shared with Paige, right down to the casual intimacies exchanged throughout the day. That's what I needed, but it's what I didn't have.

It's important to note that while trust is essential for this, it is not enough by itself. You form a different relationship with every person you know. They each see a subtly different face. With few do you become more intimately connected, and fewer yet – for me anyway – do you actually feel able to expose yourself to. In the end it's something to do with chemistry I think, it is the combination of personal chemistry that forms that intimate bond, or not.

This sat in me for 24 hours. I felt helpless. I knew, but could do nothing. I had lost that thing. On Tuesday I sat down and began to write an email. I'll often do that for therapeutic reasons, writing all that I feel with never any intention of sending. On Tuesday I set out like that but within a few lines knew that I would send this.

I wrote a long email. I explained some of what has happened lately, and something of the process I have been going through. I touched on our parting, how bewildering it was, and then I wrote a few lines on the bitterness that later came between us. I didn't dwell on this, but I explained my side of it. I also admitted sorrow that I had not sought to understood how she felt or what she thought. It was all about me. Then I went on to write much as I have above, and to recap something of my feelings for her:

I liked
you Paige, I trusted and respected you, and I cared for you. You were
my friend, my confidante, my drinking buddy and my shoulder to cry on.
I thought that was the end of the story and would forever be. That's
something I something I should have protected, but from ignorance
failed to.

I concluded by saying I would love to have some part of that again: I want us to be friends.

I don't expect a response from her. It would be nice to claim back something of what we so mysteriously and abruptly lost – I still don't understand. I don't expect it though. It was good to put it out there though. It was good to represent myself to her. She can go on thinking whatever she likes of me, but this is the truth in black and white, take it or leave it, but there it is. I've made my voice heard.

In the same way I had to tell her what I feel. It's no good hiding your feelings under a rock. It is crippling to have things inside that remain forever unspoken. Let them out, give them wings and send them out into the world.

I feel better now having done this. And though I expect nothing from her, I have the feeling that these words might be good for Paige too.

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