They say that in your adult relationships you are “mimicking” the relationships you witnessed when you were little. You learn how to be in a relationship basically by how your parents were in their relationship.
I am not sure if I believe that cock and bull, load of crap, psycho-babble or whatever it is you want to call it, but I guess if I did believe it, then I have moved forward into adulthood and into relationships with the belief that “Men ALWAYS Leave”.
And I am pretty sure that is what I thought when my sailor left.
Because after months of not hearing from him, no letter, no phone call, I went with the assumption that would make any Psych 101 college student proud and believed that he left, just left, never to turn around, never to think of me again.
He walked away without a second thought. Because that is what most men in my life have done since I was a little girl.
I mean it is the meaning of “textbook”.
My father left when I was little.
Then there was a very close friend of the family who became my surrogate father and he left.
And then there’s my stepfather who basically raised me and I haven’t heard from him since my mom and him divorced.
Now not all of these are in succession but when my sailor left I guess my innate response was that I was abandoned once again.
I did write to him.
Letter after letter after letter.
I can’t remember exactly what I said in each letter but I think there was a progression from: “Where are you?” to “I miss” to “Please let’s work this out” to “Fuck you!” over the course of many, many months.
And every trip to that empty mailbox increased the feelings of the latter.
And it hurt more than any other hurt I ever felt in my life.
I would call my mother on the phone everyday for months on end crying hysterically “Why!!” “How come…” “I can’t” “This hurts so much” “I want him back” “I want us back”…
And I kept going over everything in my head.
The house he bought. Re-enlisting. All pointing to me being a fool.
And there were other behaviors that raised red flags that I didn’t realize until I spent months listening to sound of my own tears and trying to figure out what happened.
And just like the hurt little girl that I used to be, all my feelings of insecurity and abandonment filled my being and I blamed myself. Feeling that there must be something intrinsically wrong with me that makes men leave.
But I did have the Theatre and I dived into school every day immersing myself in order to try to move past the pain. And I guess the funny thing is; acting school is probably the only place where not only do they allow you to express your feelings but they encourage it.
It truly was my life preserver at the time.
And after about 8 months and a lot of prodding from friends, I started going out.
I even had a date.
I started dating Stockbroker boy in an attempt to move forward.
The first time we were “together” I remember going home and crying. It felt as if I betrayed my sailor, even though I hadn’t heard from him, no letter, nothing.
Because he just left right?
Because men always leave.
And I was moving forward right?
I was moving on.
I mean really, I was never going to hear from him again and I had to face that right?
Well that is what everyone was telling me and in my head I knew they were right but my heart…my heart wasn’t ready and it was clear that my heart wasn’t ready since being with another man only brought me to tears.
But I covered up the pain. Put on a brave face and marched on because that is what I had to do whenever the men would leave.
That is what I did after my father left and so that is what I did after my sailor left.
And my brave face marched its way out to the mailbox in September of 1995, 9 months after my sailor had left and in the mailbox was 2 letters. 2 letters; one with a post mark from March and the other was from May.
And in those letters…
Well, let’s just say it was not what this little abandon girl had expected.
He was asking what was happening with us because he keeps writing and I am not responding.
He wrote that hadn’t heard from me in months and that he wanted to come see me on his leave in August to work it out.
It was now the middle of September.
So although he left, he actually did turn around. I just didn’t know it.
Somewhere, somehow our letters never reached each other.
I went to the post office and I asked: “Why did it take so long for me to get these letters?” and I was told that the postage was off by 1 penny.
The funny thing is (or should I say tragic); is in this day and age with emails and Facebook and always having constant contact this would have never happened.
In 1995 there wasn’t internet and emails. And for those geeks out there if one of you makes a comment: “The internet was in use in 1960 blah blah and people had email by 1970 whatever…” I am going to smack the dork right out of you (oh and by the way I absolutely adore geeks. I am a geek wanna be) because in reality, the internet and use of emails didn’t really become mainstream until late 1900s, early 2000s.
So in 1995, the post did us in.
1 penny…1 stinking, lousy, penny put an end to us.
As soon as I received those letters that September and realized that he didn’t just leave, I called his mother. I told her how I never got his letters until now. I told her to give him the message.
I started writing again but he had changed ships.
I called his brother. Left a message again. No response.
Now I don’t know if he ever got my messages. I will never know. But I have a sneaking suspicion that he did not.
But this time…yes this time…
I never did hear from him again.
And once again that little, abandoned girl inside of me became more acutely aware that Men ALWAYS Leave!