When It Has to End – A Requiem in Portishead

*the real name of the person who this story is based on has been changed

There comes a time when things come to an end.  There is a season right?

But what happens when you want someone to remain in your life and they can’t?  There’s no fallout, no hard feelings, you don’t hate the person – maybe it’s the direct opposite of all of the above.  You’re in love, you’re happy, you want things to progress – but they can’t – they won’t.  What do you do?  How does it happen that a person, while still loving you has to walk away?  Is it fair? Of course not.  Will it happen? Possibly.

Tonight is a wonderful night for me to release this post.  Mostly because two years ago I was in the throws of a wonderful romance.
A matching worthy of a short film.  I promised all of you I would tell some of the stories behind most of the messages in this blog and today, that’s what I’m going to do.  This relationship, even in the fading embers taught me so much about myself.  I continue to think about him.  I am thankful for the time because it gave me a glimpse of what can be. What’s possible.

Tony* and I met through mutual friends.   After becoming friends with one of my co-workers and her husband they both felt her and I would be a perfect match.  They didn’t want to make anything official but he knew about me and I knew about him – before we met.  Late summer of 2010, Tony walked into my life.  We found ourselves debating but kindred at the various house parties our [mutual] friends gave.

When we first met,  I was out back grilling burgers.  I was smoky and perfumed.  I knew he’d be there that night so I was casual but cute.  It was a BBQ.  I was cooking.  It was a good combination.  He opened the door as if he knew he’d find me out there.   The exchange, albeit short was already fiery.   That night, I had expected him to at least ask for my number.  Nothing.  Not one fucking question to a phone number.  It took us several parties and debates for him to ask my girlfriend for my number.  Even then, she asked, “Tony, are you serious? Because she’s special.  And if you’re not – just leave her alone.”  He replied, “Just give me the number.”

I don’t think he was serious.  Or at least he didn’t think we’d turn into anything serious.  I’m well aware he didn’t intend to have any feelings for me.  Our first night became a long night and then turned into four months.  Four months of dinners, cooking, listening to records, me listening to him create soundsets and mixing, me singing in his studio, watching him fix his car, riding to thrift stores and auctions, having dinners in random places – along with these sweet nights and fragrant mornings spent on the porch.  Jazz and cooking breakfast together.  Laughing at the same things.  Calls at work [on my office phone] and laughing.  Long calls and me trying to get off work early to get to his house.  His house …..

Him and his house were home to me.  Like I’d never experienced.  Before we met, before we ever went out, my girlfriend told me that our respective houses – that is Tony* and I’s houses, were replicas of one another.   Until I saw it (on hour 12 of our first date) I would have never believed her.   But his artwork and the collection he had built took me back to another era.  We loved all of the same things.

A few days into our first date, he helped me move.  Not because I asked him, but because he just showed up with the beautiful green lantern (that’s what I’ll call his car).  He loaded it up in the ice and snow and helped me move all of the small items we could into my new apartment.  Let me also add, my new apartment was (and still is) a third floor walk-up.  He hauled up load after load. On the first night I was there, he called me to ask if I was ok and felt safe.  I hadn’t seen that in so long.  Not like him.  The next night he was over my house putting the bed together and helping me rearrange the heavy items.  Again, where does this happen?

Even when I started this blog, I had a list of about 50 names written down.  There was one close to this name and instead he gave it the From that we see today.  I remembered him saying “Because you’re giving something to people Rae. It’s from you.  That’s what you do.”  And with that – it was From Rae with Love.   He paints, he mixes music, he sings, entrepreneurial, eclectic, could repair and create anything, could talk about anything and knew just how to touch me.  I don’t know if it gets any better than the space we shared.

I cooked in his kitchen.  We made the bed together.  We were at Sam’s together.  The junk yard.  Listen – on top of this man being fine as all get out, I found myself with him on a random Sunday at a junk yard pulling out seats – out of a BMW – and then I watched him pull the defective one from his car and replace it with the new one.

I was in love.

He told me stories of why and how he had landed where he was in DC.  Of a flourishing and then failed business.  Brilliant, talented, sexy and ambitious.  I was basically on top of the world.  Let me be honest – I have loved men in my time.  And it was good, but Tony* was just… different.  Like looking at myself in male form.  I’d never met a man like him.  And I loved him.

But in the midst of a misunderstanding of me leaving my bracelets at his home (he thought I left them on purpose – I didn’t and I am rarely if ever without them) everything began to unravel.  In one conversation, he was gone and I was left to try to put the pieces together as to what happened.  In some ways, I will never fully know.

I haven’t really been able to talk about this relationship on here because I held out hope for a while that things would reconcile, that they could reconcile.  That maybe he’d come to his senses and find his way back.  How is it that something is too perfect?  Until I met him, I hadn’t really experienced that sort of kindred love since I was in my early twenties.  In the blink of an eye, I found myself calling and calling more…. emailing and sending messages.  Trying to understand what happened after I had asked where are we going with this?

Mind you, I still think I shouldn’t have asked.  But I also learned in that instant that if I had to ask, I was already in trouble and doomed.   As much as I’m all about asking men out, etc and being ahead of the curve so speak, I’m traditional in many ways.  I found myself on a side of the coin I thought would never flip.

Losing him turned my world inside out.  The months that ensued after that were months of confusion.  My friends worried about me.  I worried about me.  I looked for him.  I still do some days.

We had a moment at the end of last summer and I sat on his porch behind the crepe myrtles.  There was this old church pew he’d managed to secure on the porch and it made for good sitting on warm nights.  I was at home.  I just wanted to stay.   But I knew it wouldn’t last but for a few minutes.  But in those minutes, the Universe aligned for me, sang and rocked me into a space of full contentment.  Of never wanting to leave.  But there wasn’t any choice.  It had been over – for more than a year.  Could we reconcile?   I mean anything was possible.  During a later conversation, I even offered to go to counseling with him.  You see, here’s one thing I’ve learned – if you love someone and you want something, you need to pull out all the stops. ALL OF THEM.  Do you hear me? Every.single.fucking.stop.  Like your life and your house and whatever that other thing is that you most value depends on it.  If you don’t?  You’ll never ever be able to rest and sleep with yourself.  Sometimes you have to fight for love.  Experiencing defeat isn’t actually defeat it’s just a temporary loss.  Even if you lose the person.  If nothing else, I’ve tried.

But the thing that gets me is every time I hear Portishead or Gil Scott Heron.   It never fails I’ll hear Portishead’s All Mine and all I can think of is him.  Mostly because we used to sit in his space and listen – to records upon records.  Laugh… watching movies and him teaching me about all of the things I had missed.

On a night like tonight, I think of him and I just want to call.  I want to run home.  I want to tell him what’s happened today because I know he’d understand if no one else did.  But I can’t.  And that’s the worst part of it all.  Not having a place to belong or to go home to.  Or realizing that you yourself may be the closest thing to home that you may ever see.   The thing is, I know there is more to everything that this…there is other love and there will be home.  In fact, tonight, I grieve at that fact – to get so close to something and not be able to have it (another blog post for later this year).  It’s just sometimes, you can’t help but remember that moment when something comes to an end.  You want to scream at yourself in that moment, before the moment that changes everything. Hindsight.  I didn’t want that relationship to end a few years ago.  But then we never do – do we?

I also realized that home is often a person and not a place.  I’ve know this fact for more than a decade now.  I often also realize it’s why so many of us wander around aimlessly.   We’re looking for a person, a great love – and not a place to settle.

Tonight, I’m wishing all of those who wander, in search of home (including myself) that you’ll find the place and the person where you truly belong.  I’ll be sure to let you know when I do.  My story is just beginning.