Well, now I know how it feels. Now when I look at happy couples I wonder, will they know this feeling?
In a word, yes. They tend to stop being so happy after that. Obviously, I know this because I used to be half of one of those obnoxiously cute and lovey-dovey couples that you want to toss a molotov cocktail at that was destroyed by the distrust that inevitably follows infidelity. I probably should have seen it coming from miles away. When someone says something like that, it's typically followed by some angsty statement to the effect of "whenever I get a little bit of happiness, God comes and takes it away from me! I should have known, waaaaah!"
I will admit that this was my initial reaction. Hey, you're a lanky teenager who's found true love for the first time; it's a fairly natural reaction. But looking back at it all now, the reason I should have forseen this eventuality is a simple one: you see, I was dating a nymphomaniac.
Generally speaking, this is a 17 year old male's dream. It was mine at that age. Hell, it's every male's dream at some point. After all, what overly horny guy doesn't want to get some of that hellacious lovin'? I'm talking about marathon sessions that last for hours at a time. I'm talking about spending two or three class periods in the backseat of a Honda. Every day. I'm talking about sex in a dressing room at Dillards. Sure, it's fun. But let me explain the mechanics of this to you: there is, in fact, a point at which you just have to say "babe, I'm exhausted." She will not like this. Here's what our good friend the Dictionary says about nymphomania:
A disorder in which a woman exhibits extreme or obsessive desire for sexual stimulation or gratification.*
What will she do if you've left her unfulfilled? You guessed it: she'll look somewhere else. If there had been absolutely no emotional component, I guess I'd have felt a little miffed and perhaps a little deprived, but not crushed. As it was, however, there was a very significant emotional component involved and it left me devastated. Utterly ruined. I'd had girlfriends before, certainly, but none that I cared about to such a degree and none that I happened to be...yecch...in love with. This was my first really serious relationship. By that, I mean it was the first one that I took seriously. We'd been dating for a while and we had often talked about The Future. We were two of a kind; I understood her in ways that nobody else did and vice versa. Though we're not what you might call exceptionally close now (and by that I mean I haven't spoken to her for more than a year), to this day she has no problem telling people that I saved her life. Even as I write this, I admit that I feel a little wistful and I know that I've lost something that can never be recaptured.
It started when school let out for the summer that year. We had been very happy up until that point and we had looked forward to spending the next few months together. Our plans were dealt a serious blow when her mother informed her that she would be getting a job or she would be moving out. I suppose it's worth pointing out here that she did not have the world's best relationship with her mother and that this fact caused her no small amount of personal grief. She hated it and I hated it right along with her. But she figured that working would be better than being kicked out, so she got a job. After all, what she did have to lose? She'd get some money of her own, finally, and she'd be able to pay for car insurance. I guess it's also worth pointing out here that neither of us could drive at this point: I didn't have a license and after she got a ticket, her parents could no longer afford to pay for her insurance. We also lived 20 minutes apart.
I knew something was wrong when she told me about a new "friend" she had made that she met at work. I was especially worried because this new friend was a "he." Apparently they had great fun together. Then she let it slip out to me that she had been making out with him. I sat silently on the phone with her and finally said (rather than asked) "is that all." She promptly burst into tears and hung up on me. I called her back and asked her what her problem was. She told me that she was drunk. I looked at my clock and noted that it was 10:30 in the morning. I asked why she had been drinking so early. She sobbed "he came over around 8:00 and...and...and..." and she started blubbering again. I demanded to know what she had done. She insisted that they hadn't had sex, but I wasn't born yesterday. I told her to figure out what sort of relationship she wanted and to call me back. I hung up on her. She wouldn't call me back for the rest of the day.
I did not sleep at all that night. In a very surreal point in my life, I spent the whole night alternating between playing Tetris and reading Mein Kampf while listening to new wave music. I called her the next day and she told me that she wanted to be with me. I told her I loved her and she said she loved me too. I was sad because I could hear the hesitation in her voice and because I knew it was the beginning of the end.
Within three days, she would admit everything to me. I already knew it all anyway, but I hadn't wanted to really believe any of it. The human capacity for self-deception is amazing to me sometimes, and at no time was it more amazing when I lied to myself about what I knew to be true. For two weeks, I would hang on pathetically, telling her I needed her and guilting her into speaking to me. Any time that we were together, though, I couldn't touch her or look at her. She didn't seem to care, which made it even worse. Eventually I would tell her that she was right and that she could do whatever she wanted. I apologized for being childish. I told her that I wanted to make her happy, but that I obviously couldn't at that point. She apologized for hurting me. I have lost count of the times she has repeated those words to me.
I was brought up to believe by my mother that showing too much emotion was a sign of weakness. By that criterion, I was a very weak man that day. We cried. I held her and she held me. I wanted to kiss her one last time, but I knew she didn't want that. Later that day, she said that she wanted to go home. I told her to wait a while. She said she was uncomfortable and that she wanted to go. I snapped at her "shut the fuck up, this is the last time you'll ever have to see me, so just fucking deal with it for a little while longer." She said my name in a quivering voice and reached out to touch me. I turned away from her and she missed. I confuse myself sometimes; all I had wanted was for her to touch me and when she tried, I wanted no part of it. Was it Kane who only wanted love on his own terms? That's how I felt.
As we got to her house, we stopped short of the door. I drew her to me and hugged her. I whispered to her "I once heard that if you love something, you should let it go. They say that if it doesn't come back, it was never yours in the first place. I don't want that to be true." She stepped back and looked at me with tears in her eyes and just said "no." When we let go for the final time, something inside me died. When I turned my back, she was still looking at me. As I walked away, I heard a door open, but I never heard it close.