Saturday, May 06, 2006


I keep forgetting to tell you that she of the gasoline thong got fired. It's not clear whether she mouthed off to Jefe's wife one too many times, or didn't follow a rule one too many times, or had to go get her kid at school one too many times (one of her kids is diagnosed with childhood bipolar disorder and is on a raft of meds, including antipsychotics, and has behavioral problems), or some combination of all of those. It's much quieter around the bakery, and the hispanic guys still walk through the kitchen calling out "Excuse me!" the way she used to do. I found her entertaining in many ways, and interesting, but I figured it was only a matter of time before she got canned; she has almost no impulse control. I think it's fear, mostly; she was in an abusive relationship for quite awhile, and I think she's afraid of letting go of the behaviors that she thinks helped her survive that.

In other news, Craw and I had a long, occasionally tear-stained phone conversation yesterday. In part thanks to an email exchange with Larry (thanks again, Larry), and in part thanks to (another!) conversation with J the other night (she is redefining the meaning of "friend"), I began to get some clarity on some things yesterday. I never expected Craw to provide everything for me (emotionally, psychologically, financially, entertainment-wise, intellectually, whatever), but that was perfectly fine (I think expecting the everything is misguided, anyway). I expected to get some of what I wanted from various other people and relationships and so on, and I expected he would do likewise. We also have different tastes in a variety of things. For me, then, my relationship with Craw was a fabric, woven of the time we spent together, the time we spent sharing the things we did like in common, the time spent working out the details of living with someone, etc. In other words, the partnership, and the trust at the core of that, were what held the other whirling bits together.

The issues that Craw and I described in earlier posts are not new ones: we've gone through variations on the same theme more than once or twice, and there are other difficulties we haven't discussed much here (and won't). This latest round really blew the center out of things for me, though. I don't know all of the reasons why it was worse this time--certainly one reason was that we were married, i.e., it seemed like even more of a betrayal to me. I have no idea whether I could have eventually trusted Craw again--maybe yes, maybe no. But what do we have without that part, without the thing that was holding the center together? Yes, we both miss going out to dinner on Sunday night; we agreed that we'd managed to work out an equitable sharing of the chores; there are the everyday things that you have when your lives are intertwined. But those aren't enough, by themselves, I don't think.

I could not give Craw more than an uncertain maybe--I didn't see the path back, but was perhaps willing to believe it existed. Craw didn't want to wait; he wanted an answer, either so he could work on things with me (whatever that turned out to mean), uncertain though that path was, or so he could move on. Plus, around the time he moved out--end of March? early April?--he met someone new, and they are apparently more compatible in many of the ways that we are not (music, for one thing, which is extremely important to Craw). Bad timing, yes, but there it is: if Craw and I were to decide to try to work things out, it would be difficult, at best, and neither of us really knows what "work things out" would mean. (And why, really? That is the question up against which we keep bumping.) On the other hand, he can start over with someone new, someone with whom he already seems to share a lot. If I'm not in a position to say "yes," then it seems to me I should just let him be, even if I'm not absolutely, positively sure that "no" is the right answer.

I'm tired, when it comes down to it. We've had the same damned discussions, over and over. Would we have more of them, or has Craw changed (or is he in the process of changing) enough of the behavior that was at the root of them? Would I be able to trust him, even if he has changed? Who the fuck knows. It's not fair, in my mind, to either one of us, to stay in a relationship that doesn't have a foundation of trust. And here's where my inexperience is relevant, I guess: I hadn't been in a committed relationship in nearly 15 years when I met Craw, so I don't know how these things go. I don't know when to keep fishing and when to cut bait, and I don't know what criteria I should use to figure that out. I believe, in principle, that one should try to work things out, but I also know that one reaches a point where that's not the right thing to do (though the reasons why are myriad). The short version, for me, seems to be a question of which path is less likely to increase the pain, both in the short term and the long term.

I'm also terribly, terribly sad. I can still find the anger, yes--that's definitely there. But the grief is starting to make its presence felt, and it just grabs me by the throat (or the heart, more like), luckily mostly when I'm alone. Craw is slowly but surely moving everything of his or the Kid's out of the apartment we shared. Last night I reached to turn on a light--and it was gone. (It was Craw's and I knew he was taking it, I just hadn't noticed until that minute that he'd taken it.) Today I stumbled across a copy of our marriage license (it was in a bunch of papers on my desk), which was wrenching. I hate this; I hate it. And I don't know that there's an alternative that would be an improvement or that would result in something better for both of us.


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