relationshipping

The flip-side

Truth or tactA heartbroken me walks home from a party.
It’s a long walk.  But when your heart is alternately in your throat and drag-flopping on the pavement with every step, an hour is a fast pass.

I’m still in love with my ex.  We got married a few weeks ago so I could stay in the country and tonight we’re finally going out for the first time as friends, to celebrate the marriage.  The other day she saw me getting sentimental about marriage and set me straight with, “You know this is just a visa marriage, right?”  I kept staring at the screen then, nodding, “yeah.”

Ouch.

But I’m excited; we haven’t gone out together in this new city yet and I’ve been looking forward to getting ready with her.  It’s a good way to break friendship ground.

Then she asks if it’d be cool if we meet up at the party instead because this guy that she’s been non-stop texting just asked her to dinner.  Goddammit she’s into him.  It’s been like two days since they’ve started talking but I can tell she likes him, probably more than she even knows or is willing to admit.

“If that’s what you want to do…”
“Are you sure?”
Of course I’m not sure but I’m not supposed to have to tell her that.  She’s supposed to know that we had plans to go to this thing together.

“Just…go.”

Before she’s even out the door, the tears fall fast, heavy and loud.
I try to will her to come back but with every stupid second that hollows me out I have to face that she’s gone.

***

I scan the room for her, as her friends have been asking where she is.
She’s never been one to be on time exactly but if she says she’s going to be there, she will.  Finally she comes up to me, bright smile and looking as fucking beautiful as ever.  Damn her.
…and him.  Great.  Of course he’s here.  I hate him on sight.

I get interviewed by the promoters of the club, my trusty friend helping to translate every so often.  I’m proud of myself for answering most of the questions in my non-native tongue first time out.  I scan the room in-between chatting it up with random folks here and there.  I can’t help but wonder where she is, I want to tell her about my interview.

I see her.
On. His. Lap.
Making out.

***

I’m tired of attempting to answer where the hell she disappeared to.  I have no idea but saying that is an embarrassing admittance that— that I don’t know where she is, like I used to.  She isn’t holding herself accountable to me.  I hate this realization.

I’m spent.  I’ve drunk but I’m not drunk.  I’m hurt.  I cry.  I had such expectations of this night; one of celebrating a new chapter for us, married best friends who love the hell out of each other.  This was supposed to be the most fun night yet.  We used to have such a blast going out, getting drunk, talking and laughing…god we used to laugh hard together.

Memories start to flood and the tears flood even harder to keep up with the flashback onslaught: falling in love, moving in together, knowing this is the person I want to spend the rest of my life with, trave— and I have to sit because feeling the heart break can’t be done standing solo.  I sit on a curb in the early fucking morning.  I sob.

Of course I don’t hear his footsteps.  I don’t hear or notice anything until I feel the back of my head jammed forward onto some guy’s dick.  He forces my mouth open and rams it in.  If I had a gag reflex it’d be in full revolt but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to vomit.  Except I can’t because the shock, my empty emotional self, this whole fucking night has left me void.

I don’t care anymore.
I didn’t think it could get worse.
It got worse.

***

Eventually I tell her about the assault.
She’s shocked and feels absolutely terrible.  She cries for me and keeps apologizing as she feels indirectly responsible.  She asks if I need to talk to anyone, that I should talk to someone; of course she’s available but she understands if I just want to get as far away from her as possible after the hurt she’s caused.

“I’m more hurt by you and your actions than having to suck some guy off.”
“Oh.”

Yeah.

Living with the ex?
Sure, that can be a rough ride but getting over her is plenty hard enough.

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about Japan, random love, relationshipping

It’s time

My eyeballs need cocaineto visit my grandparents’ grave.  I want to scrub-brush the tombstone, take some pretty flowers, burn some incense, put my hands together and pray.

Their grave is on a mountainside and the view is stunning; however, the sheer size of this cemetery is intimidating.  I’ll need a map and it’ll take me twenty times as long to find their grave as it will to sit, pray, think, love.

Some of my earliest memories are at my grandparents’ home in rural Japan.

A single-digit me hangs out in the piney front yard with huge moss-covered boulder-stones, awesome bonsai, random fruit trees, flowers sprouting jolts of color and a little stream running sweet, cold water.

My morning routine: cut through the superskinny passageway connecting our house to my grandmother’s sister’s home and walk around the foresty hill behind the house.  I collect various beetles as I get mercilessly bitten by mosquitoes but no matter because I’m off and running to the local candy shop and grocery where the shopkeepers think me a lovable but strange novelty, being reared in the States.  I say neighborhood hellos and discover chocolate-covered strawberry bon-bons(!!!) from a vending machine next to the neighborhood shrine; cicadas rhythmically scream-buzz in the humid afternoons, rows and rows of them encircle the tall shrine tree trunks.  Finding those bon-bons was a fucking awesome day.

My aunt wakes around noon and I watch her hour-long makeup routine in awe; her lipstick palette alone fascinates me for many minutes.  She was a model in Tokyo when she was young; many decades later, she’s no doubt the hippest woman in this quiet town.  She loves to tango and has many male admirers; my uncle’s joy over this is easily measured in the cans of beer that stack up, the brick thrown in her face was a little more direct.  Sometimes it takes her too many hours to finish her makeup so an impatient me plays in a field, looks for four-leaf clovers and makes necklaces out of weedy flowers.  Sometimes I ride the bus to explore neighboring towns but mostly I walk around, suck nectar from honeysuckles, balance on raised concrete borders of rice paddies and stare at tadpoles and frogs.

As the sky starts to turn pink-orange, I buy beer and cigarettes from adjacent vending machines for my uncle and cousin, respectively.  They drink and smoke while I light fireworks at night, sometimes with my next-door second cousins, sometimes not.

The family was tight.

So tight that when my older cousin gets too involved with the Yakuza, he lives with us in the states until- years later- he can resume life in Japan.

So tight that when his younger brother gets into rougher and rougher shenanigans at school, it’s his turn to live with us.

So fucking tight that this cousin uses an eight-year-old me for firsthand sex ed.

He doesn’t have to ask me to keep our secret.

I look up to him; I block it out of my mind.
It didn’t happen.

Nothing.

Happened.

As long as he lives with us, I don’t say anything.

Even when he ‘asks’ me to watch porn with him.
And taunts me (some days I’m really dumb and not cute, other days I’m a brilliant beauty; this confuses me).
And breaks my collarbone.

I don’t hate him.
I don’t know that I will ever hate him.

Even as he continues to mess with a ten, eleven, twelve-year-old me.
Even after a fifteen-year-old me feels immense relief that he has a girlfriend.
Only to find a box of Polaroids that he’s taken of me while I was asleep.

At seventeen I can’t deny what happened anymore; memory flashes disrupt my suburban teenage-hood.
At nineteen I tell my parents.

I still don’t hate him.
Even after my dad confronts him and he calls me a crazy bitch.
And a liar.

My grandparents are dead; it’s no longer their home.
And I’m no longer welcome there.

The greatest irony?
As I’m on this island, many years later and planning to visit my grandparents grave, I miss that family.
I didn’t quite realize the ultimatum: saving myself means goodbye to them forever.

Usually thinking about them doesn’t bum me out but apparently on a night like this, as I reflect, it makes me tremendously sad.

We don’t get many givens in this life.
Family is one of them.

Sometimes.

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relationshipping

I say, Give me the real

The other day

so it’s only fair that I give back said real.

And currently, this is the real:
We each found love post (visa)marriage and it has been the hardest thing.

I’m not friends with my exes.  With one, we aren’t not friends but we certainly aren’t a presence in each other’s lives.  And to get to true peace of the end of what was basically a common-law marriage, I had to exercise a total break.

With my ex-GF/wife (whom I will refer to as S from here on out):
I choose to break up.
And it is the most difficult thing.

As S transitions, there is no less love but the rapid-heartbeat, make-me-melt love gives way to a more protective, almost maternal love.  It isn’t the end of a honeymoon phase as this is 1.8 years into our relationship.  Romantic love turns agape love.

I move on, emotionally, while she is still in love with me.
This then becomes the most difficult thing.

I feel guilty for moving on, I wish I could ignore my stupid heart.  I don’t break up unless it is undeniably time because that look- when I look into her beautiful eyes that read only such deep heartbreak…well, that breaks my heart every time.  And knowing that I’m the cause of an agonizing heartbreak makes me feel pretty damn rotten.  There’s just no getting out of any meaningful relationship without hurt.  The deeper the love, the more fucking massive the hurt.

She finds love, which confronts me with a slew of unexpected feelings.
And this makes me a most difficult person.

It’s not fair.  It being the inevitable grief that comes with a significant ending to an incomparably more significant relationship.  It’s not fair for either of us because grieving is just plain hard.  When I chose to break up with S, I knew I was shutting the door on unconditional love.  I could have someone who would love and cherish me no matter what, who wanted nothing more but a permanent future with me because that equaled a bright hope and happiness.  Stupid, stupid heart.

I am no longer her person.
Her face lights up so brightly, voice softens, mood transforms and her heart visibly melts when she receives a text or call from her love.
Before this incredible, new love, my loss wasn’t so palpable; as I moved on, she’s been working through one hell of a terrific heartbreak until her new beautiful person.

This isn’t jealousy.
S is a beautiful person through and through and I want love to do right by her, in a way that I could not.

This is the realness of feeling the loss of the love I gave up.

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about Japan

Happy Japanniversary

My eyeballs need cocaine

Wow, it’s been a year already.
Craziness.

I often get asked how long I’m going to be here and my answer is always: I don’t know.

At the onset, I told myself that I would be in Tokyo at least two years for two reasons:
1) Lease agreements are usually for two years (though you can break them)
2) Year 1 would be simply surviving and experiencing everything anew and year 2 would  enable me to form a more true and objective opinion about living here- do I really like it or not.

Survival year 1 wasn’t too shabby; definitely a whirlwind and I’m really glad I had trips to Thailand and the States to break up moments of culture shock.

Some highlights:

apartment hunting and procurement in <36 hours, wading in Tokyo indie film production waters, love relationships morphing, friend relationships proving distance can bring us closer (because they ROCK), torrential downpours, best noodles ever. ever. ever., cuteness, street drinking, garbage water (more on this later), fucking Engrish, countless hours on planes (aisle seat only from here on out), A/C love, summer flu hate, cedar incense, public transport dependency, pedestrian hate, blinding island sun, meat smoke, ridiculously overpriced taxis, beer (so much beer consumed), strangers making me smile, sweat, snow, fear, joy, change, panic, loss, and love.
Always love.

Thanks for reading, y’all.
Cheers to year 2!

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