My Dad left my Mom eight years ago today. He pulled out of the driveway and she took photos of him holding the dog in the front seat of the U-Haul. He was leaving her after twenty six years of marriage and she took photos.
I didn't understand it then, but I do now. You want something to remain, some sense of validation that it actually happened. That you were part of something. That, despite the current circumstances, someone, at some point, loved you.
I wear my heart on my sleeve. Every time I try to change this or ignore this part of myself, I fail. It's something that I've learned to accept, and lately my silence on my website or other places online is more of me censoring myself instead of me not having anything to say. Because I have plenty to say, just not sure it's the right forum. Not sure it's fair to others to be so transparent. But is it right for me? I struggle with that question.
Why do we share? Why do we blog or Tweet or check in somewhere? Is it self-serving or is it, like relationships, our desire to be part of something bigger than ourselves? Is it just one more way to look for connection?
There's a poignant line in my favorite movie, Say Anything, where Diane Court goes to the kickboxing gym to reunite with Lloyd Dobler. She says that she needs him; he replies: "Are you here because you need someone or because you need me?" He then quickly says that it doesn't matter. But he was wrong, so wrong. It DOES matter. So much.
I've had a rough few weeks. Hell, to be fair, I've had a rough year. I lost the person who I'm starting to think may be the love of my life. Or at least he has been, up until now. And then I recently dated a kind, caring, thoughtful, good man, who quickly became my best friend. My confidant. He has been my person, the one I turned to for anything good and bad. And since that ended I've been struggling with that very question that Lloyd Dobler asked. Am I missing him – which yes, of course I am – or merely missing someone?
And so yes, I now understand why my Mom has those photos from eight years ago saved somewhere. I – ironically – have a photo I took in the midst of our breakup of him wearing the sunglasses I bought for his birthday, taken to show him how they looked at the time. But it remains on my phone, a small piece of tangible evidence that I was part of something. The validation isn't much, nor is it easy, but it's something. And for now, on this Independence Day, it's enough.