Single Mom Out Loud

The joys (and desperation) of raising a boy without a man

The Familar Stranger 

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I met him in a beach town during a beach winter.

This was never our love story. It was MY love story. I lived it alone. Both the love and the pain.

I loved him unconditionally. I loved him desperately. I loved him purely.

But I was no angel.

My hands are dirty with all the mistakes I have made and all the unnecessary distress I have caused.

My shoulders are heavy with the weight of the guilt and the lessons I have painfully learned.

I was a wounded and damaged 23 year old child who know nothing about the real world. He already knew who he was and he had the experiences and the world in his hands.

I wanted grand gestures and proof of an unconditional love I wasn’t willing to give myself. I wanted passionate and dramatic fights. I wanted an adrenaline life fueled by chaos, which I thought was an antidote to tedious routines and dull relationships.

I was broken and didn’t even know.

He just wanted to come home to a calm house and to feel at peace in my arms. He wanted to focus on his job and not worry that I would ruin it all.

I loved him way more than he was ever capable of loving me. And that love, uncontrollable at its core, destroyed everything I was always terrified of losing.

I loved him and I bled knowing he didn’t love me back.

I loved the way I used to look up to him.

I loved the way I would ask him questions expecting the most intelligent answer.

I loved the deep conversations about politics and life and how it used to feel whenever he taught me something new.

I loved his roughness. His beard. His gray hair. His wrinkles. They were like scars, reminding the world of the battles he had fought and all the pain he had endured.

I loved his masculinity. But I would  disappointedly hurt every time it wasn’t enough to stop him from running away from his responsibilities.

I loved his bright mind as well as his darkness. Although I knew one day both would destroy me.

I loved his simplicity and the softness of his shaved head.

I loved his basic white shirts and how he cuffed his jeans; Just as much as I loved him in a suit and how classy and sophisticated he would look.

I loved the dive bars and the way he used to get dirty working on this bike.

I loved his smile but hated the immature faces he would make for pictures.

Maybe he thought it was cool. He was already so cool in my eyes.

I loved that he hated pretentiousness. Pretentious is now his middle name.

I loved how he hated serving people and wanted nothing but to stop.

I loved his strength but hated that it wasn’t enough to control me. I needed to be saved from myself, so I loudly and desperately screamed for his help.  But in the perpetual state of fear I put him in, all he heard was craziness.

I now wonder if his inability to handle me was his ultimate gift; it forced me to learn to handle myself.

I loved our bike rides to the beach and the endless summer we lived in. I loved his toned body and his dark tan. This tan is long gone now. A reminder of his new colder Northern life.

I loved the dreams but hated that somehow I could never make them reality.

I loved the tiny dimples under his eyes whenever happiness would take over the seriousness of his face.

I loved our chemistry, the sex, and how we just couldn’t get enough of each other. Ever. but I hated the fights, although I was mostly responsible for them.

But most importantly, I loved who he once was and I miss how perfectly I used to see him.

I now spend my days reliving the past through the eyes of my future.

The tiny big hands.

The exact dimples.

Every gesture.

Every look.

It all brings me back to that time and that person.

It’s the part of him that will always be mine. Just like the permanent wound that doesn’t show on my body but its deeper and more painful than anything that bleeds.

What happened to him? Where did he go?

I do know who he was is no longer here.

I hurt for the tiny part of him who never got the chance to meet his past and who will only hear the stories I will always fondly tell….

Of a man who once existed but is now long gone.

A body so familiar but whose new soul I haven’t met before.

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Author: Brisa Pinho

Brazilian. Piscean. Project manager. Raising a boy in a man's world... without a man.

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