Thursday, October 20, 2005

The fatal phone call

arrived at midnight on Sunday. For months I have prepared for it. But when I rehearsed it in my head, it always happened toward the end of a dinner party, filled with good people, wine and laughter. We'd all be lounging in the living room, comfortably tipsy, two or three deep and intense conversations happening simultaneously, when the phone would ring and I'd go into the kitchen. One or two people would overhear the suppressed agitation, the strained and rapid Spanish; "Porque me llamas? Estás borracho? Soy harta con tu mierda. Ya." I'd hang up after a few minutes and fight back tears. People would cluster around and console me--the Woman with a Past, bravely laying her demons.

It happened just like that, except that I was alone at the end of a long, barren weekend; and had just finished writing, in my journal, "I am very, very lonely." He was drunk, maudlin, romantic; "why you have not writing? I miss you, why you do not write me," over and over. It was the voice that made it almost impossible. But I said it anyway. "I am fed up with your shit, Hector."

And he hung up.

It was a thousand times worse than in rehearsal. I almost called back, but why should I pay the phone bill to Mexico, just to tell my ex-lover what a shithead he is? I went to the computer and composed the letter that I've restrained myself from writing these five months--you know perfectly well why...this has been a horrible year...two days before my show...other women...when have you ever asked my forgiveness?...I am only a fantasy... not a real woman...I cannot carry this any more." Then I called my friend in Vegas instead, and cried all over her, and felt a little better.

Connections between people, says Barbara Brennan, are like silver cords between their chakras. Some of them are bright and healthy, some are dark and tangled, some are active on the front half of the body, some move to the back when the relationship is in the past. When a connection is abruptly severed it is like a physical wound, like losing a limb; she has seen cords to abandoning lovers dangling out in space. The cords to my ex-boyfriend were all violently rent on that day a year ago in June; I almost didn't survive it. The cords to my Mexican ex-lover, though attenuated and mellow with years of abuse, were still hanging in there. I was glad to think that one bridge was not yet burnt.

But some people are never content to let things lie; if there's a cord, they'll yank it, then with the rebound they slam you into the asphalt. "Yo me cambio," I told him. "I will love you always, but if you cannot take responsibility like an adult instead of a wounded child, I can no longer do it for you. I need someone who loves me all the time, not just when it happens to be convenient." I know him well enough to know that he will not respond. The cords fall to the ground.

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