I was just looking through some old emails and texts that you sent me and I came across one that stopped me in my tracks. One sentence that you wrote in particular just made me completely freeze and stare at it. I think I’ve been staring at my screen for almost an hour now just captivated by it, just thinking about it. And it is prompting me to write this post.
The email was from January. In it, you were talking about how you googled my name and came across some old press releases of the singer I used to work with and me, and the show we did. It was, at the time, one of our biggest obstacles, because she was someone with whom I was once involved, albeit briefly, but because we had that history, it was a source of friction between you and me, even though I only considered her a friend and a colleague.
But the sentence you wrote in that email that captivated me was, “life is not a fairy tale, and nobody sleeps out in the rain for anybody anymore”. It was a reference to a lyric in the classic R&B song “When A Man Loves A Woman”, by Percy Sledge. I played and sang that song for you a month earlier when your parents came to my show with you and you danced with your father to it. I can still see that moment so clearly in my mind.
“Life is not a fairy tale and nobody sleeps out in the rain for anybody anymore”. Here’s why those words both haunt me and move me so much: For some time now, I’ve been fighting for this; for us. I’ve told you my feelings, I’m documenting my feelings in this blog, and I’m giving you the space to explore what you need to explore, but I am still here telling you how much I love you, how much I want us to have a chance to try this, to make this work. It occurs to me, I’m doing exactly that. I’m sleeping out in the rain for you. Your “door”, is sort of closed right now. And as I’ve noted, I am not stopping my life or anything. But S, I don’t see this feeling changing; it’s real. It didn’t just come from nowhere, and it didn’t develop hastily or impulsively. It developed over a period of time of getting to really know you and listening to you with my heart. I guess my heart is telling me it wants to keep listening to you above anyone else, and when I check in with my mind, I get the same response. Perhaps that is why although your door is currently closed, I am just outside of it, sleeping in the rain.
The day after you sent that email, you sent another one apologizing for how intense the email was…but S, I should have been the one apologizing to you! It was selfish of me to expect you to be OK with me working with an ex-girlfriend the way I was, and I don’t know why I didn’t just see that from the start. The truth is after the Christmas show, I put a stop to those shows, and you know that I have not worked with her since then. But ALL THAT SHOULD HAVE MATTERED to me was that it made you uncomfortable. There really shouldn’t have been anything more to it. I had a conversation around that time with a very close friend from my childhood. He asked me, “what do you get out of that partnership”? I honestly couldn’t answer him. It became clear that it was a very unbalanced, one-sided relationship, which she was “holding onto” for some reason. When I brought this up to her in January, her reaction was selfish, and all about her- not one concern for what I was saying about it holding ME back, and getting in my way. That was even further proof that the working relationship was unhealthy and unbalanced, and that it was time to just move on and away from it. It seems so clear and obvious now, and I can’t explain why it wasn’t sooner.
You once told me that the day you discovered she was an ex and still such a part of my life because we were performing that show together, that you were devastated, you were hurt, and you cried for days. I am so sorry I put you through that, baby. Even at that time, you had said you were not sure you were ready to be in a full on relationship, so although we spent time together, it was not really “official”. But that is no excuse for my having made you feel that way, and you made it more than clear this issue was holding you back from opening yourself to me. When I look back at that, I feel so foolish about the whole thing. Hindsight is 20/20, isn’t it? I really did not realize what I should have realized.
All I can say is, although I might be a slow learner, I do listen, I do admit my mistakes and I do learn from them. I listened completely to everything you had to say about it, I processed it, I considered it, and within a short period of time, I made changes and eliminated her from my life completely, both professionally and personally. There was no grand drama; I wouldn’t say we’re enemies, but after that Christmas show, I cancelled the shows and ended the professional relationship, and shortly thereafter, the personal relationship ceased to exist as well. And it really was no loss- she was the one benefiting from the shows, not me. You were 100% right and I was 100% wrong, and I’m glad you stood your ground about it. The way things were, there was not a proper space in my life for a significant other, and I did not see that at the time. This past year has taught me so many important things, I feel like I’ve learned so much.
Although this obstacle has been eliminated, I fully realize there are other obstacles, hurdles, and issues that stand between this moment and a time when you and I could possibly try to make a relationship work together. But I took a closer look at the lyrics to that old Percy Sledge song, “When A Man Loves A Woman”. Those words aren’t lost in the past, S. They make perfect sense to me. Some people might think it’s old thinking, but I don’t. I think it’s the way things should be. And so do you. That’s why you wrote that sentence in that email. You do believe in that and you want it as much as I do.
This man loves you, S. And I hope there will be a place and a time for us to at least really try this together properly. One thing I’ve certainly learned is, I’ll never let anyone or anything come between us again. And until then, I’ll be sleeping out in the rain.