On a whim I decided to look up my Dear Friend’s ex-wife. I didn’t question it, I just rolled with it because that’s what I do. What I found out lead me through a rabbit hole of her blogs from the last year and a desire to reach out and contact my friend to see how he is doing. I don’t even know if he knows or cares or if he SHOULD know. There was an incident last year (it’s the only word I can think to describe it) and he doesn’t talk to me. That makes me sad because we’ve been there for each other, any time, since we were 14. I’ve spent a lot of time beating myself up over actions I took and missed steps, reactions and feelings, and all the other things that happen during a break-up, which I refuse to call it since we never had The Talk, though that’s what it feels like.
I have a lot of opinions about the matter and I choose to keep it close to the vest since I only know my side of the story, not his. I’ve gone through the steps of grief and loss without actually knowing it is the end. I am ever the optimist because I think we could get through this (our first real rift) because that’s what you do in a relationship. You fight for it.
I’ve been married for over a decade to the same person and we’ve made a lot of changes, together and separately. We fight, we scream and holler, we don’t listen and purposely piss the other off, we love with an unmatched passion for each other and fiercely defend the other against all others. We are a team and we work at it every day of our lives. It isn’t always a picnic but I love my husband more than anyone I know on this earth. I love my friend with the same intensity, but a different undercurrent.
My superstitions make me believe a break-up is around the corner whenever I hear a certain song, in its entirety, on the radio. This song made its way to a random playlist I have for work(outs) and I’ve come across it, stricken with the slight nausea I feel when it plays. I’ve intentionally played it to see if that would take away some of the song’s power but I can’t tell the difference. I’ve, also, taken it off my list so I wouldn’t tempt fate any more than I already have.
I’ve distanced myself by referring to him formally as Mr. or I just use his last name.
I stopped raging and hurting and I’ve implemented his request to be left alone, though that’s very hard for me. It’s like choosing to drown when I know how to swim.
I’ve stopped talking about him with bitterness in my voice.
It still doesn’t feel finished. So, I’m going to do what every knitter knows to be the end of a relationship: I’m going to knit him a sweater. It’s not because I want things to end with finality. I miss him incredibly, like there’s a part of me I can’t feel anymore and I’d do anything to have him back but it’s not up to me. It makes me restless.
I’ve knit him exactly one sweater before, and I’m pretty sure it’s in a storage room somewhere in the dark recesses of Los Angeles, probably harboring moth larvae. (I’m not vengeful or mean. I just prefer my creation disintegrate and find a new purpose other than wasting in a box.) Really, it’s a horrible sweater–the first one I ever made. I made it for him, because he asked, though I never made one before. He requested long arms and a turtleneck, and I gave it to him. I’m pretty sure it was a major disappointment to him because the arms were too long, the whole thing was too large, and a bit lumpy. It was a bit fucked up and I really want him to give it back so I can frog it and make a better sweater. Having that out in the world as My Work makes me writhe in a dull uncomfortable ache, like someone who is being torturously exposed in a web of lies, and all I can do is stand there and take it. Because this is no way to live, and I deal with my feelings through creativity, I decided to make him a new sweater.
It’s a completely ass-backwards way of dealing with the situation but that’s what I do. In times of stress, change, turmoil, happiness, laziness, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, I knit. Knitting takes my mind off my problems, helps me sort things out. Complicated patterns and new techniques comfort me. Errata and ripping out rows improve my patience and problem-solving. Looking at something beautiful at the end of all my work makes me forget about all the issues I had in the process because it will be sent out in the world to make others happy. It will be made perfectly.
I don’t know that I’ll ever get the opportunity to give him the sweater but that won’t stop me from making it. I have to make it. That feral voice, deep inside, makes this call to knit something I can’t ignore. I may be slow-going but I will make it, if only for my own sanity.
And to the former Mrs.:
It’s not a matter of what you did. It’s how you did it. I can never forgive you for destroying him like that.