I don’t understand what is happening. I need time alone, to think, to figure out if my fear is justified or simply another attempt to push away someone who is trying to get too close. I know I have sabotaged relationships in the past, but did I really regret ending any of them? If I’m honest, no. Maybe I’m better off alone. Maybe deep down I don’t want to lose my independence. Maybe I don’t want to risk caring again just to have it all fall apart.
I swing open the gate and slowly I start down the steps toward the river to distance myself physically, to give myself space from what is happening. There are about 100 stairs that twist and turn, some steps taller than others, forcing me to pay close attention to what I’m doing. At the top of each new flight the handrails align with the top step, making me feel like I could tumble over the side. Briefly I wish you were there to hold my hand, steady me, protect me.
I shake my head to try to clear these thoughts from my mind but I can’t. This is exactly the problem. It was so easy to let you shelter me, keep me safe, fight for me. But now I worry that this is more limerence than love. Am I simply an obsession? Someone who made you feel good about yourself because I was weak? Could this be something more?
At one landing about halfway down I pause, wondering if this is far enough. I glance up the hill and spot you watching me from the porch of the cabin where we are staying. No. I definitely need to go further. With a sigh I continue down.
What are you thinking as you watch me?
I admit I needed help for a while. My divorce was more than I could handle alone. I was afraid my ex would hurt me and so I turned to you. You were so strong, and so willing.
But now I’m afraid. I’m scared that now that I don’t need you the way I did, you’ll still try to shelter me from any possible harm. I don’t want you to control me with obsessive worry. The imminent danger is gone and I don’t want to live in a bubble.
Maybe taking these rickety stairs was a test. Maybe I wanted to assert my independence, to make sure you wouldn’t try to stop me. I glance back to the porch but you are gone. Is it disappointment I feel? There’s something nice about having someone to lean on, someone to catch you if you fall.
Why do I automatically assume the worst? My ex was obsessive and controlling, but it’s not fair to assign those attributes to you as well. Truly you don’t deserve that. You have protected me but have also encouraged me to make each decision on my own. You have asked questions but have only offered advice when I wanted it. When I told you I was going to walk down to the river you didn’t try to stop me. You understood somehow this was something I needed to do.
Oh my God! I am pushing you away. You have done nothing wrong and yet I have let my relationship with my ex blind me to your true character.
I turn, suddenly in a hurry to get back up the stairs, to tell you that yes, I love you too! But I lose my balance and the railing isn’t high enough to stop my fall. I have just enough time to realize I’m about to plunge down the hill, when I feel a hand steady me, your hand.
You’re there, as you always are. I’m too relieved to worry about how you were close enough to stop me. I turn into your arms and lift my face, silently begging you to kiss me. When your lips touch mine I surrender to you. I know deep down this is more than just an obsession.
This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Limerence