Friday, February 15, 2013

The Sweater Metaphor

There's this sweater I have that I love. Or I used to love it. Lately, it seems stretched out, baggy. It's not as sleek as it used to be. I don't feel as attractive in it as I used to.

Once upon a time, I felt confident enough in this sweater that I wore it the night I knew I was getting engaged. I wore the same sweater 11 months later for our engagement pictures. See how happy I look? Well part of that has to do with being ridiculously in love and part of it is that I felt confident.

That sweater? It doesn't fit so well these days. I feel sort of slouchy and not pulled together in it. I wear it only when I'm running out of other clothes. 

So why am I taking the time to write about a sweater? Because I think it's a metaphor. I think there are things in our lives that fit perfectly once. They're just right at that time. But they can shift. And they suddenly don't fit us anymore. That shift can happen without us even noticing. And, like me with this sweater, sometimes we refuse to get rid of it because it used to be perfect.

The night I told my ex I had taken off my ring and that I was willing to let him go, I insisted before we go into Starbucks, before I told him, that he kiss me one more time. After being with him for so long, after loving him so much, I wanted one more kiss. In the words of Ilsa Lund, "Kiss me as if it were the last time". (Newsflash: that kiss? Saddest thing ever. Yes I got my last kiss from him. But tears were streaming down my face. I knew he didn't want to be kissing me. He didn't love me anymore and it was the most soulless kiss I've ever experienced.) As we walked inside, I grabbed his hand like I'd done a million times. I held the hand of the man I loved desperately. One. Last. Time. And do you know what?

It didn't fit.

His hand, which once felt like it was made for mine, didn't fit anymore. I don't know when that changed or how long I clung to the idea that his hand filled the spaces mine left like none other would. But it changed. His hand felt awkward in mine. It felt strange. It did not belong there. I thank G-d for that. Those last moments, that horrible last kiss, the walk from the car inside holding a hand that didn't fit anymore are awful memories. They hurt even now to think of them. (It's been over 14 and a half months since then and I'm still on the verge of tears over these memories.) But remembering how we didn't fit anymore, how the spaces my body leaves are not designed for that man anymore, it reassures me that I did the right thing.

It's so easy to remember the nights our bodies curved together perfectly. To miss the times he held me and my head fit perfectly in "the nook". (For those people who have never watched Sex and the City, "the nook" is that space between a guy's neck/shoulder/chest. That's where my head goes when I sleep-and I mean REM cycles here-with a guy.) This time of year, with Valentine's Day just behind me and my birthday just around the corner, it's really easy to miss having someone special to celebrate with. It's moments like this morning though, when I realize the significance of a stretched out sweater, that remind me why I'm single.


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