It Turns Out Freedom Ain't Nothing But Missing You, Wishing I'd Realized What I Had When You Were Mine, I'd Go Back To December
A tradition Lucy and I share is the idea of a "present-to-be-named-later". I don't know about anyone else, but I have a real problem with patience when it comes to waiting for gifts. I can't tell you how many times I've asked for something from my family or friends only to be driven mad with anticipation. Conversely, I can't tell you how many times somebody I know has wanted to surprise me for one of my birthdays or Christmas with a gift they think I will appreciate, only to discover I've already purchased it for myself weeks prior. I never much saw the point in waiting for an artificial day upon which to show somebody you care. If you think somebody will like a little trinket I would think it would be okay to send it to them, in honor of their birthday or what have you, immediately even if their birthday is still weeks or months away.
Tired of bumping heads over the issue we came up with the system where birthday gifts can be sent as early or as late as one wished, as long as we were both sure that the effort (and delay) would be appreciated. Rather than guess blindly at what she might or might not have picked up for herself, and rather than hint around the question, Breanne knows she can basically cash in her birthday or Christmas gift "to be named later" and tell me exactly something she has just seen that she wants me to get for her, and vice-versa.
That's how come I'm getting my brand-spanking new copy of De Volgari Eloquentia as my Christmas gift from her only this week. Hell, I didn't even know I wanted it until January 2nd. Rather than flit around searching for something I didn't have or try to deduce something I might like it was a lot easier for her for me to tell her much I wanted this game and how she could count it as my end-of-the-year gift. Another nice thing about this arrangement is the fact I could have held out for a couple of months, holding my virtual coupon for the same duration, until the perfect gift showed up on my radar.
I know--some may complain that it defeats the whole purpose of demonstrating how well you know a person by being able to suss out their perfect gift without their consent. My theory is, though, that we've both done a lot of the head-scratching to come up with that impossibly flawless present for one another. We've spent years playing along with the scenario. More to the point, we've missed as many times as we've hit with our selections. It's not as if I mind the mild disappointment in her voice; none of us our perfect in our assertions of another human being. What I've found is that by waiting a few weeks or even jumping the gun a few weeks it all but eliminates the disappointment of a bad gift. As long as she doesn't mind it isn't spontaneous, I don't mind it either. And it's all worth it when the present arrives and each of us knows it's something the other truly clamored for without hesitation. It's worth it knowing that there's absolutely no chance the other will be disappointed upon its arrival on their doorstep.
I'll trade that moment of pre-arranged joy for the romance of an impulse buy any day.
I remember once upon a time when I had delusions that the hope of something better was my prevailing train of thought. It was December of 2002, a few months after Breanne and Greg had gotten married, and about six months into what would turn out to be eight months of not speaking to her. I don't know--even though it wasn't that long ago considering, it feels like it was ages ago. We were both stubbornly refusing to make the first move at reconciliation, each believing we were in the right. At the moment, now that the anger has passed, she probably had more right to dislike me than I did her. Ditching your best friend's wedding isn't something I'd be eager to forgive and forget so easily either.
I remember thinking how it was the first time in a long time that I wouldn't have to get Breanne a present and what a good feeling that was. I mean--I'm not much a gift giver in the first place. Most years I only buy gifts for my parents, my brother, and her. Some years that list expands to include friends like Brandy, Casey, and, of course, Toby), but those four people have been the heart of my Christmas list for decades now. Taking her off the list was empowering. It afforded me the sensation that I had the control in the situation. I had the courage in the situation. If she didn't want to be my friend any more then there was no need to waste any more time in trying to make her happy any longer. I don't know--I reveled in my newfound independence from the one person who I had to account for it seems like every moment of every day.
Never once did it occur to me to use the opportunity as an excuse for re-establishing communications. Never once did it occur to me that the holidays provided the perfect alibi to re-building our friendship back up from the ground up.
I was very spiteful at that moment in time. I admit that. She was very spiteful too, though, if I do say so myself.
This behavior went on for the weeks leading up to Christmas. I was resolute in my vow to not give Mrs. Holins-Meier one thought during the holidays. It was still a few days from New Year's Eve, but that truly became my resolution. I wanted to start the new year with the notion that Breanne would not be a part of it or the years following. I wanted to be okay with my decision as quickly as possible. I needed to be okay with it as quickly as possible because I knew, given the option, I could dwell upon it for weeks and months if I allowed myself to wallow just so.
I told myself she was an anchor. With her gone I could finally find somebody better upon which to spend my energy. Without her sucking away my time, there was at least the possibility of finding somebody much more suited to me who wouldn't put me in that position of feeling abandoned for half of a year.
It was the aforementioned conundrum of knowing what you're getting for Christmas before it arrives or being surprised completely. I knew what I was getting with Lucy because I knew what she had brought to me in the years prior. There was no mystery in what she brought to the table nor mystery in what I had to give up in return. But in 2002 I had hope that I could forge some other type of relationship with somebody new. I had hope that there was a new relationship out there that would not cost me so much in return and one that could reap even more benefits to my well-being.
However, it was around Christmas or at least the days leading up to Christmas where I just started to miss her. As she likes to say, I started to miss her something fierce. The novelty of not having her in my life began to wear off. All that was left in its wake was the sense of isolation and abandonment that had been bobbing there the whole time, hidden by my false sense of bravado. In fact, the novelty of the situation became its own worst enemy. Frankly, it stings to know what it's like to have somebody of Breanne's import in my life and to go without it for a year. It's like losing out on Christmas altogether for a year, as if the entire holiday just vanished from the face of the planet. I never told her at the time because we had other more vital things to discuss when we finally started talking again, but that Christmas was probably one of the saddest I've ever been through.
At least on two different occasions I almost called her.
One time it was just before midnight on Christmas Day. I know it's not exactly tradition to wish somebody Merry Christmas going into December 26th, but I was determined not to talk to her on the actual day if I had to talk to her at all. I didn't even know if she'd be up, but my rationale would be at least she wouldn't be with her family at that point. I wouldn't have to go through the embarrassment of talking to her daddy or mother. Sure, I might have had to deal with Greg answering the phone, but I still only felt the bitterness and anger of a jealous man towards him so it didn't matter so much to me if I woke him up. I chickened out, though, because my misery didn't exactly seem the right tone to launch into asking her for her forgiveness.
The other time was just after New Year's--around the fourth and fifth--where I had convinced myself that I was in a happier mood. I told myself I was in a better place, where I didn't sound desperate to get her back and where I could effectively give the impression that I was actually contrite. But this too fell through because I lacked the conviction of a man who thinks he is doing something for the right reason. I knew the only reason I was even considering calling her was for my own selfish interests. For all I knew she was better off without me fucking her life up and to ask her to take me back in would probably set her back a few steps (even while it would have set me upright once again).
By that point I came to the realization that holding out for something better was foolish. If something better comes along it's going to find you regardless of what your current situation is. I didn't need to sever ties with something that, up until recently, had been the most positive influence in my life to establish a position for something even more positive to find me. I knew what I had with Breanne. I knew the risks. I also knew the rewards. There was no sense in forgoing that on the belief that my "true" love would come along to replace all of that. It's not as if I was in a horrible pit of despair being friends with Breanne. How I felt even on the worst days going toe-to-toe with Little Miss Chipper doesn't even compare to the worst days with the likes of Tara and DeAnn.
I believe that's what clinched it for me and why I ended up patching things up with Breanne a few months later. I knew what I wanted by then. Rather than feeling embarrassed for offering up my need for her so nakedly to her, I felt the conviction I've always felt when asking her for something that was sure to bring me no end of joy. When you know what you want and when you know the one person who can give it to you without hesitation, it's not wrong to be forthright in expressing your desires. People like Breanne like to know they're appreciated and that they can make you feel better about yourself.
Yes, it's good to be surprised by people entering in your life that you had no idea they would be coming. I mean--everyone's a stranger to you at some point. But my feeling at the moment is that it's even better to recognize the people in your life that you always want in it, and to let them know at every possible that all you want for Christmas, your birthday, &c... is anything and everything they are willing to offer you.