Thursday, 8 March 2018

Addiction

If you'd told me when I was 22 that the day would come when I would cherish my ex-girlfriends, I would have called you mad.

As a young man, I did relationships like a drug. Heroin, to be specific. I loved hard, like diamonds, and lost harder. I wore rejection like a crown of thorns, bled from it like stigmata, dragged it across the earth like the Holy Cross. Cowardice, caprice, indifference, were feminine vagaries I could not forgive.

I was the ex-boyfriend from hell.

I don't know what changed. I didn't hear from my ex-girlfriends for years, and then I did. And I was ecstatic, like a pilgrim who falls to his knees on the far edge of the desert, weeping for the pain, and laughing for the weeping.

No-one was more surprised than I.

So perhaps, sometimes, even I grow up.

Perhaps even heal.

My ex-girlfriends are interesting, caring, engaging women, and a gift to my life. They have great husbands, brilliant children, and there is nothing I wouldn't do for any of them.

There's no word for this unexpected love. It's not possessive, like a lover's, or exclusive, like brother's, or conditional, like friend's.

It just is.

And whatever it is, it brings me endless joy.


(Adapted from Rough Around the Edges: A Journey Around Washington's Borderlands, copyright RK Henderson. Photo courtesy of Peter Dowley and Wikimedia Commons.)
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