By Nicholas Allanach
Life isn’t always logical. Oftentimes, people don’t make the best decisions; especially when you adore someone more than your own self. I suppose Bob Dylan was right when he said, “You can’t be wise and in love.” Of course, for sometime now I’ve wanted to believe Dylan is just a cynical old bastard; however, over this last horrible month of unexpected and painful rejection, coupled alongside hours of deep personal introspection –I’ve started to think Dylan is right: “You can’t be wise and in love.”
Back in the autumn of 1999, I was involved in one of those Sid & Nancy-esque relationships (not with the girl pictured, that's my wife). This relationship (before I met my wife) was one of those real fucked-up, cops-called-to-the-apartment-with-guns-drawn, cut-open chest, blood on the floor, showing up at my apartment in lingerie and a trench coat, viscous codependent scenes. Eventually, the girl who I thought was “the one” was actually nothing more than “the one” who wanted to turn my life into the inevitable Kurt Cobain shotgun to the head ending –“real horror show.” Fortunately, I wised up and left this girl for good. Unfortunately, getting to this point took some time and a lot of complication.
That Halloween, this girl and I were “on the outs.” We were no longer living together, our apartments were now ten miles apart, and I was trying to avoid all of her pleas for us to get back together. In a moment of weakness (or perhaps horniness), I decided to drive with her to her new apartment for a “visit.” After awhile, this visit inevitably turned into the usual sex-session and then fight. I decided I could not be with her anymore. I got wise (unfortunately, not until I busted a nut). I said, “I’m leaving” and began the ten-mile trek to my apartment in Portland.
While walking back to my place, she kept driving up alongside me, pleading with me to “get in the car.” Nevertheless, despite my exhaustion, my thirst, my hunger, and need for answers to this confusing situation, I kept my pace. Eventually, she realized it was no use and drove off without me. With each step I took, my mind began to feel rejuvenated and more confident of my decision to flee. I knew this journey would take me away from her and back to the sanity I wanted. Unfortunately, sanity was the last thing waiting for me when I got home.
She still had a key to my apartment, and while I was walking home, she drove her car ahead and let herself in. Accordingly, everything I’d worked for, and achieved up that point in life was gone. She tore up my paintings, broke my guitar in half and pushed the splintered neck through my amplifier, my computer and TV was smashed, my writing was torn up into little fragments all over the floor. In the bedroom, she had torn up the mattress with a knife, dumped KY lubricant all over my sheets, and—at some point during this insanity—wrote “Happy Halloween” in her own blood on the wall. Needless to say, the holiday has lost much of its childhood charm for me.
She was still in the apartment while I took in the seen. She stood there, shivering and weeping in the corner. A lesser man would have lashed out at her, screaming, and punching his way out of anger. I instead, said “I forgive you…now go.” She pleaded and apologized, begging to stay. I was mad and hurt. But I was now sure this girl was not “the one.” In fact, her actions had made it even easier for me to leave.
After she left, I began picking up all the broken pieces. I put everything neatly into trash bags and then lay alone on the cold floor of my empty apartment. Everything was gone. I vowed to never talk to her again. How could I ever be around someone who did this to me? Unfortunately, I was still unwise and “in love.”
Despite this obvious betrayal of trust and irrationally destructive behavior, I asked her to get back together with me one last time and invited her to come to New York City for the 2000 millennium celebration. Of course, part of my desperation at the time may have been attributed to the “end time/Y2K” anxiety, or maybe, that was just an excuse to not have to celebrate the evening alone, while my friend spent it with his longtime girlfriend.
While we were in New York, things went great: shopping, restaurants, and dancing. Until the night of the countdown: instead of celebrating with everyone else, she barricaded herself into a room and didn’t come out all night, despite my pleas. I’m still not entirely sure as to why. Nevertheless, I realized then, finally, she was not “the one.” She was a damaged and deranged, sick girl. If she could not exist with me here in the city I eventually planned to live in, then what future could we really have?
Our bus ride back to Portland was long and silent. Nothing could save us now. We were done. Of course, she kept calling, showing up at my work, pleading with me to get back together with her. Things “could change.” But I stood firm with my decision. Time is too short to be wasted on those not ready to live certainly and sanely with themselves, let alone with others. Eventually, the calls stopped and she ceased showing up at my work. I’ve heard from some people she’s not doing so well anymore, too bad. I’m now living in New York City, working, writing, and illustrating my dreams. Unwise decisions made while in love couldn’t take this away from me, and never will.
I do not reject love. In fact, love is (as another great rock & roll saint declared) “all you need.” Unfortunately, when we seek the validation of ourselves through an Other—through love—we run the risk of forgetting what kind of validation we were originally searching for in the first place. Ultimately, I found love again. It is a love I feel so strongly about because it validates everything I’ve always been looking for in a woman. Accordingly, my beautiful, caring, happy, talented, and amazing wife became “the one.”
Unfortunately, Bob Dylan’s quote is now rattling through my head despite this, (currently estranged) happiness: “You cannot be wise and in love.” Maybe it’s just because my wife and I are now suffering from our own complication? I guess I can only hope history does not repeat itself; because, after all, I may have been unwise with this girl before, and probably gave her way too many chances to regain what we shared; but never again. My patience is now short. Eventually, I will not call. I will not write. I will still dream—even as I walk away—but this time, wiser than before