Wednesday 12 March 2008

Joanna, I Must Let You Go

It's been eleven long years.
Eleven LONG years.

I lost your photo two years ago. Otherwise, I guess it would still be there in my wallet today.
I think I did look at it most days.

I never stopped loving you. But that love has determined every action I have taken. It made me everything I am, for good, or for ill.
No one else was ever you.

I still don't know where you came from. You were there in the morning, you were holding me, and I don't know how you got there.
You changed my life. There was nothing complex about it, I loved you so much it hurt, and you felt the same.
It was the other things that ruined it.
I was young and full of male pride.

I don't think before then, I'd ever felt love in that way. You made me believe that I could be loved, and I loved you with every fibre of my being.

I cared too much about how other people judged you. I cared too much about my own dignity. I allowed concerns about your sexual behaviour to bother me.
I was stupid.
You were virtuous and pure in a far higher sense of those terms.
You were, and no doubt still are, a paradigm of womanhood.

And I never stopped to think how lucky I was to have your love.

Because no love that has ever been offered me since, was worth a penny by comparison.

I have lived in the shadow of your pedestal ever since.

For years afterwards, I wanted vengeance. Not on you, because I loved you, but I wanted people to feel the heartbreak I'd felt, the pain I still carried with me. I think a part of me, for a long time, sought to break hearts, just to let people know how it felt.
I could never shake you out of my head.

And then, years later, we got back in contact.
It gave me closure, yes, but it didn't end your role in my life.
Because I knew, that in some bizarre way, you'd always love me. You had given me that. For years I had felt that pain, thought that it had just been me that had suffered. To know that you had carried it with you too, gave me strength.

It made me not need love. Because I knew you would remember me till your dieing day. That was enough. And to have your love, even as a memory, even as a past failure, was prize enough. A far greater prize than finding love in the present.
The knowledge that once, I had you, has been enough to carry me through.
No woman has ever met your standards.

I can still taste the tears I kissed from your eyelids.
I can still feel the curve of your shoulderblade.
And I'll never forget that you had no idea who Michael Portillo was. That's partly why I loved you.

You were defenceless, vulnerable, innocent.

I have spent my life looking for your twin.

I will always carry what we had within me, it was Pure Love, Love as it should be.
For so long, I shut myself down and only allowed myself an occasional internal glimpse at your pedestal.

I think I'm finally ready to let you go.

Finally ready to realise, that for a woman to be as good as you, doesn't mean she has to BE you.
And to accept that not only have I never had the love of a woman like you since, I wouldn't deserve it anyway.
The women who have given me their love since, were not worthy of being considered your successors. I should not disrespect your memory in the way I have.

But most importantly, I really should ONLY give my love to women of your standard. Even if they don't give it back.

In my heart, I've never betrayed you.
But finally, I think, I must let you go.

Goodbye, Joanna.
I loved you.

And I STILL don't forget, this was our song.


Anonymous said...

Well we all have to move on's never good for our future to dwell too much on our pasts.

Anonymous said...

This brought tears to my eyes...
Hmmm, I wonder, though - you seem open enough about sex; what could have bothered you about her sexual behaviour....?

We all have our Joannas; the ones who set the course of our lives; whom we live for, almost, by virtue of the past we've had with them. But for me; I guess I'm still idealistic enough to think I'd go through those 11 years you waited before settling for second best. But then again, on one hand, it seems that if we don't let go of the past, we can't move on. On the other... if no one else compares to perfection, it wouldn't be fair to settle with someone whom you considered 'second-best', because that person deserves to be the 'best' to someone else.

Anonymous said...

Beautifully written. "Letting go" is the hardest thing but we all have to, eventually.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes letting go of the past is the first step to starting the future.


Anonymous said...

Oestrebunny- I kind of forget I was dwelling on it. It was always there in the back of my head. Every time a woman started to piss me off, I'd think 'Shut the f**k up, who do you think you are? You ain't a patch on Joanna.'

But here's something. D's a sort of Joanna, very similar personality. I wasn't sexually attracted to her, which is why our friendship works, because I never let it, I find it quite easy to control the sexual attraction to make sure I don't fall in love with friends, but often, there's a sense in which that personality type, is the type of woman I prefer to be around.

Eve- Firstly, it tends to do that to women, I'm afraid. I tell them that story, they quite all teary eyed, and then think they should try and replace Joanna, to sort my life so I can move on and not be such a Dorian Grey about life.

Your point on me current attitudes to sex; not then. This is affected the evolution of my viewpoint.
The relationship failed because she couldn't deal with the guilt she felt from being unfaithful.
Deep down, I kind of figured she was, but ignorance is bliss, and as long I didn't have to confront it, I was happy.
Because My view THEN, were those of a proper Catholic boy, I still had grandiose ideas about marrying a virgin.

Over time, my view on that has swung completely the other way, partly because I know now, that if I hadn't cared WHO she had sex with, because I got to slep with her every ight, with her head on my shoulder, that would have ben fine for me.

I loved her that much.

Welshcakes- Because it's true. She was just- lovely. Flawless. Her personality so PURE, so LOVING. She was just- nice.
That's it. She was just a NICE girl. In a real sense, she NEVER EVER did ANYTHING to cause me pain, except shag around, and if I hadn't had male pride, it would just have been heaven for life.

But hey, there ARE other girls out there as good as her. I know that now.

Ms S- It's taken a long time. But it does feel better.
At last, I don't think I miss her any more.

Anonymous said...

You know we all make our first love into a huge thing in retrospect. Especially if we were cast off.

Even when we have other later relationships the first one is still the most important in our minds because that's when we learned what love was all about in real life.

I guess I would see my love sleeping around as not truly being in love with me. I think your current way of thinking about love is to accommodate this regret for Joanna. If love and sleeping around were the norm then why wouldn't everyone think this way? But of course they don't.

One day Crushed, the perfect one for you will cross your path and you'll look back on all this angst and laugh.

Anonymous said...

I understand! It all changes things .... *nods* Yes, that's why we change, and that's a large part of why I started out my blog the way it was; to be what one hates, because it caused one's ruin; to just bounce right to the other end of the spectrum, not caring anymore...
And now I see why you've decided that it's okay if one's partner wasn't completely 'pure' in a sexual sense; the person they are is worth so much more...

Anonymous said...

jmb- Ultimately, yes, it all comes back to Joanna.
I sdo think that a lot of current sexual jealousy IS a social construct, because it is overcomeable, and you can learn in fact, not to desire sexual fidelity from your partner.

I've not experienced sexual jealousy in years.

Eve- :) Bang on. If they are worth your love, then it's unreasonable to expect that you'll have their body all to yourself. That's just greedy and possessive.
If she's worth THAT much, you should be happy to share. At least you get the part of her that matters.

Anonymous said...

By the way Crushed, does this mean that you would be sleeping around too? Would you really want to if this was the love of your life?

Like Open marriage? And we all know how successful that was.

Anonymous said...

jmb- :) Sadly, I doubt I'd have either the time or the energy.

Besides, the theoretical IDEAL, is being exclusive to a woman who isn't. If that makes sense. I think I could live up to the that.

I've not, to date, been particularly good on the whole fidelity thing, but I think it's honesty that is the key- not lieing or hiding things from the person you purport to love.

I think open marriage CAN work, in theory. It just needs a shift if ones own perception and rising above the desire to own.

Of course, this is speculation. I haven't actually tried this experiment out, which is why sometimes, I think I need to.

Anonymous said...

Your post touched me and I have just read through the comments and I agree that honesty is the key issue.