“We will one day get back to what we know as normal.” 

What the hell is that suppose to mean? That’s the last line of her email regarding her acknowledgement of our seventh year anniversary last week. It’s the first non negative email in weeks. Simple, detached and without any zeal for the “us” she used to have. How did we get here, broken up, estranged and her largely emotionless? Normal? We’re pretty effing far from normal now to know how to get back.

There’s a ton of damage laying on that return route even if we figured out how. Shit, at this point I’ll take being “just friends” over “just who are you?” But it might be important to tell the story of this evolution in the support of polyamory curious partner from the beginning. And the beginning goes back a pretty long way for us both…

For the sake of her privacy, we’ll call her Kristen. She grew up in a small central Washington tourist town by a lake. Her graduating class consisted of something like 20 people. She’s the middle child wedged between two brothers. Her parents are known around town, because they are generally friendly, decent small town folk. They have a strange relationship with her, and she constantly doubts herself because of it. She keeps those self doubts close to the vest.

She’s a sports nut and played softball growing up with her dad as her coach. She rocks basketball shorts and tank tops and swears by sunscreen. She’s a fun goofball and really plays up her “blond” bit. She doesn’t do makeup, she’s not girly, but very feminine when she’s encouraged to be herself.

She’s so bad at exaggerating a story, but she wasn’t the lying type, just a bad bullshitter. And that bs was super funny most of the time. If you just listen, she’s genuine. Her memory sucks far too bad to fake being anything other than who she is. She was loyal to a point, but that point was far past where the average woman’s threshold would be.

Kristen was bad at men, but looking back she never dated a “man”, just some immature prick who she was usually embarrassed of. Was this a “small town, think small selection” thing? And these dudes usually took advantage of her in some way. Whether it was making her pay the tab, using her to find the party, or never questioning her if she was ever satisfied. With anything. She’s largely independent, maybe overcompensating, and she would make the guy leave as soon as the sex was over. “What’s the point of having them hanging around?” she’d say.

When we met working at a medical clinic, neither one of us knew what to do with the other. She was so fiercely independent, she was alone. Seemingly lonely. I was so broken and stripped of everything, I was alone. Stone cold lonely. Then we fixed the loneliness and empowered each other to be something bigger than our circumstances. Someone happier in life and someone better to ourselves. We found each other and she started healing my scars. And my scars were plenty…

Rory Andes