The Book Life

Evidence of Abandonment | April 3, 2011

It feels like you left me.
It does feel, remarkably, like abandonment.
Abandonment, however, I am reminded,
can be tricky to prove. So can feelings.

The initial issue, obviously, is the standard of review:
objective or subjective? Will we be inviting the reasonable man
into our degenerate history? Or can my feelings count?

Your first line of defense, I’m willing to bet more than I have,
will be that you were never with with me in the first place:
You can’t abandon a place you’ve never been.
I’ll counter with evidence of all those times you walked out of bars with me,
all those mornings of not getting out of bed.
I’ll call the cashier at the vaguely organic grocery
to testify to your morning cigarette purchases, me at your side,
probably rolling my eyes. Also the kid working at the ice cream stand,
we went there more than once, and it’s likely he’ll remember
a twenty-ounce milkshake ordered at ten in the morning.
And my friends will agree: you were with me.
I expect your witnesses to to point to your many disclaimers.
The many times you made yourself clear:
“I don’t do relationships.”
There first will be an argument about that statement’s
inherent ambiguity, and whether it means anything at all;
I know a thing or two about interpretation.
There’s also a question of whether the introduction of the disclaimers
is estopped by your obvious behavior to the contrary
(on which I relied, to my definite detriment).
Which meant more: words or actions? An almost classic dilemma.

And the evidence of my feelings.
This is primarily a matter of courage.
Journal entries admitted as exhibits for all to see.
It will require admitting that I allowed myself
to be abandoned, and that I still care.
I also expect that many will call me an idiot for ending up here.
After all, there were disclaimers.
I don’t need to invite that kind of ridicule.

But I need you to acknowledge the abandonment-
without reference to those “disclaimers.”
I clearly didn’t believe them;
I’m not sure you did either. At least not always.
I feel abandoned. Just admit it,
and I can stop trying to prove it,
can stop saving these terrible hurt feelings
for some kind of future


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