Not Quite the Fairy Tale Ending


A letter arrives from MGL.

He is in prison in south Georgia.

This is no place for a liberal activist with a big mouth who has been accused under the Patriot Act of being a terrorist

Legally, this is equivalent to social suicide and I have known for months that he is lost to me. He never returned from the November protest, after we had our steamy goodbye on the balcony overlooking the city and he promised to return in January. When he didn’t come back, I assumed he had been arrested; he was the Hayduke of my love affairs so this would be entirely fitting – as unjustifiable as it is. And I have never been the type of girl to muttle in prison affairs – it is simply not of interest to me, nor any part of the picture I paint for myself when it comes to a life-long partner. Obviously.

But the letter says more. It explains the bout MGL and I went through in October, where he momentarily held me off for reasons unbeknownst to me. I believed him when he finally let me back in last Fall, holding me in his arms and tugging at my shirt. He had said, “I’ve got a woman here, she could be all I need” – meaning me.

We both wrote passionately – he as an activist reporter, I as a non-fiction narrative perfectionist. Our lovemaking was transformative; like two potential selves meeting in an ethereal existence. And even when he was on the road, he called in an infatuated frenzy from a roadside pay phone. “I just had to baby,” he had said, “You were on my mind.”

The bout, he says, was to keep me “at bay” while he puttered away in his mind about a woman he had met at a Widespread Panic show – the same show he invited me to but I turned down because I wanted to be awake for the kids at work the next day. If only I had gone…

The point is this, he articulates: He was with her while he was with me. “I know I’m an asshole,” he writes, and my stomach churns with the thought of how completely fucked up this situation has become. I drop the letter one page at a time next to the woodstove, where I sit on my knees to read by firelight and yes – the tears come.

I am both disgusted and relieved. I had wanted some closure once it became clear he wasn’t coming back. But it dawns on me that now I have to go get tested and I grow suddenly very angry. It dawns on me further that this is not the first time a man has fallen intensely for me, and I for him – only have him turn around and say later, “Oh, things with us were juuuuust off by a sliver, and I met this amazing woman and now we’re getting married.”

That’s right. He is marrying the woman from the Widespread Panic show. In fifteen months. When he gets out of jail.

Is this really my life?
(Follow the hyperlinks in this blog, especially if you’re a new reader…it will explain things a lot better and give a context.)

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