Oh cursed expectations, how I abhor thee.
It never ceases to amaze me how quickly things change. How life’s happenings, however small they may seem, rise up around us like quick sand and turn what should have been a lovely Memorial Day into a harrowing day and night of mounting character defects.
After last night’s short reunion with Lars, I was looking forward to today immensely. Lars arrived home in the wee hours of the morning from his tour, exhausted. I too was tired, still adjusting to being back on Pacific Standard Time. We shared a warm embrace before promptly passing out.
This morning, before leaving to run errands and feed my cat, we’d enjoyed a few hours of catching up between cat naps. I left Lars’ in the afternoon with plans to return in the evening. I was going to make a nice meal. We were going to relax and enjoy each other’s company after two long weeks apart. We both had adventures to recap and stories to tell. And, since my return on Wednesday night, I had been eagerly awaiting this fine Memorial Day. Expecting only the most happy and heartfelt debriefing with Lars.
Ah, but, ye ol’ expectations were not to be met. And, perhaps I should have known, having planned for this night for days, playing it out and imagining it, that it would not go as planned. And sure enough, the moment came where the shit hit the fan. Lars called to inform me that a friend of his was in from out of town and he was playing a show. Lars hadn’t known. But, he had tickets for us both, and we were going.
I stood in my living room, with the shopping list for our quiet, peaceful, romantic reunion dinner in hand, and my heart sank. How could the plans we’d made be so quickly and easily replaced? Why didn’t Lars want a night alone together the same way I did? My mind shifted from disappointment to anger.
We hadn’t seen each other for two weeks. We had plans. And now, this? A friend that he hardly spoke to or saw called to say, at the last minute, that he had tickets to his show in Portland and Lars was willing to drop everything to go? I felt slighted and unimportant. Suddenly our priorities, that I had thought to be so congruent, could not be more different. Worse than my feeling of anger was that I felt justified in it. AA warns us against feeling justified anger. It’s the worst kind. The kind that allows us to feel “good” in some way. The kind that entitles us.
Don’t think that I didn’t review my own thought processes here. I entertained the idea that I was being inflexible. That I had unrealistic expectations. That I was being selfish and self seeking. But, on the flip side of the coin, I truly felt in the right. We had plans. We are in love. We hadn’t seen each other in awhile and there was catching up to do. And, we had set plans. This was important, to me at least.
Was I wrong in feeling shafted? I’m still not sure.
But, in the moment, I told Lars that I would not go. I told him to go and be with his friends. He asked why he couldn’t have both. Why couldn’t I join him? And, while I entertained the thought momentarily, I felt too hurt, I knew there was no way for me to truly enjoy the evening at this point. And, so, I held to my principles, however rigid, that we had plans, and yet again, something trumped them. Trumped me.
Eventually the text messages back and forth ceased. I resigned myself to the fact that I wasn’t going to be seeing Lars tonight. And, I also knew: Lars was pissed. He was as pissed at me as I was at him, if not more so.
As the night went on, my brain flipped into crazy-town mode. Suddenly all these fears cropped up one by one. I played out every possible judgement Lars had of me, one by one. I decided I’d done the wrong thing, then, switched back to thinking I was in the right. Then, the tears. The hopeless lonely feeling that it was over. That, perhaps, we’d reached the impasse that we couldn’t work through. I was inflexible and he was insensitive. We both thought we were right. And, we’re both stubborn. No one’s going to budge.
And so, by 4AM, with raw, pink cheeks and eyes bloodshot from crying, I had come to the conclusion that this was it. This was the end. And, with each passing hour, I sat, waiting for the call from Lars where he would dump me.