Alma and Charlie have been out here for over an hour. They're half-asleep, curled up underneath a brown and beige blanket. It's something that Charlie's mother made him for Christmas. Alma loves it. Right now, she's pointing out constellations with a wave of her finger. Charlie is laughing and listening to her tell stories about how each of them were formed. She knows so much about things that aren't worth knowing. But, he seems to like it. The way she seems to like how he has an opinion about everything, even if he has no business doing so.
It's funny how we see the traits in the people we love, versus the same traits in the people we don't. I might find Charlie annoying and pretentious, if he wasn't making Alma so happy. I might find Alma annoying and manipulative if she didn't always put a smile on every face. I might find Ryan dismissive and self-involved, like I once saw Fox. But I don't. Why? I thought I loved Fox, but I didn't. I was in love with the idea more than the person. I saw him in the light of the savior he once was to me. When he stopped being that, he stopped being anything. I never saw that I fell out of love. I never would have, if it weren't for something shaking up the snow globe my life had settled into. I might have never seen the snow was little pieces of Styrofoam. It wasn't real. At best, it was a stage. My life had become a performance. Pretending I was fine when I wasn't. Hiding my real feelings and screaming inside my head and heart. Lying to myself about where Fox was always going when the truth was right in front of my eyes. Acting like everything was fine when we were out together. Every aspect of my life was about giving the outside world a show. A performance.
Go figure, when Frankie turned my life into a literal performance, everything felt real. The spotlights gave me anxiety, made me shake and quake in my shoes. But it made me feel and I began to realize that feeling anything is better than feeling nothing. Then anxiety became excitement. The make up artists painting my
face into colors turned me into something I no longer recognized.
Yet, somehow it felt like taking off the mask. Writing became a way to let out the demons I had been trying to hide, even though it's all about the reception of the words. I cared so much less when I finally had a reason to start caring. Because when I had a reason to, I had no desire. I stopped caring about the reception and started doing what I wanted to do with my own life.
He showed me what it meant to be alive. Then he took off.
I wondered why until right this second, standing on the balcony with the three people I've been the closest to in my entire life. When Frankie finally gets here, he won't be an answer for me. He won't be my life line. He'll be an addition to the life I made without him. I won't attribute him with fixing the mess I had made of myself. Sure, he bought this house. But, it was more for Alma than it was for me. Alma doesn't have a savings account with all the money she has ever made. I do. I could afford to buy a house if I wanted to. I didn't need his money. I didn't need his help. He didn't get me the job that pays the bills and buys our food. He didn't help me to make new friends and build a life for myself. He didn't get Alma a boyfriend, or give her a new direction with her writing. He didn't fix our messes. He gave us the means to fix them ourselves. He showed me reality, then left me to figure it out for myself.
Because he didn't want to be my savior.