Casualty: Psalms 91 – 100

(This is the final part of a multi-part entry. Check out the first, second, third, and fourth entries)

When anxiety was great within me,
    your consolation brought me joy.

Psalms 94:19 (NIV)

A little less than a year later, Ansley agreed to meet with me in order to go over the “whole situation.” After that passionate evening – the kissing, tree climbing, the frigid wish-wash – was a month of dating, two of confusion, and then a half dozen in anger. It had become clear to her after some time that I was using my relationship with her in order to figure out my own sexual identity. She felt betrayed – rightfully so. I had taken her side against me shortly after we had given up talking and separated. She was the first woman to ever call me out on this behavior – on the knowing deceit I participated in. Confusion on my part was allowed – there isn’t a clear-minded soul out there – but I could not manipulative the feelings of others in the process of figuring out myself. I regretted all of it.

So we met on the porch of a Fellini’s Pizza but didn’t order anything except a pint of beer each. The conversation began with a prolonged silence. We slouched in our chairs.

She spoke first. She wanted to say her piece. That was fair. I let her.

She did not ask for an explanation – I think she had prepped herself not to expect one, or perhaps, to not expect a satisfying one.

I said I was sorry.
She said okay.
I explained my thought process, my headspace, where I was coming from, my confusion.
She said okay.

I had not prepared anything to say, so I started to improvise. No, I did not lie, but I had taught myself for so long not to analyze that I had not yet thought the whole situation through. I knew my fault, yes, and I knew why, yes – but I had not yet figured out the next step – how I would take this experience and… move forward.

I told her I would not do this again.
She looked dissatisfied.
I guaranteed her that I would not do this again.
She said okay.

Was that a promise I could keep? I didn’t know.

So where did that leave us now, we thought, or maybe we said out loud.

I realized then that I had won this situation, if a winner could have been chosen. I was the arbiter, the one who had inflicted the damage, and then, a year later, she absolved me of my sin. I witnessed the potential damage I could do by using others as taste tests for my sexuality. And what had she gotten from it? What lesson did she learn?

So I told her.

You don’t get anything from this situation.
You are a casualty of my growth.

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