Saturday, September 24, 2011

Forever? Whatever. (part 2 - breakup post)

(This is part 2 of  Forever? Whatever. (an anniversary post).)

I remember the exact moment I fell in love with Dave. We were in the band sleeping quarters behind the venue we'd just played in Cologne, Germany. It was the first week of February. I had come down with the flu earlier that morning, broke a fever mid-day, and by the time we hit the stage that night I was delirious. It was bad, the kind of flu that's more like a ghostly possession, like some sickly shadow of a long-gone soul inhabiting your body and forgetting how to use it. In the middle of our set it took me, and either not remembering how to hold it or how to excuse oneself, it peed my pants. Well,  I peed my pants. In front of 300 people. With the man I was about to fall in love with standing beside, guitar in hand, laughing, as I told the entire crowd what had happened (which I did not out of possession but because I am a moron.)

After the show I hobbled off on my crutches (did I not mention that I also had a fractured bone?) to the sleeping area to change and clean up. The band quarters were quiet and empty. Sounds from the crowd outside drifted in. The heat in the building hadn't been turned on yet and it was so cold I could see my breath in the bathroom. Teeth chattering, miserable, freezing, sick, sweaty, urine-covered, feverish, and one-legged, I peeled my pee-pants off and climbed into a shower that was no bigger than a port-o-potty, turned the nozzles and prepared to cleanse in a purifying stream of scalding hot water but was met instead by a single, icy drip.

I twisted and contorted my body beneath it, trying to rinse the shampoo out of my hair but succeeding only in patting the lather down. As I tried to rinse the soap from my goose flesh my whole body quaked from the cold in full-body hypothermic shakes. I became too exhausted to stand and braced myself against the wall, wincing each time my weight shifted to my injured leg. The laughter of my band mates and the crowd continued to drift in through the window, and, perched like a flamingo in that leaking refrigerator of a shower, too cold to get out, too cold to stay in, sick, in pain, and alone, I cried in frustration.

After the shower I crawled into my bunk and drifted off to the sounds of the guys filtering in, boisterous and hungry as usual. Forks scraped on the giant, metal containers that held the remnants of our meal from earlier that day. Dave tiptoed over and shook me gently. "Davin? Davin? You awake?" I was, but couldn't move to tell him. "You awake? Wake up and drink some tea. Come on, you need some tea." I pulled my bag down and nodded. Dave crept into the next room like a mouse, trying not to disturb me. Two minutes passed and suddenly Dave was screaming, "Is this fucking thing broken?! How the fuck does it work?! DAVIN NEEDS TEA!!!!" and then came the sound of someone trying to strangle an electric water boiler. The guys grew quiet, and I giggled under my sleeping bag. Two minutes later Dave was back at side, smiling sympathetically, gingerly presenting me a steaming cup.

Dave had chosen a sleeping spot near me that night, he always did. And as we always did, we stayed up late telling each other our deep, dark secrets- me through the haze of influenza, him through his barriers that I was the first to bridge (Dillon, if you read this that was for you.) Then it happened.

The guys were in the next room eating and talking loudly. Dave lay in the bunk adjacent to mine, the tops of our heads nearly touching, his eyes turned up to mine. We were talking, Dave said something, then blinked. When he spoke, he spoke as my friend. When he blinked, he blinked as my friend. But when his eyes looked back at mine... well. I was shocked by what I saw. He had, without a doubt, the most beautiful eyes I had ever seen. I suddenly noticed the strange milky-blue hue of his whites. The odd ashy shade of his eyebrows, the giant, shining, grey blue eyes themselves, vibrant and subdued at the same time as if they were painted by a skilled and subtle hand. He was a quiet masterpiece. He was, without a doubt, the most handsome man I'd ever seen in my life. But it didn't stop there.

It wasn't just the color of his eyes that shocked with me their depth and complexity. It was everything about him. He was caring, loyal, kind, and funny. Humble yet confident, positive and motivated. He was someone who I trusted completely, and someone who trusted me back. He'd seen me at my worst and stayed by my side. He'd seen me at my best and been happy for me. He was, it dawned on me then, right then in that 1 second where his eyes flashed away and back to mine, the singularly most spectacular human I'd ever met, and all I wanted to do from that moment on was be with him all of the time in whatever way possible for as long as I could. My whole body, my mind, warmed. I was in love.

That was in 2009. Dave and I have spent the days and years that followed  in domestic and hardcore bliss, living together, touring together, eating and writing and recording and working together- doing everything, together. Never have I experienced a love or happiness so all-encompassing as the love and happiness I share with Dave.

Which is why it was so hard to break up.

Here's more or less exactly what happened as told by mostly- (semi-not-really-ok-yes-we-really-talk-like-this) fictional dialogue:

"Um... I think we're just friends. I think our relationship is over."
"Really? Hmmm I don't know. I still love you."
"Oh I still love you too, but think about it... this seems kind of... over... right?"
"....You know, I think you're onto to something. Holy shit."
"I know right?"
"Man this sucks."
"I know, I wish I could change it. But we had a good run right?"
"We had a great run! Wait so... how does this work? Does one of us move out? Isn't that what happens in break ups?"
"You don't want to live with me?!?!"
"No of course I do! Do you want to live with me?"
"Duh. We live so well together."
"Yeah we do. But... can we do that?"
"I think so..."
"... Ok good. So we'll live together and when the lease is up..."
"...when the lease is up..."
"...we can get another place?"
"I love living with you!"
"I love living with you!"
"So if we like uh, see other people we just won't bring them home."
"Ok... cool."
"This isn't going to be easy..."
"... but we'll find a way to make it work."
"You aren't going to leave my life are you?"
"Pshh what are you, crazy? I'll always be here. We're partners in life."
"Yeah, we are.... Man, people aren't going to understand this."
"No, but people are stupid. Who cares."
"I love you."
"I love you too."


Several friends have told me that Dave and my breakup proves to them that love isn't real, but I think that's just insane. I think our break up proves the opposite.

Dave and I loved each other as friends, then our love deepened when it became romantic, and now- and I've got to admit this surprised me- our love has deepened yet again by breaking up. Because neither one of us wanted to be in a romantic relationship that wasn't right for the other, and we're both horrified by the idea of being apart- but not because we're comfortable, not because we're scared, but because we legitimately love being around each other.We inspire each other,and we have so much left to do together. Bands to start. Classes to take. Brunches to make. Inside jokes to tell again and again and again. Countries to visit, trains to ride, foreign disease to catch and cure. Neither of us is willing to throw that away just because one element of our relationship has changed.

I'm not thrilled by the idea of him seeing other people, and likewise he's not thrilled about me doing the same, but we are willing to navigate these uncharted waters, perilous as they may be, because to sail without the other is an agony that neither of us can endure. I would, and will, go to the ends of the earth for Dave. I will arrange my life to make sure the shape of his fits in. We aren't together, but we will always be together, and this is proof that love can be truly unconditional, continuous, forever.

Forever? Whatever. I'm a believer.


  1. I don't know about this. Hmm. If you're ok with it, I'd like to call you sometime and chit chat about this topic - considering I've been obsessing over the topic for the past 9 months myself (since my break up).

  2. omg, I read this whole thing and it made me cry and I was just going to thank you for posting your thoughts and experience because it is so very relatable (this past 9 months, after my break up), and then I see that Dustin was the first to comment, haha. Good grief, now I feel bad that you drew two damaged people out of the woodwork, lol. Thank you for sharing your sweet love/breakup story. -Alison

  3. thats pretty awesome that you can know/trust someone enough that breaking up doesnt really effect how you look at that person. i'd feel really awkward if i was with someone and we broke up........"oh fuck, i have to move out!" or something like that.......i think someday id like to have that kind of relationship, or at least that level of trust with someone........right now it doesnt seem possible for me..........