To All My Loves

24 Jun

All the men in my life have had different names for me.  With Trey it was Sammers and then it became Sambo (cousin of Rambo).  For some reason that one stuck and he still calls me that; that’s how I know he loves me.

For Robbie it was Rubes and then Stein, taking apart my last name to mark two separate relationships. That’s how I knew it was over.

Brian called me Bug, which was inspired by me shouting, ‘Love Bug,’ as I left his apartment one day.  I’ve never been very good with nicknames.  They’re always awkward – sticky paper on the tongue that I strip over to reveal a residue no one wants to be covered in.

We laughed about it, the absurdity of me calling anyone lovebug.  We were absurd together.  Our conversations mostly consisted of us passing the phrase, ‘I love you to one another.’  He’s the only one I don’t talk to anymore.  He squashed me.

Len never had a nickname for me and yet I thought we’d marry.  He was the first person to call me Samantha-only.   We broke up after four days of living together.

Next was Phil who again picked up Rubes.  I should’ve known it wasn’t going to work out; that you can’t let someone take you backwards to something that nobody calls you anymore.  I should’ve known that he was going to leave me for another because we never took each other very seriously.  Yet, we cried when we said goodbye.

With Vinay I became the Pantha and we tried to claw each other apart, so it never got past that.  When he told me he thought, “people were trying to kill him,” I knew it was time to go.

To Simon I was sexy, to Martin I was someone who never responded, to David I was Princess and to Galegher I was the girl who never stopped pining over his best friend.

Before and between all of these men there was Matty, and I was his Sam.

We had known each other since we were three and were each other’s supposed first kiss, though I don’t know if those count at the age of five.  I dramatically “broke-up” with him at age eight and we never kissed again.  I cried for days when he told me he was engaged, yet I couldn’t imagine life being any other way.

Nor could I imagine allowing another man to name me.  I was 27 and exhausted.  I felt that the little heart I had left was mine; broken pieces of me rattled within, and when I glued it all back together it felt too precious to give to anyone else.

Then I met Josh, and he looked at me said, “let me in,” because he knew he wasn’t getting past any other way.

For some reason I listened, though alcohol helped, and when I look back I know that’s why we ended up slow-dancing to Billie Holiday in my hotel room.  In the morning I turned to him and said, “Let’s pretend like we don’t know each other,” and he conveniently left his sweater in my room.

When he came back it was because, “it was his favorite sweater,” he kissed me, and suddenly I turned into Samanthy.

I didn’t think I could have another name: from Sam, to Sammers, and Sambo, from Rubes to Stein, ManthaPantha and everything else in-between.  There didn’t seem like there was anything else to call me.

Yet there I was being someone’s Samanthy and different words left my mouth.  It stifled me, so we opened up the relationship, making a path for me to call myself something – breath came easier.

Men continue to flit in and out of my life, but I am and forever always mine.

There have been too many names, too many moments, too many disappointments and at the end of the day as the years pass you learn that you are you and no one else’s.  You run, scream and slip endlessly away until there is nothing left to hold onto anymore and your liberated soul laughs at all the other selves you thought you could be.

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