It’s Purgatory, Not Hell

Purgatory — (in Roman Catholic doctrine) a place or state of suffering inhabited by the souls of sinners who are expiating their sins before going to heaven.

It was three in the afternoon, this afternoon, when this thought occurred to me. If you’ll recall in previous posts (many posts) I detailed my experiences with Abbey and the brief week of awesome (followed by our current status as “just work friends”) — this post is yet another follow up to those because I figured it out, at least in part.

I have identified the narrative. In the back of my mind, in the depths of the insanity where all my writing comes from, I’ve been holding onto the misconception that I was in a bit of a living hell as it concerns Abbey. I can look, but not touch. I can see her, but only at work. We can roll along, chemistry clicking, but see nothing come from it.

It was a bit hellish, but this afternoon I realized it wasn’t hell: it was purgatory. I’m stuck in purgatory, where I’m here to suffer before I can move onto something better.

It was a crushing realization. The day had been a good one because it was the only day during the week where I get to see Abbey — we both work mornings on Wednesdays, so I got to see her and my old crew (before I got moved to where I am now in the store, which is electronics — basically, the nerd section).

She and I were rolling along from the get go, even though I flubbed an easy compliment (I was trying to compliment her hair, which she dyed a bit of a darker blonde, but I didn’t stick the landing … which is to say I didn’t realize she dyed it and thought her roots were growing out, and complimented that and not the dye job. She laughed at it and me, of course, but still, it was nice).

And time, as per usual, just seemed to fly by with her and I together. Even after she clocked out and was shopping around the store (notably, the swimsuit sections which I had worked a few nights back and had thoughts on which, of course, I shared and then we tangented off into other things), we were still killing time and rolling along.

It’s almost enough to give me a sense of hope. That was until I realized the narrative — that I realized it was purgatory and then that sense of hope came crashing down. Things don’t get better in purgatory. You just suffer more to prepare yourself for the eventual ascension into heaven (in my case, something better, maybe Virginia).

I’m at the point now where I feel like I need to take matters into my own hands and just break it all into little pieces or score an upset victory by reigniting the fire, so to speak. And I have an in — my former boss guy in the store on the stock crew approached me this morning and was like “Hey, we’re shorthanded now and if you want to pick up some hours on a truck day, let me know and I’ll make it happen.”

I told him I’d definitely consider it and now, I think I need to absolutely take up that offer. Next Friday I’m off, a truck comes in, Abbey will be there, and I can be there just as long as she can — I can be just a regular old stock team guy for a day and, with that, I can try and figure out where I stand.

Honestly, I’m not sure where I stand. We stood in the swimsuit section of the store, while talking about clothes and swimsuits (she even showed me a few pairs of pants she had bought), and were great.

I want her. Badly. Not in just a physical sense (frankly, I would like to hold her hand again, I was really good at that — the kissing, not so much, but I can definitely improve), but in a spending time sense. And I don’t feel like this is wrong, even though rationally it certainly comes across as that.

And I really just want to start the conversation out with, “I want you badly. Is that wrong?” Because I feel like she’d have an answer, even though that would be an absolute horrible way to start a conversation. I don’t know if I’ll even manage to get her to a point where I can say that (it may be that I just have to say it to her in the store or as she’s leaving … even though that screams wrong to me because that’s an ambush and no one deserves to be ambushed).

But at the same time there needs to be some resolution, doesn’t there? Limbo sucks. Purgatory sucks.

There are two possible paths my life can go down (that I can see at least). Path A is the one I planned out when I got back to Alabama — get back to Virginia, convert to Catholicism, establish roots, be with people I love and care for.

Path B is the mystery path, shrouded in darkness with no real guideposts at all: all I know is I didn’t plan for Path B and it’s scary and dark, and I only want to go down that path if I have Abbey in hand. That’s the Abbey path — I have no idea what it is, but I know it’d be worth it if I had her by my side.

That’s got to count for something right?

Or am I merely fixated? The rational side of me says “YES” resoundingly to that question. I’m letting feelings and emotions overrule my rational sense, my logic. She’s Mormon. I’m not. She made the case — likely correctly — that were we together we’d end up at a point where we couldn’t keep going. We’d end up hurt, we’d end up unhappy, and we’d end up breaking up.

“Dating only results in one of two things: marriage or break-ups,” she said.

And she is technically right. Am I just refusing to acknowledge that fact out of pride?

I think, because I’m asking the question, the answer is probably not. But I want her — the word “want” being a dangerous word. If I want her, then it only stands to reason that I won’t get her. The narrative demands more suffering in purgatory, not less. The suffering cleanses and makes one’s love pure.

I don’t know how much more pure I can be in my intentions. I feel like the failures of other males she’s dated before me have unfairly colored her views of my words and my actions. She thinks I’m just doing it to flatter her or get something from her, maybe, and that’s — unfortunately — a valid thought process for the majority of my male counterparts.

And, yes, I’m trying to get something but it’s her I’m trying to get — not something from her, merely her presence.

“You can’t force someone to be with you,” says the people in my head. And that’s a true point. I can’t force her and I don’t want to force her, but I want to really know if she’s committed to the idea of us being done.

“Sore loser?” I’ve been that in the past. It’s entirely possible that’s the case here. I don’t think so, again.

As you can see I’m having trouble reconciling the feelings with the thoughts. The irrational with the rational.

If you have an ideas, let me know. Thanks for reading folks. God Bless.

 

One thought on “It’s Purgatory, Not Hell

  1. I feel you’re fixated. I think you’re obsessing. A big part of that is happening because your life in ‘Bama is work, home, and church. Abbey seems to be the only interesting girl within those three central areas of your Alabama life. Hence she looms far larger than she really should.

    I think she was incredibly kind to you, letting you down the way she did. I also think that she likes being friends with you and joking around with you. You’re probably one of the few interesting people she knows right now, too.

    That does not mean this romance should be rekindled.

    I also think what you’ve got in your head to say to her will not come across well at all. And forcing the issue will, more likely, make work exceptionally uncomfortable for both of you, as I believe she might feel that she’s forced to become harsher in saying no. Her letting you down easy might turn into her burning the bridge in order to get things to stop. And that would suck all around.

    I’m sorry. I know you like her. I get that. I also get that she is fun and smart and interesting, and so you are grabbing at this friendship like a life preserver. It’s also an early relationship in your life, so it looms even larger.

    But – here’s an anecdote. I have a friend who is a writer. He has a physical disability (he’s nearly completely blind) and so it was hard for him to date. He finally got a girlfriend for 4 months before she called it quits. I don’t recall the reason, but he was devastated by this loss. A few months after that, he started putting out feelers again, eventually beginning to spend time with a woman in another office of his work (he works for a large financial services company with multiple offices). They clicked. They married. That was all over 15 years ago. He’s a happy guy.

    A decade and a half ago, he thought the world had ended. It didn’t. He got past it.

    So will you.

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