San Francisco, California

A Thousand Ships

“I have a partner and I live with him,” O said abruptly on our third date as we were in bed together. She was embarrassed to say it, her eyes impossibly and tragically gray-blue (those eyes being the kind of stupid color that launches a thousand ships and breaks a million hearts, etc. etc.) Once the words were out in the open though she looked away in embarrassment, as if she felt too much and figured out precisely how the words would do their damage.

We had spent only a few hours together but the chemistry was impossible and overwhelming already. We were both stunned by it in fact, horrified by the quickness of our feelings. It was like fate and destiny and love aren’t just bedtime stories for children and that there really is someone out there waiting for you. Someone with stupidly beautiful eyes and a gig in data science.

(And someone who happens to be almost-married.)

My introduction to polyamory was then swift and heartbreaking and somehow...ok at the same time. Although looking back perhaps it was the distance between us that was so attractive. O is impossibly brilliant and funny and yet she’s someone I could never be fully with, never fully love, and that me made me love her even more.

That distance between us was the competition, not this guy she was more than halfway married to.

Even when she disappeared for a few weeks, a quick getaway to England for a friend’s wedding, we talked on the phone and whilst we’re laughing I hear his voice in the background. Her almost-husband is out there in the static and the hubbub of the wedding and I can tell it’s his. But oddly enough I don’t feel anger. I don’t imagine myself in his position. I don’t want his relationship with O, and I don’t resent him for it.

Surprisingly I feel pity when I hear his voice because I know that he’ll never have this brief moment between O and me. This one right here, the one where I’m making her laugh until she can’t control herself. And it’s there in that distance between us, and in the laughter so loud that I can’t hear anything else, that I’ve already forgotten his voice has been drowned out by all the jokes.

I am ruining this wedding from 5,000 miles away.

And I am enjoying it.