Static (Essay)

Tania PeraltaWords by Tania Peralta.

I get a series of little earthquakes at my heart when I think of how much my first day in Toronto changed and will forever affect the rest of my life. I showed up almost overnight into the world of an already existing community of people whose social, familial, and political dynamics still, in one way or the other, affect me still each and every single day.

Maybe if I hadn’t packed so many things he wouldn’t have had to come downstairs and help me with my bags. He was moving out of the bedroom I was moving into. I was an 18-year-old ticking time bomb and when I first saw him everything inside me went off. But that was business as usual for a lover like me. That’s how it always happens for a lover like me. I know what I want when I see it and I love it instantly, but he had no idea how to have me.

I know what I want when I see it and I love it instantly, but he had no idea how to have me.

Our relationship was so automatic, it was like a veil had been taken off from both of our eyes and we were suddenly together. No questions were asked between the two of us. We lasted in some sort of honeymoon phase for almost six months until I found him in the living room, late one night, researching documents that were anti my choice of faith. What. The. Fuck. I was so hurt and confused. Not for a second had I tried to enforce my beliefs into his life, but here he was gathering ammunition for our next religion related discussion. It wasn’t so much that he was researching, for how could I be mad at that? It was that it seemed as if he was getting pleasure out of contradicting something that played such a big role in the fundamentals of who I am to this day. It was like he was being taught how to unlearn me without knowing me truly in the first place.

I had to break up with him. It was a test that we both failed.

It was like he was being taught how to unlearn me without knowing me truly in the first place.

We were back together within a week for another four months. Though, after the first break up we never bounced back not as a couple and not as friends, but we continued to exist together. I even moved in. It was strange for everyone around us including our dog, I mean, I guess she was his. We were two ex lovers living in one roof. He kept telling everyone it was the least he could do for me. I had always been so supportive. We were splitting bills and helping each other financially whenever necessary. He even let me have the bigger bedroom, the one with two closets. I was a mess in all ways, getting blackout drunk and banned from campus residencies only to have his best friend have to come rescue me almost every night I went out. He was embarrassed and so was I. There was no movement, not even physically. He never left Parkdale and I was so comfortable with that. To this day, the comfort I found in being so static with him during that time in my life still creeps up on me every time I get on the 504 and try to get the hell out of Parkdale.

I wanted to be a complement to his life in all ways, but I couldn’t be. I wanted to go out and live new experiences outside of the community we were so stuck in.

I wanted to be a complement to his life in all ways, but I couldn’t be. I wanted to go out and live new experiences outside of the community we were so stuck in. He’d go on and on about the places he wanted to travel to, but he never did. I needed someone that would recognize my affection and want it, but he never did. The life-long family he had in Parkdale became my own. His best friend was like my brother. His second mom was like my second mom.

I spent two years with him, two years that seemed to feel like absolutely nothing each and every single day. When I finally moved out, my own, new world–though it was still so deeply connected to the family and community that took me in while we had been together–was finally turning at a pace fast enough to keep me going and take care of the itch I had for a new life.

This immense sense of guilt came over me for ever making him feel like we had actually been in love, for sticking around with him in such a static state for so long.

It didn’t take long. I fell in love so quickly again. He had no idea who I was by the time I was in the arms of another. He was devastated. I couldn’t stand hearing him or seeing him broken. I felt awful. This immense sense of guilt came over me for ever making him feel like we had actually been in love, for sticking around with him in such a static state for so long. What I was feeling with my new lover was so much more. I felt so guilty hearing him mumble memories from that honey-moon phase we experienced together because looking back we never stood a chance. We both wanted to evolve, but who we were with each other kept us both from doing so.

I didn’t understand him, how could he miss such an immobile and numb version of himself? How could he want to stay there? I couldn’t handle his new words. If the chance were presented, he’d tell me we could get to know each other once again, but it was too late. I was evolving and creating else where, in a new home, in my new world with my new lover.

The next time I saw him I was six-months pregnant. He was wearing a pair of glasses and leaving a gym right on the outside of Parkdale. Though small, those two details were everything I needed to know. I could tell that he, too, was doing everything he had wanted to do with me and with himself during the time that we had been together, but never could.

“I’m going to Australia,” he blurted.

“I know,” I said.

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