Performing Love

There’s a lot of sadness inherent in day-to-day activities now that I’ve started to think of myself as single.

There was that moment when I poured the last of the olive oil onto my salad, and remembered the blood-orange infused oil I had tasted in an artisanal shop, and thought about how I had wanted to buy it next time to use in a dressing to share with him. That isn’t going to happen now. It’s a tiny but important change of plans.

There’s a freezer full of food. It’s an amount of food that was purchased for sharing. There is fish I bought to make his favorite curry with. Squid bits and shrimp balls that looked inspiring for an Asian soup. Pizzas that we made together and froze for a lazy night in front of the TV. As a single person, I don’t need this quantity or quality of food. My usual fare will be something simple I can throw together after work. Eating is sustenance now, not a chance to bond over a shared activity.

His birthday is coming up. I’d usually make him a fancy meal. This year I was going to throw him a party at a local pizza joint with his family. He’d talked about how much he loved this particular pizza even though it is fattening and low-brow and not our usual fare. He’d talked about how much his family had loved to go there when he was a kid. It was an inspired idea, an act of love. It has no place to go now.

I’m finding that I miss performing love perhaps more than I miss receiving love.

But this is a good revelation. Because I can still perform love as a single person. I have let my friends know that I’m available to babysit. That’s a kindness I can extend to them and a chance to show kindness to their children as well.

I can make gifts for my friends. I can bring them carry-out when they are sick. I can remember to ask if they’re still having back pain or how their job interview went. I can reach out to my cousins when it isn’t Christmas.

And I think this is a strength, a little way that I can win in the midst of all I’ve lost.

And this is something that I can offer the world that he cannot. Because he is busy performing femininity, which apparently leaves no time to perform love. If the neglect of my own marriage wasn’t enough to prove that to me, I’m now hearing it from others. He turns every conversation to himself. He won’t call his dad. He cut off a friend who tried to talk about her autistic son. He told another what she was allowed to think.

It’s so easy to get lost in what is right and what is wrong. It’s so easy to care what he thinks and who he’s convincing and what I can convince him of. It’s so easy to just stay mad.

But I’m going to concentrate on performing love instead.

 

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