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Breaking Up

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Friday, February 25, 2011

Breaking Up

I think my agent and I are breaking up.

It's nothing she's said, or done, really, just something I feel, like something is different between us these days.  Our intimate moments aren't as intimate, our passionate exchanges less passionate.  We don't talk about the future like we used to.

I think she's seeing other people.  It's OK.  It's not like we talked about being exclusive.  Well, we kind of did; she had me sign a contract promising I wouldn't.  It didn't matter.  I didn't want to see anyone else.  She was the one.  She has been everything to me--a staunch supporter of my work, a confidante, a trusted ally, and a friend.  So where did it all go wrong?

We started out so strong, like so many relationships.  We wanted the same thing, and we worked together to make that dream come true.  And for a while, it looked like nothing would stop us.  Then came the rejection letters.

She assured me these were just bumps in the road, buoyed my spirits, kept me believing in myself.

Then came the big blow.

*

I awoke early one December morning.  There was a message on my phone.  My agent.  Call her immediately.

Are you sitting in front of your computer? she wanted to know.

I can be, I said.

I want to be on the line when you read it, she said.

In my inbox was a letter from a publisher, a glowing letter that spoke of having read my memoir, Junkie Love, in one sitting, how enthralled they were with my work, best thing this particular editor had read in a long time.  Unbridled enthusiasm.  Next week, the editor would make the pitch to the sales' team.

We don't have an offer yet, my agent said said, but...

It hung in the air, an all but certain guarantee my life's work would finally be realized.

I called my sister, told her it looked like we'd found a publisher.

She said our mother would be proud.

*

The cold December winds blew, and the holidays came.  And they went.  The January rains rolled in with the new year, with wet, bone-chilling purpose.  My son grew older.  I would whisper to him as he slept that his father was not a bum.

I talked to my agent daily, seeing if the publisher had written back.  No, she said. And I could hear it in her voice.  Doubt.

When official word came that they were passing, I was devastated.  Maybe I withdrew, stopped doing the little things that keep a relationship going, keep it strong, stop a love from dying on the vine.

Things happen in relationships.  Betrayals.  Disappointments.  Even joyous occasions, like a promotion or fellowship.  These changes can bring about the irreversible, set in motion diverging paths, send one another in a new, separate direction, taking your love with it.  And when that love is gone, it does not come back.  It goes somewhere else, for others to use.  And you can only wish them well in their journey, hope they fare better than you did, because to begrudge them that is selfish, irresponsible even, strips you of the one thing you have left.  The memories (sigh).

2 Comments:

At February 25, 2011 at 1:05 PM , Blogger Soybean said...

I, for one, believe you still have some stuff in the basement. Is it angry? Quite possibly, but then again you are the last of the angry white male writers, so it could only play to your advantage. Or I could be wrong. Maybe the angry stuff in your basement is having an epic battle with the dusty unwanted toys in your attic. In any event it's going to be one hell of a tag sale.

 
At February 25, 2011 at 1:35 PM , Blogger Joe Clifford said...

Best. Comment. Ever.

 

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