Confessions of an Autistic Lover

Nhu-Thao – The daydream becomes dangerous when it bleeds into reality.

Nhu-Thao, or should I call you Selena? The time I shared with you are some of my most treasured as I couldn’t seek the comfort of your physical touch. But much of my memory of our time together is troubled and clouded. I was still in great inner turmoil and was wreaking destruction on everything that was apart of my life, even you. Whilst my short-term memory is laughable at best, the parts that make it to long-term I never forget. Ever. But so little of it does that the gaps in-between manifest their own story, one that can be hard to recall. I’ve spent quite a long time analyzing my relationship with you, because it was the most unique, and the most emotional.

The final moments of intimacy between us were here, on this very site that I have you to thank for introducing me to. I wrote you a rather callous letter about how I could see no future for us because I had told you my greatest desires, what I lived for; and you shared that if we were to be together you would never allow me the chance. That due to your own childhood trauma you would never give the past a chance to repeat itself. I still feel that cut even now when I heard you speak those words.

Shortly after you replied in kind, telling me that that was not what you meant at all, that I didn’t understand. But there was no point in debating as it was over, just a far away memory. But I heard you say those words. I heard you. How could they mean anything else? The age gap between us was the same as between me and Julie, you were more mature and from a completely different culture. So I’ve spent the last 7 years debating with myself if my altered mental state caused me to misremember or mistranslate. But looking further back I can’t shake that maybe I was just too attached to a dream instead.

When we first started talking more intimately you told me there was nothing more than friendship between us. When you ousted me as behaving weirdly when I was seeing someone else I admitted that I was, and came out as unfaithful to you. You once again said that nothing between us changed, that there was never anything there to break. I didn’t know how to take those words back then, so I glossed over them. Painted the picture in my head that you were just being strong and polite, offering me a second chance to continue moving forward. That’s what it felt like to me, and that’s what I tried to do.

I heard you tell me you loved me on the phone. The only time I ever heard you reciprocate them to me, and you whispered them when you thought I was asleep. I can still hear those words in my head even now, crystal clear. But they share the same space with the words you told me when you confessed we could never be together. When I had broken your three-strikes rule. The timeline gets muggy in my head around this time, it all flows together. My record shows that you were already in another relationship before we had our last catastrophic meltdown. But you would have never lied about something like that to me, right? I recall just how much pain there was in your voice every time I tried to run away from you, how desperate you were to find me. Somethings can’t be faked and I don’t think, I refuse to believe, yours were untrue.

But even if my recollection is off, the timing is uncanny is it not? If not well before we ended you came out as dating him at most two months after we ended. I can only draw two conclusions from these thoughts, you had moved on from me long before I even knew there were serious problems, or I was never that important to you. Either option is very telling of how I must have been in the relationship, and neither leave me with good feelings. So what of this is true? What part of my memory deceives me?

I’ll never know, and it eats me up inside.

Every relationship I’ve had after you I always use you as the shining example of what a great relationship could be, and how bad it can go if one of them gives up. I’ve spent years bragging about how I managed to convince such a wonderful person like you to be with me, and lamenting that I hadn’t found you years later when I was a healthier person with a stable state-of-mind.

Now I can’t even fully convince myself that it wasn’t all a dream.

Oh the questions I could ask you right now, all of the unknowns I wish I had the answers for. I can’t let them go because the autistic part of me doesn’t want to. Your memory is too precious to me. I have kept everything you’ve ever sent me in the mail, and I would still have our texts and phone-calls if that phone didn’t get swallowed by the Humboldt River. Even if most of those final moments were painful I want to keep them all, because it was when I still had you. Because now all I have is memories, memories that I can’t separate the reality from the imaginary, and it’s agony that I’ve lost so much of you in the process.

I write much more regularly now. I can’t convey emotions well verbally, but I’m much more fluent with my feelings on paper. It’s a shame I didn’t discover this when you tried to share a common space with me. I keep a journal in the notebook you sent me, bookmarked in the special place you picked. Some dreams I dare not dream for how painful even the false pain can feel. I started it with the intention of sending it to you. I settled on the reason being you would get some understanding of how I felt, what I went through, how I processed and handled it, and how I eventually ended up where I am today, someone you might not even recognize anymore. But now that I’m on the final pages I keep asking myself the same questions.

What would I get from this? What message is this sending?

Whilst I’ve struggled letting you go, you have completely moved on. You have been with him for 6 years now. I’m not even a blip on the radar in comparison, and our last contact was over a year ago and consisted of me completely shutting down the conversation by not opening up. So me mailing you a journal out of the blue… what would I gain from doing this, what or how would/should you respond to something like that?

This issue is so confounding for me because I understand why I want to do it, I want closure, and want to feel close to you in some capacity again, my own special way of telling you I still care. But is that how you will interpret it? Would this do anything positive for you? I can’t help but feel that my reasons are selfish and warrant the idea as bad. But if I bail on it now, after working on it for years, I will just be sitting on a finished product, having failed to deliver by giving up. It’s the repeat of our relationship but only affecting myself this time. So which option is correct?

This is the part of autism that makes life hard. Even after all these years you affect my life in ways you can’t possibly imagine now. I battle between wanting to tell you just how much you meant to me, but doing so by digging up an old and painful past for you, one I never buried. I wish I could just let go of this desire to reconnect with you without giving up your memory, but I fear that as that memory fades, my want to reconnect will only grow, such is my curse.

So for what it’s worth I finish my confession to you with the most emotion I can give in this moment in time.

Tôi yêu bạn. Tôi luôn luôn sẽ.

Confessions of an Autistic Lover

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