I've Got Leaving in My Blood - OZY | A Modern Media Company


Because we abandon even when we want to love.

By Anthony Hamilton

The author is a writer with six books to his name.

Staying in a relationship has a nice ring to it, but it is a ring that far too many people, such as myself, don’t dare to wear. Sure, my heart thirsts for companionship, but time and time again there seems to be a sign hanging on the walls of my heart that reads, “Help Wanted.” 

I’ve never truly been able to see two people equally yoked to each other. Unconsciously, I too have brought with me a selfishness to a relationship, one that has disgusted the women I am with, which leaves them furious at my inability to make compromises, to occasionally submit, to do what is necessary to sustain a loving relationship. I watched these women grow numb from my shallowness. 

It would be easy for me to say that I blame my father; he didn’t stay, and I was never privy to a world in which my mother was held forever and treasured endlessly. Nor had I seen my father be loyal to anyone, including himself. It would also be easy for me to remain sinister with so much pain stored in my bones. Each time, whether the relationship lasts for a few hours, or for months, I carried on, and could have counted myself lucky if I lasted even a day. There was no stability, nothing to hang my hat on, and rather than attempt to place my own reassuring hook onto some stable walls, I chose not to wear a hat at all. My words were plentiful, but I could not think of one to christen the lack of emotional stability I was cursed with. 

My mother continued to crave love; she was ravenous, and she bit off more than she could chew.

What I do know is that it was all I saw, everywhere I looked: my mother, my sisters. My mother continued to crave love; she was ravenous, and she bit off more than she could chew. My sisters still sit hopelessly at our family table waiting on their husbands to deliver vague promises. So what have I got? I got leaving in my blood. Because they say that “blood is thicker than mud,” or I do anyway.

Which means, to me, that I’d rather wait on the mud to dry than to stay in a relationship, suffering, until the love decides on its own to die. I got leaving in my blood because of the things I’ve seen. I was 8½ years old when my father up and decided to leave his wife, my mother, two boys and his two girls, me and my brother and my two sisters — for no apparent reason, they say, but I’m sure he somehow had his own. The spirit of abandonment was etched inside our hearts. By the time I was 17 years old, I’d seen my mother married three times and at least four times by the age of 30. I saw my only brother be engulfed by love, only to have love betray him at least twice. I watched him marry a woman who bedded him every night yet bore two children by a man who did not share in their vows. I saw the emptiness in their eyes and the traumatic symbolism that only love’s inadequacies could create.

So when it came my time, I refused to submerge what little stability I had into love’s bottomless pit. I ran as a child and I still run, now, as a man. And when love came a-calling, I refused to answer. It must have been a wrong number. There is something that’s hurting me deeply, but I can’t touch it, and it’s too far away at times for me to feel. I’ve said no to ultimatums offered up by my past women; I would rather submerge my fears in a room full of darkness than risk a chance at love’s light. But it leaves me, all of us, hungry. I inherited leaving. Leaving is the only garment that I trust. Today I’m reaching outward, stretching toward hope as vigorously as I possibly can in hopes of somehow grabbing hold of that something that would be substantial enough … to help me, to prick my finger and extract some of this cursed blood.

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