The moment I return to most often, is the moment he told me “it’s too late.” The finality that exists in those words is numbing. Mostly, I remember how the bottom half of my body felt. My legs went 3 shades of numb…first the tingle, then the burn, finally the numbness. I remember looking down…staring at the concrete floor my feet rested upon. I don’t think I realized I couldn’t feel them.
When I looked up, he wasn’t looking at me…he was staring where he always stared…out in the distance I humorously refer to as “Kellyland.” I believed somewhere out in that cold distance, she waited for him. He wanted to go there, but I wasn’t ready to let him.
Just like now, he couldn’t admit how deeply he wanted to leave, and i was OK with letting him lie. I asked 3 times what I could do to make him love me again. When he said it was too late, I didn’t believe him. If Steve taught me anything in the last 10 years, its how to walk away with the realization that some things just cannot be fixed. Preparing my relationship with his family was my first lesson, and sweeping my marriage under the proverbial carpet, was my second. I was a slow learner both times.
It was January when I realized just how long it had been since he loved me. It was February when I realized how much he loved her. It was April when I realized the life I lead was not my own. And it was May when I realized how much I loved myself. I grabbed ahold of that carpet, and I let her fly.
Walking away breaks my heart a tiny piece at a time. When the screenplay of my existence over the past year rolls slowly through my mind, I feel a calmness that finally can let me cry. I mourn the person I used to be even as I don’t want to be her anymore. I mourn the moment I fell in love with him, even as I fall in love with someone new. I can be both places at once…learning that with each piece I let go, I create a new one to take its place. And I can’t help but wonder, how long will these pieces encompass me…when will I let them go…and start all over once again.
It was June when I asked him to fight for us, July by the time I realized he couldn’t. Even as I turn my back to him, I cannot help but glance back. One last look into the clearest eyes I’ve ever seen. Searching for that piece of him I’ve never seen…searching for the truth. He still can’t say it…denial is the bed he sleeps in each night. I long for him to trust me enough to let me see what he did, what he felt. But he cannot do it. And this is my fault.
It’s November now and I keep forgetting to check the calendar. Like the sunlight, the days are leaving too quickly and the end is growing painfully close. My body tells me it’s getting cold, and I’m mesmerized by the flocks of birds heading south. I read a few weeks back that birds do not migrate south for warmth, but instead for the ease of finding food. I can’t help thinking of my own migration…that which i need versus that which I want. As I search for nourishment, I cannot help but seek the warmth as well. My fear trips on excitement when I realize this life is now my own.
I know I’ll keep looking back, and sometimes I’ll stare longer than others. And I’m OK with knowing that all these pieces will not fall away. Some I’ll keep tucked away, reminding me that deep inside, I know how to love someone enough to stay no matter what they do to hurt me. And while I look at him, I’ll imagine my hands touching his face one last time, my eyes telling him that one day, I’ll forgive him.
But not today. I think I’ll save forgiveness for January.