Before you read this story, you’ll need to read “the GOODBYE” and “my SHOES” to completely understand this one because life is truly ironic.
A few days, after months of grappling with a decision I chose to walk a path that I thought was necessary for myself. But before I tell you what that path was and ultimately where it led, I need to go back a bit.
Divorce has a funny way of secretly infesting your heart and mind even if it was for the best. In my case, my marriage was over before the other woman walked into his life. I once heard someone say that when someone leaves a marriage, they were already gone before they walked out the door. My marriage was no different, but I’m not sure who left first.
We had gone through the loss of a job, loss of a child, and eventually the loss of love. Our relationship became mechanical at times, and I think I resented him for all that had happened, especially to our child. That loss was crippling to me, and to the love I had once felt for him.
He never wanted children. Initially, when we began dating he said he would love to be dad again since he already had children of his own. As time wore on, I never questioned his desire to have more children. After we were married, the discussion came up and he dropped a bombshell on me, he had changed his mind. He said he wanted to be selfish and spend all that time with me and not share it with a child. I was devastated.
As time wore on, our love seemed to fluctuate, and eventually it seemed to thrive. I thought we were in a wonderful place in our life. Notice I said, I thought, not we thought. Well, around this time, I discovered I was pregnant. In my mind, I thought, “it’s perfect timing.” I knew he would be as astatic as I was. He would definitely want this baby.
He didn’t. He told me to get rid of it. He didn’t want a baby. The cost and the time was too much for us, he said. I think that’s the day I left; the day I “walked out” of our marriage.
Eventually, I was told I was too sick to carry the baby to term, and had other health issues arise, so I terminated the pregnancy. He wasn’t present for it; my close friend took me. The true behavior of the remainder of our marriage—he was absent for it.
The guilt, pain and sadness consumed me. It was a sin in my eyes, and I wasn’t sure I could forgive myself for it. I hated him. I hated myself. I saw pregnant woman, and hurt. I saw mothers with infants, and loathed myself. It was perhaps the most difficult period in my life.
I saw daylight again when a friend of mine found out she was pregnant. We were so close that her joy, made me hurt, but I “pretended” because of her shear happiness. Soon enough, I began to feel the joy with her. My pain faded and I once again, was excited about a pregnancy even if it wasn’t mine.
When she went into labor, she let us know. She was on her way to the hospital, and was texting us a play by play. That text, brought me to my knees, and the pain was instantly back. Tears flowed. I wasn’t jealous, I just wondered what my day would have been like. The excitement of welcoming your child into the world. Wondering what they were going to look like, feel like, and what it would be to hold them after carrying them for nine months. A joy that I would not see personally for myself again.
After her daughter arrived, I went to see her. I braced myself for the pain that I was about to feel seeing her holding her long awaited baby girl. There was no pain. The joy that was felt in that room was contagious. She looked beautiful holding her baby girl, and that sight was healing for me. I held that baby, and knew I had forgiven myself.
Despite that healing, my marriage never recovered. As I stated earlier, I left months earlier. We tried to work through it, went to counseling, and he even made changes himself. Regardless, our marriage was doomed to fail. Emotionally, he might have left it before me. Physically, he left when he met another woman. I discovered what he had done, and I pushed him out the door and closed it for good.
That was a year ago. We have separate lives, separate goals, and on occasion speak. But most of the discussions lead to arguments that we continue to repeat over and over. Going back is impossible, but the pain still hasn’t healed completely for either of us.
Which brings me to today. As I said, I made a choice to walk a path a that I thought was meant for me. I had closed the book to one relationship and had begun another, but it seemed doomed to fail as well. To avoid the toll of this second failure, I had decided to try to walk away from Singleton, notice how I said “try”. He wouldn’t let me.
The evening after bidding him goodbye, he called until I answered the phone. His voice seemed pained. We’ve all had those moments when a man realizes he’s made a mistake and works on trying to get you to forgive him. Sometimes, those patterns repeat themselves and the cycle starts again. Well, something happened that I’m not sure that pattern will repeat itself here.
He said something he’s never once acknowledged before, that he would do anything for me. That might seem like normal begging and pleading for others, but this is something that Singleton has never been able to say. Singleton is not one for heartfelt conversations. He has often told me that he’s not good at showing emotion. For this reason, he claimed he couldn’t be in a serious relationship or what he referred to as “not good boyfriend material”.
I remember telling him that I imagined our relationship was like a gated yard. I could see him through the fence, but I wasn’t allowed in the yard. He would often tell me that the gate was open, and in time, he’d let me in, but I had lost hope. This time, his words almost knocked me off my feet, “the gate is open, you’re in the yard.” It might not seem like much to others, but for him, it was a milestone.
I was in disbelief. Just hours earlier, I was certain that walking away from him was the right call. I was losing who I was to be with him, and he agreed that he didn’t want that either. Again, pretty words, I thought. Yet, I couldn’t hang up. I continued to listen. Listen to him say things that I had only hoped were buried deep inside him, and he could never say.
Why now? Why this way? Quite simply he said, “I sure hate to see you go.” He spoke of all the memories we had. Said he hadn’t showed me he truly cared. Put himself first. Then he said what left me speechless for what seemed like a minute, “I see you as my companion one day.”
For Singleton, this was like cutting off his arm, something he said he’d probably never say again. How did the realization that he was losing me, make him confess all these things to me? Why did he wait so long to promise so much, and swear he’d deliver? I guess because when you’re on a cliff, you have only one option, jump or turn around and walk away. For him, jumping wasn’t a possibility. What was at the bottom? Was it a bottomless pit? Was it shark infested water? He feared where he’d land once he committed to the jump.
Yet here he was jumping, and he had no idea what was at the bottom. I could hang up. I could say no. Or I could listen. I listened.
As he talked, I was surprised how much easier it was becoming for him. Our conversation flowed, and it was like we’d been friends for years. Then it occurred to me. I was also scared and hurt from all my previous losses, and so was he. I was asking, always asking, thinking that I was making all forms of sacrifices for him. I was to an extent, but it never dawned on me what he was doing for me.
All my request, all my pleas, why hadn’t he left me? My ex-husband did. He found someone else who nagged less and gave him more. Why hadn’t Singleton done the same? Why was this man holding on and saying things that I knew where so difficult for him to admit? I asked him.
His response, “because you’re my best friend. You make me happy, even when it seems like you’re getting on my nerves. You’re the sun in my day. I adore you. If I could dance, you’d make me want to dance.”
It wasn’t the typical “I love you” that others hear, but to me it was much more. A few days later, as we discussed things in person while listening to my albums, he hugged me. I asked him why he kept referring to me as his friend. “Everyone wants to marry their best friend, “he said. Then held me close and for the first time we danced.
Singleton might be the next coauthor of my next story, he might not be. I’m going to take the risk and find out. He’s jumped off a cliff for me, the least I could do is jump in after him. That’s the decision I’ve chosen to make. While deciding this, I realize I’m not perfect, and my decisions haven’t always been good ones. If they were, I wouldn’t have married someone I later ended up divorcing. My actions also haven’t been then best toward others. But what I am realizing is that I can work with what was left of me after all my losses. After all, history shows that we all make something from what was left, not what was lost. Some of the pretties things have been created from the pieces leftover from something else. This might be one of those things.