“Do you have any idea what I would have given a few years ago for you to give me this kind of attention?” The furrow was evident in his brow as he spoke these words.
“To be honest, I have a vague idea; like a memory of a dream only.”
“Well that’s part of the problem you see…It’s much more clear to me.” He continued, “It’s not a vision I like to keep at the front of my mind.”
“I’ve just felt that there’s so much more to our history. I know you don’t want to rehash it all, or drag it all back up to the surface, but I feel like it’s an unfinished melody.”
I heard him sigh although I was not looking directly at him at this moment.
“You treated me like I was the enemy. After all the effort I’d expended for you, the result was that you vanished and any emergences were only harsh words to push me as far away as possible. Then you come back swearing your love and sounding completely insane.” As he spoke these words he put his hand on my arm and I felt a chill sweep down my spine.
“It was all so confusing and I was in so much pain.”
“Ah yes,” He replied “Pain. This is what I wish to stop remembering and what I want to avoid creating.”
“I think a memory is only as painful as the level of which it is left unresolved.”
“Some things can never be resolved.”
“I’m aware of that, but some things can and when two people are still alive and willing to speak to one another a healing process is possible. It must be.”
“I think we just have different perspectives of how to initiate and maintain that healing process.”
“I would be on board with everything you are saying if we’d had a chance to discuss things finally.” I continued, “I would not even be on the side of believing that any rehashing needed to occur if it were not for the fact that these memories have arisen in me like fresh bullet wounds refusing to let me forget.”
“I’m not sure you know what you want or need. You still pull and push too much.”
Those words of his were immediately followed by a sense of nausea filling my stomach and I had to sit down. As I gripped my stomach he stood beside me and when I looked up I saw him slightly shaking his head.
A rush of ache, longing, and fear filled me. I really did want to move forward and it was true that I did not know how.
He sat down on the steps beside me now and put his hand on my leg. His intermittent touches were breaking through a wall inside of me that I could barely stand to feel crumble. I knew I was on the edge of sobbing and I did not want to do that in front of him. I did not want to do it at all.
“Is this really what you wanted?” He asked me as I could feel his intense gaze burning into the side of my left cheek. “Do you really think this is going to help anything?”
With that I felt a tear roll out of my eye and sting as it passed over the edge of my cheek most affected by his view.
“You won’t stop. I’m here talking with you because I know you won’t stop.” He squeezed my leg a bit and I believed it was an indicator to look up at him and meet his gaze, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.
I then felt the tips of his fingers underneath my chin and with a very soft, but determined pull he moved my head in his direction. I saw his eyes, the sparkle that would hold me forever still there, reaching out to me. It was too much to bear and I grabbed his hand and pulled it away from my face while putting my head down once again. With this move though he now had a grip on my hand and held it firmly although I tried to pull it away because I wanted to cover my face with this hand.
I wanted to run and hide, but at the same time I wanted to endure this moment in the hopes it would help me through to the other side of these feelings that had been haunting me for so many years.
I started to speak now and as I did the tears began to flow steadily despite my determination against them. “We are partners in our history. We are partners in the life and in the death. I wanted to move on…to move forward, but my heart hasn’t allowed it.”
I felt his hand that was on my leg now move to the center of my chest. His hand covered the area of my front that felt like the persistently breaking heart and a warmth coursed through me. His other hand released mine and moved to the back of my head and I felt him moving me toward him for a kiss.
With that I jerked free entirely, jumping up and away from him and yelling, “No!”
As I leapt into the air and attempted to move forward my left foot caught behind my right knee in a strange tangle and I tumbled forward half falling across the concrete sidewalk and half skidding into the grass at the sidewalk’s edge. I saw a foggy vision of him coming toward me and then it was all dark.
When I opened my eyes I saw the mirror beside my bed reflecting a reddened bloody face that I slowly recognized as my own. The pain began to sear through my head and I heard his voice once again. “Please sit up and take this Tylenol.”
I took the glass of water from his hand and the few small, white pills and muttered a thank you.
He was sitting beside me on my bed. After I took the medicine and laid my head back down on my pillow I felt his hand caress the top of my head, sort of petting my hair and the pain in my chest suddenly outweighed that of the cuts and bruises from my fall. This was the way he had been with me. Year ago, the last day I saw him before I pushed him away, that was the last time anyone had petted my head in that gentle fashion that I so loved. He was the only one who’d ever made that gesture and it was somehow one of the only time in my life I’d ever felt truly loved.
This reliving of this memory in the flesh seemed more than I could bear.
He then leaned down over me and kissed my cheek and forehead.
“It’s time for me to go.” He spoke in a soft voice. “Please stay in bed for a while and then go take a hot bath once you’ve rested a while.”
I reached up without replying, took hold of his hand and squeezed it as hard as I could. Then I let go and pulled the blanket over my head and curled up into a ball underneath my covers. From within my buried place in the bed I asked, “Would you please lock the door as you leave?”
I heard his footsteps, the opening, shutting, and locking of the door and as I felt the tears once again tickling my cheeks and rolling over my nose I released myself back into sleep, which was the only way I could think of to reduce the pain that filled every inch of my body.
I’d been shocked that day when he actually showed up on my doorstep. This was a game changer. My pursuit of him was no longer the entire reality and now he was taking charge of the situation. This left me feeling powerless and without any plausible course of action to take. I couldn’t push someone to communicate with me who already was trying. I couldn’t run away from someone who met me at my front door. I couldn’t argue with anything he had to say because it was all true. I couldn’t define any further questions to ask him and I couldn’t clarify anything more I needed to say.
As I was drifting off into sleep I was nothing more than a heartbroken child who’d scraped herself up in a fall and had no idea what I should do next.