Her Heaven a Love without Betrayal
We hit the place where we would knock gently on one another’s front door and allow ourselves in. As I twisted the door knob I felt my body pulling me back to the car. Opening the door, I ran past him in the living room, as he walked down the stairs, praying I made it to the bathroom before throwing up.
As I knelt on the cold tile floor, I felt his hand on my back.
“Get away from me. I want to be alone,” I hissed.
My head hung in the toilet, knowing I wasn’t going to throw up anything because I couldn’t stomach to eat anything for the past week.
Collecting myself as much as I could, I mustered up the strength to walk into the same room as he did. He held out a glass of water for me; my arms held one another, and they were not going to break for his easy gesture. It was easy to give anyone water. And I was tired of him doing the easy things, leaving me to do the hard things alone.
Finding a place on the couch, I looked out the window as my feet faced the door, just in case I needed to run.
When I called him earlier he asked if I wanted to come over and talk about it, in between the tears I mumbled yes, and now that I was here, with his full attention no words came to my mind.
“I don’t even know why I am here,” I cried. “I must be the stupidest girl in the entire world.”
The wind whipped my paper lantern around as I wrote a prayer for him, “Might the love and light of your spirit always guide you to the highest of places. My heart has taken the shape of your soul, smile and love. Wherever you find yourself, trust that my love is with you. You are my truest North.” Pleased with my work of finding correct form of words that felt meaningful, I took a picture of my lantern and sent it to him, before releasing it into the night sky. I watched it float into the sky, following it, until it was no longer in my sight.
The lantern floated into the silent sky, and nothing more was said between he and I that night.
My heart woke up heavy, the next morning as sadness filled the cracks knowing I didn’t get to experience that encompassing thought of love with him the night before. I felt silly for sending him my prayer of love, hoping he would covet the same for me. As I drove to work, the sun shined a little brighter than the other April days that came before it. Realizing that the sun had distracted me from my turn, I took the next left to the school.
Coming to the four way stop, he stood there. His shirt off, briefs barely showing above his khaki shorts. I told myself, “he is shirtless, because that his how he sleeps.” And for a moment the hot tears I felt swell into my eyes, felt like his hot skin that I have touched so many times as we lied in bed together. He took her into a hug and kissed her on top of her forehead, as he had done so many times with me before.
My car didn’t move, and my hands were steady. I just stared. And for a brief moment, he stared back at me, looking at me directly in the eyes.
Four days later I barged into his house. He was sitting in his chair, reclining back as the TV played in front of him. It was dark and cloudy outside, as rain had gone on and off. The two shots of tequila didn’t seem to make liven things up either.
Instead it flirted with my rage. It was as if my anger guarded my heart, protecting it as a way to say, “Don’t worry, he will not hurt you again. I will show him, he will not hurt you again.”
“Get up!” I yelled, as I walked over to him.
“Go get the fucking story. I want my story back!”
Never have I been good at communicating. Only if my words are written do I ever feel safe. We were at a crossroads months ago where I needed to convey my love for him. But I was afraid. It is always so difficult to realize you may love another human more than you could ever love yourself; especially with the hope they will love you back.
So I wrote him a story.
The night that I gave it to him, we sat on his bed, with wine in between us. While I read him the story out loud, I skipped over the part where I told him I loved him. I was too embarrassed. The story was over, and my face felt flush. Immediately he grabbed me into his arms, and kissed the top of my head.
I felt at home.
My love felt accepted.
Now, I didn’t want him to have the story anymore. He didn’t deserve it. It was easy to accept people’s love, that is what all selfish people do, but to protect someone’s heart – I was naïve enough to think they were one in the same.
The gold ribbon was still attached to the box, it swayed in the air as he walked down the stairs with the story. Snatching it from him, I instinctively pushed him; Anger, protecting me, forced to make sure he would not get near me again.
“I hate you,” I yelled, and stormed out.
It had been several more days after getting the story before I could talk to him. We would avoid each other at work, and the few times we were in the same hallway, I would turn around and walk in the other direction.
“How was your day?” he asked, as we were signing out of work.
“Are you ready to talk?”
There was so much I wanted to tell him. I wanted to tell him how I loved him, and how he hurt me so deeply. He needed to know I was humiliated. He needed to know, that now he stood at a new crossroads in our relationship, and that I would never trust him again.
As I cried on his couch, he sat on the floor, at my feet. He tried to place his hand on my knee, but I pushed it away. I wanted to scold him, “You don’t get to touch me anymore.” So he settled to rest his fingers on my ankle. It was almost as if he needed to see if there was any kind of connection between us still.
“I don’t know why I keep hurting you,” he said.
For the first time, he looked ashamed of what had happened.
“I don’t know why I hurt you to push you away. I have never cared about someone like this before.”
I shook my head and uncrossed my ankles so he could no longer tough me.
“I trusted you. You were supposed to be the person who I could trust in this entire world, and you broke it,” the same hot tears that filled my eyes the morning I saw him with another woman, finally fell down my cheeks. “And now you want to be the guy who fixes me? You can’t be the guy who hurts me and fixes me. You just can’t!”
We sat in silence for a while, crying. As the silence lingered it dawned on us that we would never be the same. Now, our relationship would only be defined into two times, before Jessica and after Jessica.
Taking both of my hands into his, he began to feel nervous.
“Please, don’t give up on me just yet. Don’t leave me just yet. I need you to stay.”