“Thank goodness for the good souls that make life better. ...if it wasn’t for the good souls life would not matter.” -Starsailor
There are many days when I wish I could be a child again. This usually happens when I’m overwhelmed by daily life or just simply depressed. When you’re a child your biggest worry should be if you want Rice Krispes or Cheerios for breakfast. When I’m having one of these days the next best thing to being a child is hanging out with one.
My parents are divorced - whose aren’t these days? But, fortunately they’ve both found other tolerable partners and my father has even had children with his. He managed to live out every man’s dream and found a younger woman. Carla - his wife, my step-mother - is 15 years younger than my dad and this is her first marriage. Carla is a smart woman, she found a man who’s already had another woman work out all the kinks so now he’s actually quasi-normal, and a much better husband than he was to my mom.
My father and Carla have two daughters: Lisa and Ashley. They are absolutely wonderful kids, then again my dad’s had my older sister, Erica, and I to practice on. Lisa’s hitting her pre-teen years and I’m just not cool enough to hang out with. But Ashley’s seven and just loves me! She is the sweetest thing on earth and let’s me spoil her rotten. When I’m depressed by adult matters the best cure is Ashley. She should be bottled up and made available in prescription form. The label would read: take 3 hours of Ashley when feeling depressed or anxious.
For about a week after my overnight in Alex’s bed I’m riding a high. Life is good. Then I don’t hear from him for a week and my endorphin level starts to drop. Feeling this low getting worse as the weekend approaches I beg my father to let me have Ashley on Sunday. He agrees as long as I have her safely home by eight. Last time I kept her out until ten and she was cranky the whole next day and my father’s never forgiven me. Sometimes I forget she’s only seven.
The next day I pick her up at eleven and ask where she wants to go.
“The zoo! The zoo!”
“Really? How about the Aquarium?” A pout. “Science Museum?” A bigger pout. I’m not prepared for the zoo, I don’t think I’m ready. I pull out the big guns, “Chuckie Cheese’s?” She makes her absolute best pout, the same one that worked for me my entire childhood. Being the younger daughter, it usually got me what ever I wanted. There is no arguing with that face. It appears I have to face my demons, at least I have Ashley with me to hold my hand.
“All right! The zoo it is!” She joyfully bounces her way down the driveway to my car and buckles herself in. The 45-minute car ride into Boston flies by with Ashley chatting about school, her best friend’s new puppy and the birthday party she went to the day before. I can feel the anxiety draining from my veins.
Ashley knows I have a favorite spot at the zoo: the leopard exhibit. I’ve never told her why, she’s too young, but she somehow knows is has a special place in my heart. It’s always the last place we visit. I usually buy her an ice cream if it’s summer, or a hot chocolate if it’s winter, and we sit on the lion bench and watch the leopards. It’s become a ritual and a treat and her favorite spot as well. This Sunday I avoid the place.
We visit the Bird House, the giraffes, the guerrillas and kangaroos and still I avoid the leopards. When we’ve seen everything else I buy her a hot chocolate and walk us towards the exit.
“Julia, aren’t we going to see the leopards?”
“No hon, I think that exhibit’s closed”.
And she says, God love her, “The leopards are my favorite exhibit too. Just because you aren’t with Chris anymore doesn’t mean we can’t see them does it?” How does she know?
“Ashley, honey, what are you talking about?”
“Erica brought me here last summer and I showed her how you always take me to the leopards and how you sit there and get really quiet. And she giggled and told me that’s where you and Chris used to hang out. Boys are stupid, who needs them anyways?” You’ve gotta love seven-year-old logic.
“Some day Ashley you’ll realize that boys are O.K. and you want one too, but not for a while. You can still think they’re stupid if you want.”
She screws up her little face and says, “I’ll never like boys, they pull my hair and call me Freckles.” Just like when I was seven, little boys never change.
“Boys do that when they like you, silly. I know it seems stupid, but you think they’re stupid anyways.” I see that one makes her think.
“Do you want another boy yet? Hey! You can go out with Mr. MacKenna!”
I’m afraid to ask yet I dare, “and who is Mr. MacKenna?”
“The art teacher at my school. He’s old like you but real nice and cool.” Great, now I’m old. Unfortunately she’s obviously proud of this idea and I don’t want to disappoint her.
“Next time I pick you up from school I’ll meet your Mr. MacKenna and we’ll see, deal?
“Only if we can see the leopards.” I throw her an unyielding look. “Pleeeaaaseee?” Who can deny that face? I give in again, better now than never. And, I can always date Mr. MacKenna even though an image of someone similar to my elementary school art teacher comes to mind: a disheveled, smoking, sixty-year-old man with outrageous Andy Warhol hair.
We pass the wildebeest and zebras and the closer we get the faster my heart beats. Ashley reaches up and takes my hand, and in her quiet, little, seven-year-old voice she says, “It’s O.K. Julia, Chris isn’t going to be over there.” She’s right, why am I so tense?
We round the corner and everything looks the same as that day so long ago and every time since that I stood on that spot. There are the two leopards, lounging near the back. And there’s the wooden lion still sleeping eight years later, a little more weathered but still the king of beasts. We sit on him and Ashley snuggles up to me to keep warm. “Are you sad?” She asks.
“No, I’m O.K., this place reminds me more of you than it does of him.” In saying that I realize that it did. I was only there with Chris that one time. He soon after lost his desire to be a biologist and switched to computer science. I spent more memorable moments on the lion bench with Ashley than I did with him. I’ve faced one demon, the zoo is now demon-free. Then in the most angelic way she throws herself around me and kisses me on the cheek and says, “From now on this is our place and you aren’t allowed to be sad.” If it were only that easy Ashley, if it were only that easy. Someday she’ll get hurt real bad too and there’s nothing that I can do to protect her from it.
“Is the power of love worth the pain of loss?” -James
“Julia! Hey come on, I know you’re in there! Julia!?” I open one eye just a slit and see my best friend Audrey, silhouetted by the porch light, pounding on the window. “Julia! Look, Chris just called, let me in!” I roll off the couch where I’ve been for the last two hours since Chris took his wallet and keys off the hall table for the last time. I haven’t moved except for the rise and fall of my chest as I inhale deep yoga breaths trying to clear my mind. Making my way across the floor on my hands and knees, too weary from the years of unhappiness to stand, I debate letting Audrey in. I reach the door and pull myself to my feet, better to face reality like a sane person I decide, lest Audrey think I’ve completely lost my mind. Through the curtains I see her looking back at me with an expression of pity. I do not need pity! I tell myself. But I let her in anyway.
“Jules, my God!” She bursts through the door and immediately takes charge, “are you O.K.? No, you’re definitely not,” she says and follows me back to the couch were I nestle myself back into the imprint my cast-off body has formed in the cushion. I close my tired eyes hoping that when I open them again she’ll be gone. I count to twenty and take a peek. Damn. Still there. “Jules!” I hear as if through a fog. “J-U-L-I-A!”.
“Oh for God’s sake Audrey, I’m not deaf, just depressed.” I burrow deeper, “can’t a girl wallow in misery for a least a day after her boyfriend of almost EIGHT YEARS just walked out?!” I scream from inside the cushions.
She lowers her voice and says sweetly, “I’m sorry,” then a pensive pause which draws me out a bit from my cocoon. “Julia, Chris said you left him?”
I bolt upright from the couch, “what!”
“He said you ended it.”
“Why would he say that?”
“Dunno, maybe he wanted to make you the strong one.”
“I tried to be strong last week and I couldn’t do it, remember? No, he left me, he definitely left me.”
“But this is what you wanted, right?”
“Oh God, no, yes. Yes! I do, but I don’t. I mean, he should have left years ago, I should have left years ago. All that wasted time!”
“Hey, you can’t start thinking like that. Come on, it’s Friday night.”
“I know, don't you have plans with Todd?”
“No,” she laughs sarcastically, “he has plans with the TV, couch and a pizza. Let’s order sushi and start figuring out what to do with all Chris’ stuff!”
“No leave it, he’ll come for it while I’m at work tomorrow.”
“Audrey, I spent that last two years trying to end this, the quicker I get on with my life the better.” In an effort to muster all the conviction in me I stand up, walk over to the mantle and start removing the photos of Chris from their frames. Out go the evidences of my twenty-first birthday, Halloween 1997, and a formal we attended out freshman year in college, when Chris was still a skinny eighteen-year-old. I make it about half way through when I come to my favorite one of him taken on top Mt. Modnadnock a few years ago. It was probably the last time he ever went hiking with me and he actually looks like he was enjoying himself. I turn the frame over to unhook the back, but I can’t do it. I can’t erase him completely, not just yet. But I can’t look at him either. I put the frame face down on the mantle and allow one tear, just one, to escape from the corner of my left eye.
“Hey,” Audrey says and comes over to hug me. “We can do this later,” I nod quietly. “You know what? Someone I work with has a friend looking for an apartment,” I raise my eyebrow in interest. “He’s a doctoral student at BU, psychology, it’ll be good for you.”
“He? Is he cute?” I’m serious yet Audrey laughs.
“Jules! Well, I guess you can’t be that depressed! Yes, he’s cute and VERY gay.”
“Good, get his number.”
How do I obtain conviction? Was I supposed to be born with it? Was I sick the day it was taught in school? I decided to seek professional help on this one and for the first time in my life I go to a therapist. I’m not embarrassed by it at all. Peter Gabriel once said, “People are like cars. Sometimes you just need a tune up”. Right on Peter!
It was interesting, being psychoanalyzed I mean. I tell her that even though I just ended an eight year relationship I’m not depressed. I missed the idea of Chris but not Chris himself. I’m not suicidal or prone to self-mutilation. And I’m definitely not spending my days wallowing in self-pity and bingeing on cookie dough ice cream. Basically, I learn that all therapists do is let you talk. Eventually you work out your own problems and they get paid handsomely for it. I could have saved $400 and had a nice chat with my cat. But she, the therapist not the cat, did do one thing for me. She had me make a list of all the traits I was looking for in a man. I tell her I was terrified of making the same mistake twice: staying with someone who wasn’t right for me. My therapist thought this list would help guide me away from Mr. Wrong. But would it help guide me towards Mr. Right? Probably not, yet here it is in case you’re interested:
1. Listens to me - not hears me -actually listens and remembers what I say. 2. Helpful, actually takes out the garbage before you have to ask him ten times. 3. Affectionate, warm. 4. Doesn’t have un-dealt-with baggage (let’s face it, everyone has baggage). 5. Open and honest, doesn’t hide things from me. 6. Takes care of himself, keeps in shape. 7. Adventurous, likes to travel and try new things. 8. Has nice, tolerable friends and appreciates my friends. 9. Appreciates nature, like I do.
The first few are probably on every woman’s list, I admit they’re pretty basic must-haves in a guy. But, the bottom few are what really define me: Julia. And the funny thing is that Chris doesn’t fit any of them.
My therapist decides that after only two appointments I’m fine to re-enter the dating world. I’m not mentally insane in any way. I’m fit to date when I feel I’m ready. As I leave her office I vow to myself I will never waste my time on men that I know wouldn’t make me truly happy. Conviction obtained. Post long-term-relationship goal # 1 met. Way to go me!
Now that I’ve obtained conviction and the therapist assured me I was all right in the head what am I to do? Finding myself free to do whatever I wanted for the first time in eight years I decide it would be a good idea to stay single for a while. So, I go right out and sleep with my best friend. No - not Audrey! I don’t become a lesbian. Chris didn’t screw me up that bad. One of my best friends happens to be a guy, Alex.
I met Alex in Nova Scotia while away for my junior year in college and we instantly clicked. Luckily for Chris I didn’t have the “list” back then (Alex fits it almost perfectly) and I wasn’t attracted to Alex, I just found in him a really great friend. But, I truly believe that no man and woman can be really great friends without sex eventually getting in the way. If you’re attracted enough to a person to admire their mind and opinions then they’re attractive enough to sleep with. After college Alex got a job as a personal trainer at a Cambridge gym. I saw him as often as I could without making Chris too jealous, which was hard.
When you’re feeling dejected and unattractive and a relatively attractive nice guy all of a sudden wants to hang out with you all the time it feels good. Alex is also an amazing listener (#1 on the list). He lets me prattle on and on about all sorts of relationship issues and actually remembers what I say years later! A true find for any woman.
As these lonely months after Chris and I split drag on I find myself becoming more and more attracted to Alex. He’s an athlete and had an amazing body for a start (#6 on the list). He also likes almost everything I do and for the first time I truly realize it. We’re both very into music - the same kind of music-, like walking in the woods, hanging out by the ocean. He’s like a male version of me, and the complete opposite of Chris. I decide with my newly-found conviction that I had to have him. And I get him all right - but it’s a bit of a let-down. Honestly, how can someone be worse in bed than Chris? Maybe Alex was just nervous, I don't know.
One snowy January night Alex asks me if there are any potential prospects out there that I have my eye on. I get the feeling he’s probing me to see if I’m ready for someone and that he’d like to be that someone. Whoever I rebound off of is going to be used and cast off like a sweaty towel. I need to warn him. I tell him that “I feel bad for the guy that I rebound off of.” I did my duty, he was warned. A bottle of wine later and I find myself in his bed. Now, I’ve crashed on Alex’s couch many times after a few drinks and we’ve always behaved ourselves. Like I said, I was never unfaithful to Chris. But tonight is different. This night I’m crashing in his bed at his invitation, although it seems innocent enough.
It feels really good to be lying next to a man again. And a fit man, far better than the blubbery Chris. At first we just try to fall asleep, but I can feel the muscles in his legs as I lay beside him. I slowly snuggle up to him and he inches closer, so I inch even closer and the next thing you know we’re jumping each other. At a lull in the foreplay I feel I needed to reiterate my earlier warning. He says he still doesn’t care, he can’t keep his hands off me. It’s fun: feeling wanted. Unfortunately, the foreplay is the best part.
It’s really too bad about the Alex situation. He’s so close to that perfect guy for me, but not close enough. The not-so-good in bed thing is a problem. I don’t want that to be an issue again. Been there already. And, even though I am still a little attracted to him (he does have that amazing body) I’m more attracted to his amazing ability to be my friend, even now, post-sex. So friends we remain, closer now than ever. At least I was no longer doomed to never have sex again. And at least now I know that someone out there (who’s not a freak) finds me attractive.
For myself, I am an optimist. It does not seem to be much use being anything else. -Sir Winston Churchill
I once read in a book that every failed relationship has one good day. A whole twenty-four hours you can look back on and say, “We were truly happy.” For Chris and me that day was Day One, our first date. The earth spun dreamily about its axis, sighed with content and all was good. It’s sad, no, pathetic, that looking back on a relationship which spanned seven years, ten months and twenty-two days that the first day we spent together stands out in my mind as the best. You may wonder why I stayed with him so long. Didn’t I love him? But that would be getting ahead of myself and you’ll just have to wait.
I can actually define the reason why our first date was our happiest moment. We were still in “crush mode,” you see. That glorious phase of a relationship when you haven’t laid your hands on each other yet and everything is new and still a mystery. You don’t know enough about the other person to be miserable. When a relationship maintains some of this magical crush feeling years later you know it’s a keeper. Unfortunately, my relationship with Chris maintained no magic, no mystery, and barely any fun. Yes, I did love parts of him, some of the time. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t spend 2,850 days of my life miserable, I’d say about 1,900 of them were fairly good. But, when you have a crush on someone and it never materializes into anything else then that person will always remain magical to you. You will forever wonder about what could have been because you never reached the point where you discover they wear the same pair of boxers for four days. Or, have the privileged chance of seeing them grow from a 30 inch waist to a 42 when you’ve remained the same size 6.
I’m not regretting that my crush on Chris developed into more. At least now I can cross him off my list of guys I’ll eternally wonder about. And there will always be days when I remember some of the better times and wish we could go back to them. But, when I really want to torture myself all I have to do is close my eyes and picture that glorious day, the one day I am forever grateful for being allowed to have lived.
It was early fall. We were only eighteen, freshman at the same small New England college. The maples were starting to turn their luminous yellow color and the sunfish in the school’s pond were heading for deeper water. It was my favorite time of the year. I had spotted Chris in my introductory biology class, he looked my type: dark and introverted. I always thought I could draw these men out of their shell and were usually utterly disturbed or completely disappointed at what I discovered inside.
And so the game began. I started sitting behind him in the lecture hall so I could gaze at the back of his head. There was always a dark curl of hair poking out from under his Red Sox hat. While the professor was prattling on about mRNA I was dreaming about playing with that raven lock. I began the game by intentionally dropping my pen once every few days and letting it roll under his seat so he would have to hand it back to me. Then, I started sitting in front of him and making the back of my head as attractive as possible. I would tie up my hair in a knot and leave one lock loose and curl it a bit with an iron in the morning. This was a lot of early work for a college student when the class was at 9:30 AM. I was thoroughly committed to getting his attention.
I did a bit of investigative work and discovered that he lived in the room right below mine and was friends with my next-door neighbor. Small world. I also learned that he thought he was in love with a girl who had already turned him down three times. I respected his persistence and mistook it for chivalry. I was young, hopefully I’ve learned from my mistakes. Because of our mutual friends we started to hang out and I think he started to tire of “other girl’s” continual rejections.
About two months into Intro Bio the class was given an animal observation project. Chris and I got talking about it one day in the dining hall and decided rather than observing the squirrels on the quad we would go to the zoo, together. I think this is when I first got the feeling he had given up entirely on “other girl”. I knew I was the second choice, the fall-back plan, but I didn’t care. My crush was blocking my reasoning.
Chris and I took the train into the city; I remember it was a long ride, about an hour. He was fairly quiet the whole way there, it should have set off alarm bells then but at the time it only added to the mystery of “Chris”. But I did manage to get some information out of him. His family was loaded for one. Great things were expected of him and I got the impression that he was brought up to marry someone who would be content to pop out five children and have dinner on the table promptly at six. “But that’s not what I want”, he said as our train rolled into Back Bay station, “every woman should have her career”. I was in heaven.
The most magical part of the day was when Chris first touched me. In front of the leopard exhibit there’s an inviting bench carved in the shape of an oversized male lion asleep on the grass. His back is flattened out to form the seat and his nose is rubbed smooth by the thousands of children who have patted him trying to awake him from his feline slumber. Chris and I were instantly drawn to that bench from which we could sit and observe the real felines on the other side of the Plexiglass.
We got out our notebooks and pretended to observe the leopards. I was trying to make notes on their behaviors while thinking of reasons to inch closer to him. The leopards in turn did a lot of yawning and dozing like overgrown house cats. Finally, one of them awoke, sauntered sleepily over to his mate and very slowly and deliberately began to groom her face, then her neck and back. It was such a beautiful thing to watch, so selfless it seemed to me at the time. He gave her his complete attention. We were moved. Chris’ hand found mine, sending a spark through my body. Our first touch was probably the most erotic thing that ever happened between us.
I can’t remember the rest of the day. Did we go out for coffee, dinner? It didn’t matter because what I do remember very clearly is how Day One ended. He walked me back to my room and deposited me at my door. I knew he was shy but I still waited for him to make the first move. He just stood there not knowing what to do with me but still I waited. Finally, I realized that he was afraid so I gave him a quick kiss right on his mouth and his face instantly looked as if all the light in the world was falling on him at that instant. I have never seen him happier since. He was just a boy then and he had just been kissed by the first girl he thought he ever loved. I went inside and he fluttered away like a love-struck moth into the night.
I won’t bog you down with all the mundane details of my relationship with Chris except for one thing: sex. The sex was O.K. Just O.K. The earth didn’t move and the stars didn’t align when we made love. It was fun for about a year while we were still discovering each other. All those nights in the dorms entwined together in a twin bed, trying not to wake up his roommate. Or getting walked in on by his entire lacrosse team, caught in the act, naked and sweaty. Yet we didn’t care, it was exciting. Like we were breaking the law, committing adultery. This feeling lasted a few years until slowly and surely the fire died and I stopped looking forward to even lounging around naked with him. I started imagining what sex would be like with other men. Lots of other men. Would they have tattoos? Manly arms and sexy six packs instead of Chris’ flabby belly? However, I was never unfaithful, except in thought.
I suppose this would be a good time to explain why I stayed. It was for many complicated and interwoven reasons. Mainly I convinced myself that with any long-term relationship there are going to be a few flaws. Perfection is only for fairy tales right? And Chris was definitely no Prince Charming.
Besides my lack of interest in having sex with him, the first four years of college were otherwise all right. Chris and I met so early into our freshman year that neither of us had a chance to experiment with the opposite sex as most freshman do. We had both slept with one other person and it was at the same time and for the same reason: we thought sex would seal the relationships we had with our latest high school flames. It happened in those beautiful but sad days at the end of August when we thought college would tear us apart. To get over the pain of the separation we had awkward and uncomfortable sex when our parents weren’t home. Then Chris and I both arrived on that stereotypical New England campus and immediately forgot their names. For me and most of my female friends we discovered that there were just so many other men out there, and none of them ever had to know what dorks we were in junior high! On moving-in day I could detect the pheromones wafting down the hallways. By the second weekend the coed showers often had two pairs of legs visible beneath the curtain instead of one.
In that first autumn on campus every attached freshman from U Miami to UW quickly forgets their newly declared high school commitments and joins the campus-wide rut. Males establish their mating leks around the most promising keg of Budweiser. Females either accept their courting displays or move on to the more “fit” male. Evolution is still at work in the human race. I mostly avoided this sexual dance. I had set my target on Chris and was patiently waiting for him to stop displaying to “other girl”. And, once he did, I moved into his lek and claimed him.
It wasn’t until after college and after we moved up to Boston together that the sex thing became a problem. I started keeping track of how often we had sex so I could convince my conscience that I was keeping up with the national once-a-week average. But, it was still an issue. I would think of every imaginable excuse and he would continue to try and the more he tried the more annoying he became! He was acting like an eight-year-old: tell him he can’t have any candy and he’d whine more about it.
Don’t get me wrong here, I like sex. A lot. Just not when your partner is immature about it. Men, pay attention: women want maturity in bed! We want James Bond, Don Juan, Brad Pitt from that scene with Geena Davis in “Thema and Louise”! Of course when I told Chris this he actually did try to be more serious but it came across as awkward and even more annoying than when he was being silly. I started to think how I would have to play a sex- avoidance game with him for the rest of my life and it just got depressing. You’re supposed to want to have sex with your husband. After you’ve been married for ten years the sight of his naked body should still send a shiver right through you. The thought of Chris naked towards the end of our relationship, again, just depressed me. Which gets me to the real reason why I stayed: fear.
After being with the same person for eight years and living with them for four it’s scary to just walk away. We weren’t married (thank God!) and didn’t have many communal possessions (just like an eight-year-old he didn’t like to share) so we at least didn’t have to obtain legal counsel. But where would I go? How would I spend my Friday nights? Would anyone ever find me attractive again? Would I ever have sex again!? Scary stuff went through my head. I had friends in the area but a lot of them had moved out of Boston in the past year, man they have bad timing!
Our relationship started to fall apart about six months into our seventh year together. We had both gone through some bad times; many people had died that year including Chris’ older brother, Douglas, in a motorcycle accident. Chris was expected to take over Doug’s role in family business, which he did. He all of a sudden found himself at the helm of an international company but without the guidance of Doug. He took it all very hard, I would too, and I don’t blame him for that. I convinced him to seek professional help for his head as he was beginning to drive me mad. His shrink put him on an antidepressant which seemed to cheer him up. And, one of the side effects is a subdued sexual appetite. Bonus!
For some reason unknown to me Chris decided to stop taking these happy pills and headed back into depression. He started hanging out with a bad crowd from work and stopped including me in things, even keeping his whereabouts from me! I never got along with his friends so it was hard for me to hang out with them even when he did include me. I was starting to crack. I made up a list of all the reasons to leave (this wasn’t the first time I had done this but this time I was actually serious):
1. Sex is not great. 2. His friends don’t like me. 3. I don’t like his friends. 4. I don’t find him all that attractive anymore. 5. We are very different, politically, socially, everything! 6. I want to get married, he doesn’t.
Number six may seem interesting considering this is a list of reason to have left him, not marry him. But the truth is I wanted to get married, I still do, someday. I want to have that feeling of comfort that I will always have someone to go home to and share a bed with and who knows the pattern of freckles on my left arm. I want to love someone so much that only crawling inside of them will satisfy my desires. When we grow old he’ll still seem sexy to me because he’ll take care of himself and not let himself deteriorate like Chris did.
The problem was I couldn’t even imagine being married to Chris, I couldn’t imagine the wedding. We would have fought over everything, down to the color of the damn napkins! He was the type of guy who never understood that a wedding is a girl’s dream. She starts planning it in her childhood. Chris would have ignored my dream of a small wedding on a quiet beach somewhere. Everything would be overdone and his way: his guests, his family, his friends and his choice of napkin color.
Maybe this attitude was because Chris had money, lots of money, and was used to getting his way. He never admitted it but I know he was always afraid if he married me I would steal his money. He never learned that money was on the bottom of my list, it’s a heart I was looking to steal and claim as mine own.
So one day as the last brown leaves fell from the oaks I finally broke down - literally - sobbed for a whole October Sunday. It all hit me at once, I had to end it. But I chickened out. I told him how I felt but also said I was staying for the time being, I thought I still loved him enough. In the end he was the one to leave. Turned out he was miserable too. If there’s one thing I am truly grateful to him for it’s the fact that he had more courage than I did. We were both unhappy but at least he had enough conviction left in him to walk out. Post long-term relationship goal # 1: obtain conviction.
This blog started out as a place to post fiction about not feeling grounded. I quickly realized that I prefer writing essays about living mindfully, living green, ecology, motherhood and looking for ways to feel more grounded, hence the "holdfast". Thanks for visiting!I hope you found what you were seeking. -kate
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