Month: January 2012
The rain is tapping out a drum beat on my roof. At times it is so fierce in its delivery, it is hard to hear the space between drops.
I lie basking in the warmth of my couch, immobilized by the peace it brings.
I imagine the edges of the river rising. The streets must be full of water, overwhelming storm drains, sweeping leaves into intersections. The rush of water drowns out the steady whoosh of cars on the freeway.
It’s been months since it rained, or at least it feels like it. It’s like the clouds are releasing everything they held back in one night. The vines are drinking it in like parched man finding an oasis in the desert. The ski resorts are celebrating.
It’s late. I should go to bed, but I can’t seem to abandon the comfort of my couch pillows slumped around me. It’s dark and still in my house, only the breath of the heater disturbing the quiet.
And so I stay still, tucked in by my rain blanket.
I hate this seat. The seat from which I am telling someone goodbye when I don’t want to. The seat that makes me seem rigid and uncompromising.
He’s mad, or offended, or both. The warmth and contentment have faded from his face, replaced with a steeliness that chills me. I know this conversation means I won’t be seeing him anymore on Friday nights or Sunday mornings. It feels like my fault, when that is partially why we are here in the first place.
I try to explain, but the harder I try the muddier it gets. I can’t seem to push past the clouds that hunger has drawn to my mind. I’m talking in circles, hoping somehow my string of words will serve as a balm. But they seem to only to cause more irritation to the sore I’ve opened.
The truth is, I don’t need to explain. I need to place him in God’s hands and walk away. I pray that someday soon he will understand.
I’ve waited too long to compromise on things I have left behind in footprints pooled with tears. Not even for someone who gives me butterflies and adds an extra dose of romance to a sunset. Not even for someone who makes steadying a wobble on ice skates that much more breathless. Not even for someone who can smooth away my jumpiness in a scary movie.
He leaves me sitting alone at the table and pushes the door of the coffee shop open sharply. I stare at my cup as it blurs, praying this is the last time I have to sit in this seat. The murmur of chatter continues on around me as if nothing has changed.
There is no moment lonelier than the one after a false start. I miss him already.
But throughout the following days, God whispers, “I am pleased with your obedience.” That means even more than sunsets and butterflies.
And so I resolve, as much as I hate this seat, I will sit here again if I have to.
We used to know each other so well. We were both writers. That counted for a lot at the time. We knew the daily frustrations of working for a workaholic boss. We lived through the politics together. We spoke dreamily of writing books on the side.
But it was more than that. We knew each other’s secrets. We knew each other’s pasts. Each other’s dreams. We talked and talked, even after our wine glasses sat stained red on his coffee table.
It didn’t matter that we had different dreams. Well, it did. But we acted like it didn’t.
In the end those differences ate away at the thread that tangled us together. That thread left a rusted stain on my heart.
It’s been three years since then. For me, that three years could have been a life time. In those years, we each had our life-changing event that set the course of our futures zigzagging in different directions.
Yet, something made him write me today, out of all of the 1095-some days that have passed since. I wonder what. He said my name caught his eye on a mutual friend’s Facebook page. But it couldn’t have been the first time. I read his words with nostalgia tinged with regret.
It felt like an opportunity. An opportunity to clear the air of the pain that has hung between us since then, like an invisible clothes line tracing out the miles that separate us. Though part of me wonders if it’s only time and God that will do that.
Even in that conversation, however, it dawns on me: I don’t know him anymore. He is a dad instead of a bachelor simultaneously watching basketball on his TV and tracking baseball on his laptop. He is with a woman I have never met. He lives in a town I have never seen him in near his family I was never introduced to. He does a different job when I can’t imagine him doing anything other than writing.
He doesn’t know me anymore. I don’t even recognize myself, so how could he?
How far our lives have wandered in only three years. Now, it is like having a conversation with a stranger.
Only, both of us know, memories prove we are not.