As I pack up my apartment, I’ve been facing a lot of hidden memories- things I don’t want to take with me. So I’ve decided to voice them here as a means of clearing my head and heart. This is one in a series that I will probably share. Consider that your warning.
There were signs telling me not to go. That I’d made the wrong choice. My heart and my head were at such odds, I couldn’t listen to what my gut was telling me. So I went, drove for hours with a nagging nervousness in my belly, to a clandestine meeting with a former lover in a sunny seaside town.
An hour away from my destination, the tread on one of my front tires came off. I thought I had a flat. Immediately I thought: This is a sign. Because I knew in my heart that going was at odds with who I was. I did not cheat. I didn’t participate in cheating. And yet, I needed to know. . . did we still have something worth fighting for? Because it felt like it most of the time.
When I arrived it was awkward and then passionate and then awkward again. Now what?
His phone alert went off at all hours of the day and night reminding me that he was not mine. I never forgot that, trust me, but laying in bed with another woman’s man hearing the beep of her most recent text, I felt the lowest I had ever felt in my life. Who was I? Because this person lying in this motel bed with her old love was not me. I was a good girl. I followed the rules. I didn’t hurt other people intentionally. And yet here I was, acting so out of character that I felt like I could throw up.
My water bottle opened in my purse, soaking the entire contents including my camera. I bought a disposable but ended up only taking one shot- of a seagull perched on the weathered wharf, the stunning blue of the sky meeting the churning blue of the sea, the sun so blinding I couldn’t see. The irony is not lost on me. The memories I have from that weekend are sad. Not because we didn’t end up back together but because we were wrong to try. I am only responsible for my own actions and so, years later, I am still ashamed.
I don’t think she knows but that fact doesn’t change my regret. Her knowing wouldn’t make it any more wrong. It would just make it more hurtful.
I’m just so very sorry.
For all of us.
“There’s no mercy in a live wire/No rest at all in freedom/Of the choices we are given it’s no choice at all/The proof is in the fire/You touch before it moves away/But you must always know how long to stay and when to go/And there ain’t no talkin’ to this man/He’s been tryin’ to tell me so/It took awhile to understand the beauty of just letting go/’Cause it would take an acrobat, I already tried all that/I’m gonna let him fly. . .” -Fly, Patty Griffin