You know, when you are taking a band-aid off of a wound, people will tell you to do it quickly. It will hurt more in the beginning, but you will get over the pain faster. I did not heed this advice. Unfortunately, I took the band-aid off one painful millimeter at a time.
When I returned home from London, I was sad, but I still had hope. I told him I would wait for him, that with time, we might be able to find an answer to this dilemma that faced us. There was no response. I wrote email after email, but not a word came. My hope diminished with each passing day. Finally, about a week after I came home, I asked him to please share with me one word, anything, to please not ignore me. He only stated “My darling, I miss you more than you can imagine. I wish life could be simpler.” Nothing more.
This all happened just before the winter holidays. Thanksgiving and Christmas were difficult. Though I was surrounded by family, my heart yearned to be with him and I suffered through the holidays with pained smiles and forced laughter. Nights were spent listening to quiet music and crying silent tears. At this point, I should have realized it was over, but as anyone who knows me will tell you, I am stubborn. I could not give up. I had found something too precious to let it be destroyed by the injustices of life. So I continued to write him, but I knew that it was only by seeing him again could we find an answer to our problems. So I worked another full-time temporary position for six weeks and saved as much money as I possibly could towards a plane ticket back to England. (Of course, any woman with any pride in herself would have let him come to her at this point. What can I say? I had no pride.)
Before a plane ticket was purchased, I made sure that he wanted to see me again. He said he would love to see me and was looking forward to it. So two months after returning from London, I was again on a plane flying back to England. This time, though, I was hoping to stay about two months to give us a time to date and to find a solution.
Unfortunately, immigration did not like the idea. The officer that questioned me must have been in a bad mood and decided to take it out on someone. That someone was me. After a long, detailed process (which will be saved for another entry) they decided that my paltry sum of $1500 was not enough to stay in the UK for two months, even if I stayed with a friend. I was held at the airport and sent back to the states the following morning. I shed tears until I was empty and felt any hope I had for Aaron and I die that day.
The following day was my 40th birthday (spent mostly in bed) and two days after that, my 19 year old nephew who had been living with me and my father, died during a seizure. I went numb. There was, of course, only one response from Aaron. He sent a heartfelt and sympathetic message after the death of my nephew and nothing more.
I sunk into darkness.
For a long time, I moved through my life on automatic. Many of my days, I ended up spending hour after hour talking to other people on the internet. I spent a lot of time just staring off into space. I took long walks, watched movies, cleaned, cooked and did anything I could to not think about the pain that threatened to choke me. I dated a series of men, using their compliments and affection for the validation that I did not receive from Aaron. I was trying so hard to move on from him, but I finally had to acknowledge that it wasn’t working when, while kissing a man one night, I had to turn my head to wipe away the tears. How grateful I was for the darkness at that moment.
I finally decided that I just had to grieve: for my mother, my nephew and Aaron. There were many nights that I would crumple to my knees when a wave of pain would wash over me and everything that I had been holding in for that day would pour out of me. I would sob with my face buried in the pillow and then lay there after the storm had passed and wish for life to just end. On those nights, at my darkest moments, I would reach out in prayer to God and a comforting, warm feeling would envelope me while the thoughts in my head were always the same “It will be ok.”
During this time, I heard from Aaron a handful of times, usually in response to something I had written. He said he still loved me, but life wasn’t easy. But I still ached to see him and so finally, I decided I had to have closure one way or the other. So, I wrote him and asked that if I traveled to London again, would he want to see me. He replied that he would be “honoured.” (Please, no comments on my stupidity.)
So, in August, I made the third and last trip to London. This time, for some reason, I was waved through immigration with barely a nod. I was so thrilled. Finally, I would be able to see him again! We wrote each other and set up a day to meet. He asked me where and when. I said I would leave that up to him. No response. Again, I sent another email…no response. He stood me up. I never saw him and left London completely devastated…again.
There was never any explanation, just a short apology. Over the next five months, I went through the same series of emotions and heartbreak that I had gone through previously. I had thought that if we saw each other again, we might be able to arrive at a solution, but I at last understood that the real obstacle was him and his fears. When I finally learned that, I began the process of letting go…and of healing.
To be continued…