XXXI. You've Got A Fast Car

There are certain conversations you have with the fruit of your loins that are repeated so many times as to become rote like the Lord’s Prayer.  One such conversation in our house starts when the offspring turns the magical age of sixteen and continues until, well, their death.  This is the Reader’s Digest condensed version of that conversation:

“No matter what happens, if you are broke and haven’t spoken to me in years, if you are living in a foreign country under an assumed name, if I have told you never to darken my door ever in this lifetime, if you fear I am on my last breath, if I am indigent and living in a stylish cardboard box on Broad Street, if I have lost my mind and don’t know who you are anymore, no matter what the circumstances are, if you are unable to pay your car insurance I will pay it for you.”

We have these conversations, during what I like to call The Vehicular Years of Terror, because to drive without insurance in the United States of America is beyond folly; it will be your undoing. I like my offspring to be prepared for the many ways life can kick you in the teeth. I manage to articulate this on every white knuckled, Xanax enhanced driving lesson I ever give them.  I reiterate this on a quarterly basis for the rest of their lives.  Apparently though, I had not made myself clear.

She has given you the encapsulate version of what happened last year, I’m going to provide the details, then she’s going to come behind me and correct your impressions of the situation.  As much as I want to blame her for everything that went down, I really can’t because she was trying to do the right thing on so many levels. She was trying to be a good roommate, a good friend and a responsible adult.  Unfortunately, she chose to cut the umbilical cord at a most calamitous time.

As I found out at brunch that beautiful autumn afternoon on Meadow Street, the roommate had issues.  His Mom was out of prison, again, wasn’t that great?  And he thought he had a job, well maybe he did, I mean, he dropped off an application somewhere.  They were sure to hire him, wasn’t that great? He was off the drugs, only drinking, for, like, a whole week, wasn’t that great? (I suspect this was only due to the fact that he couldn’t afford drugs.) He had invited a friend to stay, who also consumed groceries and hot water, but it was great to see him. He was getting his testosterone from a dealer to keep his period at bay and his mangy whiskers full. Apparently, if he didn’t have money for food or rent it was okay, but he’d do anything to avoid menstruation, even picking up a little cash selling his transitioning body on the street.  Great. Just great.  I've got to tell you, the peach pie was really good that day.

So she paid his share of the rent. She paid the utilities. She bought the groceries. She worked two jobs, often working from 7am to 10pm, seldom having a day off.  By December she was strapped, exhausted and sick.  She called to tell me she was coming home for the weekend and I was overjoyed. I missed her. 
As I’m sure you recall, we are from Buffalo, New York. It snows there from October to June.  We live in Richmond, Virginia where it snows once or twice a year, some years not at all.  We know how to drive in the snow.  The rest of the people in Virginia don’t.  It was the second day of the snowfall; I had driven the twenty miles home from work and found the highways clear enough for navigation.  I gave her the green light to make her way out of that freezing apartment and onto the interstate.  It should have taken her twenty minutes to get home.

She called to tell me she had difficulty getting her car out of the alley, and while she was hanging up I heard her address some male voices, telling them she was fine.  I stared at the dead phone in my hand and had the distinct feeling something was wrong.  An hour went by and she hadn’t arrived.  I called her phone, no answer. I remember being curled up in the recliner in front of the television with the dog in my lap and sitting up so abruptly I knocked him to the floor.  He turned to look at me, as if to say “What in the world was that for?”  I turned down the television so I could think.  (Does anyone else do that, or is it just I?  If I’m driving to somewhere unfamiliar and I get to a tricky part of the directions, I will turn down the volume on the radio so I can concentrate.  As I write this I think of my Mother saying, “Turn down that idiot box, I can’t hear myself think.”  I guess that’s what I do.)  I tried her phone again, no answer. I was thinking every-Mother’s-worst-fear-scenarios when the house phone rang.  It was the hospital.
Night had fallen by the time we reached the hospital; the long drive made in stony silence while I texted the Boy for support to avoid having a blame placing conversation with the Husband.  “Remember I love you,” he saidI would remember. I still do remember.  And be forever grateful he was there for me that night.  Unbeknownst to me, in the coming hours I would fear for her life, learn she had a girlfriend and was in fact bisexual, and discover she had paid his share of the rent and let her car insurance lapse ten days before. 


XXX. The Return of Braticas

Dear Readers,

Nearly two months have passed since my last post.  When we started this, the words spilled out effortlessly, but as I healed from all the emotional and physical trauma endured this year, it has become difficult for me to write.  I abandoned you and I'm sincerely apologetic.

She wrote on my behalf because I refused to despite requests from our readers.  Truth be told, she angered me with her opinions on my inner most thoughts.  Mother's always think they know everything but there was a bit of truth behind what She said.

I am disappointed in this blog; but not for the reasons She stated.  Yes, people I thought would support me in this, simply haven't.  At first I bombarded them on Facebook, pleading to share our beautiful blog by posting it on their walls.  When that didn't work, I sent personal emails asking for help and support with a glimmer of hope that out of their hundreds of Facebook acquaintances, we would gain a few more readers.  Most of those letters didn't even merit a response.  That hurt.  Even if they didn't like it, or enjoy reading, I had hoped that they would share it just to help us.

She needed to tell the world how She changed whereas I needed something else.  I desired a sense of community, to feel connected to complete strangers simply by the power of our words, our tragic stories, creatively weaved together.  Just as I enjoy catching a glimpse of someone else's life via YouTube (Nerimon, Charliesocoollike, ElectricFaerieDust) I wanted to give strangers a glimpse of my life. We have done that, but I had hoped for more.

She thinks my writer's block is from lack of comments and overall disappointment.  She's wrong.
Recently, I was chatting with our friend via Skype in which I discovered the real reason.   She inquired about the blog and I hit send before I really processed what I had responded.  I typed that it now seemed like a chore.  It's true.  She wants to hold onto every memory of the Boy where I want the exact opposite. I want to forget. Everything.  Writing about all those things now glorifies all my failures and mistakes.

 I wish I could forget about the Meadow Street house, my deadbeat roommate that got us evicted, the car accident that screwed me financially, and most importantly forget about the Girl who shred my heart into little pieces.  Writing about the house isn't just writing about the tangible house.  I think about how I was finally able to be independent, to have my best friend only a few blocks from me, and to have a life away from my parents.  Most of my memories from the house have the Girl in it, unfortunately.  It started with me laying in bed, watching movies, texting her until I couldn't keep my eyes open.  Then as we progressed, memories of laying in bed with her, watching her as she slept were made. My house was the only place we could really be ourselves.  At work, we had to hide our relationship, at my parents house my Step-Father  made mean spirited comments about her, at her house I was never welcome because of a hostile ex girlfriend/roommate.  Most of our good memories are in that house, hence why I hate it. It's all connected.  The truth is everything that has happened to me this year is because of my roommate and The Girl.

 I trusted my roommate and he took advantage of me.  He lost his job, I paid the rent, he promised to pay me back but that money never came.   My personal bills fell behind.  The weekend of the snow storm, our heat kept shutting off.  Overworked, exhausted, and stressed I became horribly ill.  I was working 12-15 hour days and begged for my roommate to call the landlord to fix the heat.  He claimed he'd called several times but only called him once. (Something I found out months later)  In fear of catching pneumonia, I headed to my parents, but a part of me decided to drive home because I knew I'd be snowed in.  I wanted to be closer to the Girl.  I knew it would be easier to see her if I was down in Chester.  I knew the roads would be plowed the next day whereas in the city they wouldn't be at all.  On the way to my parents house, I got in the accident.  Then the next day we find out my car insurance lapsed less than two weeks before. Knowing these two people has put me where I am today.  Knowing them, destroyed my life. All the progress I had made to be independent was snatched away in  seconds, as my ford focus crumbled into a massive tangled web of metal with me trapped inside.

As difficult as things have been it's all lead to where we are now.  A year ago I never would have imagined that I'd be writing a screenplay with Her and our lovely friend from Indiana.  It's brilliant and I'm excited to be a part of it; however,  I fear as time drags on, that I'll lose the motivation and give up.  I fear that it won't ever come close to completion and that it will be just another thing that I fail at.



XXIX. DazzledGirl Doesn't

The first time I saw Her apartment she and her roommate were well and settled in. I remember driving downtown with the help of my GPS, programmed in United Kingdom mode with a sexy male British accent and words like petrol station and motorway, with final direction by cell phone as She stood on the side walk and motioned me through a parallel parking exercise. One of the hazards of living in suburbia too long is that one loses the ability to parallel park. (Since I’ve given up the suburban housewife mantle, clearly the next step for me is to purchase an automobile with the built in parallel parking feature. I’m much too old to relearn the traditional way.)

I had so hoped that moving into Her own place downtown would be her salvation, that she would settle into a routine of biking to work, having picnics in Hollywood Cemetery and sitting on her stoop talking to her neighbors on lazy Saturday afternoons. I wanted her to have a life without me, a life far from the shadow of my deteriorating marriage. Her little house on Meadow Street seemed the perfect place to start.

I have said for the past twenty six years that I would never win Mother of the Year but do admit to being particularly gifted at mothering through the eyes of my child. I can become a five year old at her ballet recital, realizing after the tutu has been tied on that she needs to use the potty. I can become a thirteen year old not wanting to take gym class because she has her period. I can become a seventeen year old with a gay prom date who forgets a corsage. I can become a twenty five year old with her first dilapidated rental house. I remember the feelings of my childhood more so than the events and I have always tried to keep them foremost in my memory when parenting Her. I don’t ever want to be the parent that can’t remember the foibles and mischance of their own youth.

Her house was charming as I looked at it through the eyes of the twenty year old living deep inside me. I remembered my first apartment in downtown Buffalo, just across the street from Canisius College, where I was in my junior year as an English major. It was a two family house; I was living upstairs with three girlfriends and four football players were living on the first floor. You can imagine its appeal. My share of the rent was sixty five dollars, an utter fortune, and I was bartending at a place my landlord owned, to pay my share.

The apartment didn’t have a refrigerator. The reason being: the staircase was too narrow to navigate a modern fridge up, something that, I assure you, never crossed our minds. But it had hardwood floors, built in book cases and beautiful bay windows that ran the length of the living room. There was a third floor attic room that had no heat but was a great place to escape to with a thick novel and the afghan my grandma had crocheted for me. In the summer I would wallpaper part of those slanted walls with an oriental floral paper and cut out individual dogwoods, pasting them to the ceiling where I could enjoy them while lying on the floor of the furniture-less room.

I knew She saw Meadow Street through those same idyllic eyes. She didn’t see the faulty plumbing, the inadequate kitchen or the furnace that wouldn’t heat and would force her out into a snowstorm and into a hospital that coming December. I knew she saw the hardwood floors, the pretty moldings and the fenced in yard. I smiled brightly and enjoyed the brunch She and the Baker had made that morning; fresh fruit salad, a vegetable frittata, French toast, sausages and peach pie with Mimosas to celebrate the day. It was a perfect Sunday afternoon; She was content, I was happy in love, my Husband was at work. The only thing to mar that perfect day was meeting her roommate.

I knew as soon as I saw him. Between my precognition and a well developed judge of character, I knew immediately that he spelled trouble. At the time I thought he was a gay boy; very slight of build and mildly unattractive. He turned out to be something else entirely but I trusted Her judgment and swallowed the bile rising in my throat. ~DazzledGirl

XXVIII. Braticas Takes a Break

A few times in the past I have let you know that I was waiting on Braticas, that sometimes she had trouble getting her story told and there was a delay in our posting. I skipped her once, it was supposed to be a post about her father but she couldn’t quite get herself to do it. This time it was supposed to be about moving out. That subject certainly isn’t the emotional time bomb the other subject was, so what’s the problem?

The problem is she expected too much from this blog. She expected her friends to read it and they didn’t. She expected to get hundreds of followers and comments; the truth is we get emails and tweets and Facebook chats but very few followers and very few comments. She’s a bit disappointed. I could tell you why it bothers her when it doesn’t bother me, but it would just be conjecture. All I can say is that, for me, telling my story was a necessary part of surviving what happened in my life.

Falling in love with the Boy changed me so completely that I desperately needed to tell someone why I wasn’t the same person anymore. I needed someone to know who I was now and who I used to be and that somebody turns out to be you. Who are you? You are my family. You are friends I’ve reconnected with that I hadn’t seen in thirty years. You are coworkers. You are neighbors. You are people I gave my card to on the street somewhere. You are the beautiful new friends I have made on the internet these past months. And you are the Boy. Yes, him also.

I understand why she wants comments. When you write like this you want to know that you have been heard. That someone out there is listening. If anything we have said has meant something to you, please tell us. I think it would help her. In the meantime, I’m going to continue my story until she feels ready to catch up. ~DazzledGirl


XXVII. Regrets. I've Had A Few.

What I remember of last August are scattered images of stolen moments and shyly given kisses. The first time “Love u” lit up the screen on my phone; weeks later sitting in my car on the side of the interstate sobbing as I read his first declaration of real affection. I don’t remember seeing him more than a couple times, and only for a few moments at that, but I remember the dizzying effect of his words and the slightest brush of his fingers along the side of my hand. I spoke to him a few days ago and I don’t think he remembers any of that, I think he only remembers the tragic end. The part I wish to forget; the part I wish, more than anything, that I could take back.

Our home was still fraught with tension and stony silences back then. My Brother had visited briefly from Texas and I recall him telling my Husband to lay off me, something decidedly out of character. My brother had lamentably inherited the Italian view of marriage and thought that the man ruled the roost. For him to admonish my husband for the way he treated me was tantamount to treason. My Brother knew I was working hard, long hours and was being greeted by complaints and accusations when I arrived home each night. I think he saw that I had reached my limit. My Husband did not see.

In no way am I excusing my own behavior; I am not blaming my Husband for the way I acted. I fully understand that I had no business falling in love, that that part of my life should have stayed buried deep within me, where I might occasionally hear the rumblings from a distance but they would never be loud enough to turn my head. But when the man that is supposed to love and cherish you does not do so, those rumblings rival Niagara Falls in sheer volume and force. It’s impossible to keep your head straight.

It was nearly impossible for me not to draw comparisons between the Husband who had clearly grown weary of his wife and the Boy who needed me. Looking back, I cannot decide if it was God or Satan illuminating those stark differences. If Satan is indeed the great deceiver, how did I, with my broken cage, stand a chance of knowing the difference? I remember the Boy calling me from the store one day. We chatted while he walked around the music department until he excused himself to ask the clerk a question. I listened as he inquired as to where he might find an Andrea Bocelli CD. With a sharp intake of my breath a single pained syllable escaped my lips:”Si.” I loved Bocelli. My Husband thought it was stupid to listen to a CD in another language. I’m sure it seems stupid that something as seemingly insignificant as that could mean so much to me but I assure you, it brought me to tears. A marriage of opposites is a painful thing. Each time the light shone on another common point of interest between the Boy and me, I felt healed. I felt my heart coming back to me.

It wasn’t until late August that my Husband finally found a job and went back to work. The breath we’d been holding for six long months whooshed out in one giant sigh of relief. Financially, we were in bad shape by then. It had become such a sore topic of discussion between us that I refused to even participate in the conversation. He was bound and determined to keep a house that was rapidly deteriorating in value; a house that we had no equity left in; a house that was strangling us. I let the conversations go and celebrated him finding a job.

While he was acclimating to a new company and I was fantasizing about a life with another man, She was plotting to move out. I was so overwhelmed by the maelstrom of emotions around me that I didn’t pay attention to what She was planning. I know, secretly, in my heart, that I wanted Her to move out for one reason only: If I ever found the courage to leave my husband I wanted Her to be safely settled somewhere else beforehand. I did not want Her to be caught in what I assumed would be a vicious parting. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine what would really happen months down the road. Never once did I imagine being pinned in a chair while the man I married screamed violently just inches from my face. Never once did I imagine the cold steel of the shotgun barrel clenched in my fists. Never once did I imagine losing the Boy who started it all.

I understood Her reasons for moving downtown and for wanting to be on Her own. I, myself, had grown weary of suburbia and longed for the chicness of the city. How I would adore Friday nights on the terrace of our local corner restaurant, sharing a fish fry and a cold beer with our neighbors and walking home slightly tipsy on a warm summer night. I might have even reached the point where I wanted to enjoy the labors of others by walking the magnificent gardens of the city parks rather than toiling in the soil of my own backyard. Aside from wanting to escape the tension that was our home, I think She sought to explore Her lifestyle out from under the watchful stare of her parents. I understand that now. Back then, She could have never brought a girl home to my Husband’s house. He would not approve. I don’t know what I would have thought back then but I do know the rose colored glasses of love and the Boy’s soft words would have taken the edge off anything for me.

By September, She was moved out and our house became even quieter. I worked long days, often coming home at nine o’clock at night. My Husband worked second shift and left the house shortly after ten o’clock. Each night my cell phone would vibrate silently, tucked away in my bra, with the same question: “is he gone yet?” As soon as my answer was yes, the phone would ring. We would talk for a few stolen moments as I curled up in bed, cradling the phone as if it were him and tucking it under my pillow after we said goodnight, where I could easily feel the vibration of his “love u” delivered late, late in the night.

In retrospect, I wish I had stopped Her moving out. I wish I had asked more questions. I wish I had cared about anything other than that Boy, but I didn’t. It’s no excuse, but what I felt for him was so strong, so consuming, there just wasn’t anything else left.

XXVI. The Good Things Never Last

The expedition North had indeed cleared my head. Being in Buffalo had provided me with the motivation to move on and move out but, unfortunately, it hadn't provided the funds to do so. I knew from the Cincinnati debacle that I couldn't afford to live on my own, but I couldn't bear to live in that house much longer. Any semblance of a home life there was rapidly deteriorating. I knew about the Birthday kiss and I knew things were changing.

Back when we moved into the new house, it had been a breath of fresh air. Our pale yellow Colonial was nestled in the center of a cul-de-sac with a heavily wooded back yard and manmade pond for a view. My parents had spent the spring assembling a brick wall like the one my Grandma had in Rhode Island. It ran the front of the house and bordered a bed overflowing with PiƱata Roses, black eyed susan's, pansies, and daisies. The daisies She planted for me, right at the corner of the bed, closest to where I parked my car, so I would see them every day when I came and went. The wall led you around to a set of brick steps and black front door.

Moving meant I was further from my friends, but I didn’t mind so much because this house gave me a bit more privacy. My bedroom faced east and was the largest of three bedrooms on the top floor. With my parents’ room being downtown stairs, it was easy for me to sleep in; I no longer heard the dishwasher clinking and swishing at 8am. It was peaceful.

The yard we sought out when building the house, we rarely used. The dogs were excited at first, exploring all the new scents, digging up chipmunks and scaring squirrels, but that soon lost its appeal. They preferred taking long naps on the couch versus chasing an old tennis ball around in the heat.

She had envisioned this house to be her last, the one She grew gray in with The Husband, and the one where her grandchildren would come visit her. She imagined summer dinner parties in which we'd open the French doors and people would meander through the house and flow out into the porch, drinks and food in hand, conversing until late hours, soft music drifting through the trees and twinkle lights looking like fairies in the night. But this never happened. In fact, any time the doors were open it caused Her Husband to bark that he wasn't paying to air condition the outside. To everyone on the outside, I’m sure it appeared to be a happy home. But it was far from it. Sometimes I think Her dreams started dying that first year in the house.

I wasn’t getting along with Her Husband. He didn't understand me or any of my interests and spent more time criticizing my actions and my likes than anything else. Even though She made this family for me because She thought I needed it, the truth was that all I needed was Her. It seemed like he just tried to come between us. When he tried to discipline me, I rebelled. In my eyes, it wasn't his place to do that. Needless to say, we fought over everything.

Since I’d returned from Ohio it was even worse. He resented me being there. Losing his job made it worse. He had to take out his anger on someone and it was me. I was trying to repair my head, heart, and my finances and getting in fights over the vacuum or how I did my laundry wasn't helping. Any shot at privacy I'd once had ceased to exist. My friends were no longer welcome to visit. Moving out was becoming essential to preserving my sanity.

I began by searching in the Fan, an area of downtown Richmond sought after by trendy 30 something's, college students, and indie hipsters. With it being late August, and the university back in session, housing was sparse and roommates sparser still. That was a sign that I should have noticed but ignored instead. Being idle wasn't an option anymore, I had to change, I had to be free, and if I made a mistake or it wasn’t the ideal situation, I would at least learn from it.

Out of desperation I posted my need for a roommate on Facebook. I had one reply: an acquaintance I hadn't seen since college. We had a few conversations on the phone about living together and met up to discuss it further. I knew he wasn't a fantastic choice but I convinced myself that it was only for a year and I could deal with that. I sensed he had a rocky past like me but he portrayed himself to be on a new path with a new frame of mind. I was ready for positive changes and a plan for self improvement and he echoed this.

Once again I packed up my Gnomes and left home.


XXV. Baby, You're Not Lost

Yesterday was the first time I blow dried my hair in two months. With record breaking heat and oppressive humidity nearly every day, it seemed like an exercise in futility to try to straighten out the waves and curls I was born with. My hair is much longer this summer; the financial devastation of the previous months has whittled away the luxuries I once enjoyed. Salon days for a cut and color with a spa pedicure and French manicure are far and few between. He would have liked my hair like this but he’s been gone for many months and never saw the many ways he’d changed me.

My Husband was the first one to see the connection between me and the Boy, to see something that I thought was just a small spark hidden deep inside of me, awareness on my part but nothing more; to see the palpable energy between us, the emotional magnet drawing us together. He saw something as the Boy and I had a casual conversation of no consequence. He saw what my steel cage would never let me see, never let me hope for. He saw something in the Boy. With his primal instincts aroused, he called me out and accused me of having an affair. He put it in such vulgar terms even I was affronted. How could he possibly think this younger man I had just met had any interest in me? But he clearly thought his territory had been encroached upon and he was on high alert.

For my part, I felt something at the first handshake but I would have gone to my grave with that feeling safely locked away. I might have taken it out a time or two and wondered about it, but I wouldn’t have acted on it and I certainly would never have expected it to be reciprocated. To me, my Husband’s jealousy was a ridiculous reaction to a non-existent event. It was an overreaction to nothing. Or so I thought then.

I couldn’t say when the exchange of phone numbers happened, but it was innocent, probably an emergency contact number. I can say that I have that first text message memorized. We talked and we texted, that was all, but it was enough. Little by little information volleyed back and forth and I came to know him as the other half of myself. Habits and hobbies, likes and dislikes, needs and wants matching up in a way previously unknown to me. The casual conversation of two people getting to know each other acted as the perfect foil for my marriage. He and I were synonyms; my Husband and I were antonyms. I was aware of this, even though at the time my precognitive sense was screaming danger to me, I couldn’t stop myself.

I wish I could say that he was perfectly handsome, a flawless Adonis, that tempted me into a licentious affair that petered out when we were sated and became a secret between us that never saw the light of day. I wish I could say that, but I can’t. What I can say is, he wasn’t particularly handsome. He wasn’t a man of great position or wealth or status. He wasn’t a scholar or a poet or a great thinker. He was just a regular guy that, for some reason, became the air that I breathed.

The word love never entered a conversation in reality or in my head back then. I was fascinated by this man that had broken through the last of my defenses. Why him? Why now? After eighteen years of guarding my heart and blinding myself to the attractions of all men, why did this one break through? There was something connecting him to me that I could not define, months later the best I could do to explain it to him was to say it was like a nylon thread between us; transparent but nearly unbreakable. I could awaken in the middle of the night, pick up my cell phone and within moments a text would come through from him. I could sense his moods from miles away and accurately tell you what kind of boxers he was wearing though I hadn’t seen him or didn’t even know for sure if he wore boxers. He was a very secretive person but to me he was no great mystery. In the following months I would sense those secrets, some lies, some betrayals but I let him keep them. I never thought they were mine to explore.

Oddly enough, I never guessed for a moment that he could have real feelings for me. He had clearly made remarks that let me know he was interested, remarks that always seemed to cut directly to the questions and excuses rattling around in my mind, as if I had directly asked him if he liked older women or plus size women, which of course, I never would have asked.

We were in a crowded room, surrounded by friends and strangers alike, when he stood too close to me and I let my guard down for just a moment and said, “Please take your pheromones over there, I can’t stand this close to you.” I was horrified that I had betrayed myself so, but the look in his eyes as he turned his face toward me was all I ever needed to see. The tenor of our relationship changed critically in that moment, the connection was undeniable. I didn’t know the depth of what he felt for me, but I was surely in love with him.

As the days and weeks turned into months, the physical attraction and the emotional and mental attachment became central in my life. The trip to New York that She told you about would be the first time we were apart, even though, as I told you, we were not having an affair in the strict sense of things. I was only going to be gone for thirty six hours so we said our goodbyes on the phone the Friday night before my early morning flight. He said he would talk to me when I got home Sunday afternoon. I couldn’t say for certain but I think I looked at a picture of him every few minutes, while my romance novel sat unread in my lap. He didn’t even make it twenty four hours. I had just checked into the hotel room when the first text came through, “How is NY?” Across the room, She rolled her eyes as I flopped on the bed with my phone in one hand and his picture in the other, smiling ear to ear.

Yesterday was my fiftieth Birthday and I was surrounded by well wishes from so many lovely people in my life. My thoughts idly strayed to last year’s Birthday and the very first touch of his hand on the side of my face, his fingers in my hair; the small sound of resignation under his breath as he turned his head and lowered his lips to mine. I cannot tell you that any touch ever meant more to me.

A full year later and I am so angry at him for tarnishing those memories and letting me destroy the life I had built, that I still scream and cry in frustration nearly every day. My heart is surely broken. I thought I had read somewhere that a heart once broken is absolved of all that a heart must be. But mine still beats just for him and I cannot tell you that any love ever meant more to me.  ~DazzledGirl