I still remember that moment like it was yesterday. I stood there at the center of his doorway, light years away from the walls I once called my own. I stood there wearing my knee length black cotton dress and my brown cowboy boots. My hair was wound tightly behind my ears; my golden earrings dangled toward my chin, which was cast in the midday October sunshine. The howling wind blocked out my words, but I can’t remember if I actually said something. I remember just staring into his eyes, which I had once loved so much, which now looked at me with scorn.
I slouched inside the leather booth of my father and I’s favorite diner. I had just driven forty-five minutes with my luggage and heart cast in the trunk of that silver SUV. Food didn’t sound enticing to me. The only nourishment I ever knew had slammed the door in my face, casting me aside like the leaves that fell down from the trees above us. Out of nowhere, my father croaked out, “I wish you could see how different it’ll be a year from now.”
Those years of my life are looked back on with fondness. As heart-wrenching as they were, they taught me the indescribable lessons that one only learns through heartbreak. And I’m not talking about puppy love kind of sadness. I’m talking about major-league kind of heartbreak. The kind of love that involves wedding bands and marriage proposals.
The type of love that leaves you feeling isolated, with the promises of swollen bellies and soccer games, wedding anniversaries and having your husband walk your daughter down the aisle kind of love – the love that is so full of promises, but whose mistakes become evident. The kind of love that lingers inside your soul for weeks, months, and even years. That’s the worst and best kind of love to get over. When you fall in love again, it’s that kind of love you know exists.
When you decide to love again, each step is taken with premeditated caution. You no longer tread lightly. You no longer assume that this love will be different, because time has taught you otherwise so unmercifully. Every choice is thought out beforehand: every kiss, every glance, every word. All of it is carefully dissected.
You lay awake some nights going over every detail of that evening. You wonder what he meant when he told you that he thought your eyes were the most beautiful he’s ever seen. You wonder if that spark you feel when he kisses you will eventually fade away like all the others have. And when he holds your hand as he walks you to your front door, you begin to let go of all the fear that once held you down.
You’ll look into his eyes and see that the person starring back at you and you’ll tell yourself, maybe this time I can really do this. Maybe this will be the one that changes everything.