September 14, 2013
“Sorry, baby. My heart just can’t forget”.
As I heard these nauseating words from the lips of my about-to-be ex-sweetheart, a month ago, a sledgehammer to my rib cage would have felt soothing. Our relationship was sixty-four months old — going on six years, and I had truly believed I had landed a “keeper”.
Well, that’s what I get for thinking, right?
I had not seen this coming. Or had I? Weeks later, when I combed the wreckage, I discovered subtle clues that our relationship had a date with the “deeps”.
Clue One; At first, when we started hanging out together, he would pose for pics with me whenever we went out on the weekends. Yeah, I knew it’s a corny thing to do, but, hey, we were in love.
A couple of months ago, while we were in Fort Worth’s Sundance Square, I aimed the camera at us before the server brought our food. He shrank away and turned skittish as a Shetland pony.
“What?” he said, lip curled. “You trying to alert the NSA?”
I stared at him. The old “who-are-you-and-what-have-you-done-with-my-fun-lovin’-honey?” cliche crossed my mind.
“I didn’t know you minded. Why are you just now saying something, now?”
“I never liked it. I just went along. Okay, just don’t post it to my Facebook wall.”
I stared at him some more. Whoa! Something isn’t right.
Clue Two: The same man who, when we fell in love, seemed eager to plan our next weekend, gradually appointed me Social Director. That,alone, wasn’t so bad. But, within the past six months, when I would ask him what he felt like doing for the weekend to come, he would shake his head wearily.
Gee whiz, I wanted to say, don’t strain yourself.
“I dunno,” he’d mutter, with the joy of one attending his own execution, “I don’t think that far ahead.”
Having lived for the weekends — the only time we had together, I was crestfallen.
Give him a break, Kim, I thought. He’s got a lot on his mind.
A “lot” turned out to be Ex-wife Number-Two. Yesirree, after dumping him twenty years ago, the old girl was back with a hoax that I’m surprised Snopes.com hadn’t listed. I had to hand it to her. She had his “number”. She knew he was soft-hearted, gracious, and gullible beyond belief, where she was concerned.
A fitting segue to the last clue.
Clue Three: You know the relationship has sprung a leak when ex-girlfriends, ex-fiancees, ex-wives and — these days — ex-boyfriends and ex-husbands — appear, like Cinderella’s coachmen, to spirit away men we thought were ours.
That was a month ago — August 18, to be exact.
To this day, I still fume over the irony of it all.. He knew I was in it with him for the long haul. I was a constant force in his life, as he was in mine.I had seen him at his best and at his worst. And I loved him, regardless. Within forty-eight hours, he had flicked away “constant” for “variable” — a woman who had dumped him, once, and would surely dump him again.
I’m outraged, sad, hurt, shocked, wistful, and then back to furious, until I remember what all I have lived through: nine years as a caregiver, the deaths of my parents and a beloved dog, two divorces, and brain surgery. Compared to those catastrophes, those gut-wrenching heart-breakers, this little, ol’ break-up is just a skirmish. And, although I would have gladly married the man, several years ago, I now understand why he never stepped up and “put a ring on it.” He knew she was coming back.
God saw it all. I have HIm to thank for watching my “back”.
Stay tuned for “Man Overboard! Part Two: Anything is Possible”.
So, girlfriends all, gather around and share your worst break-up…and your greatest triumph over it.