One Day It Will Be Otherwise
January 3 — It’s still dark outside. It will be dark for a few more hours. The alarm on her phone should be sounding off soon. She looks and sees in another 30 minutes it will be time to get up. She’s not actually waking up because that would imply she has slept. Each moment she continues to deliberate over getting out of bed or not brings her physical pain.
Quietly she rolls out of from under the covers and grabs her things to get in the shower. Afraid to look in the mirror she keeps her head down. That won’t work for long because the bathroom has mirrors on every wall including in the shower.
The water is hot now and she steps inside letting it hit her face first before turning her back. Finally, she looks up to see a woman that has been crying silently all night. She is heartbroken and her swollen eyes tell a story. Hoping there is enough distance between the bathroom and the bedroom where her lover sleeps she begins to sob loudly.
He will be getting up soon. His flight is several hours before hers but they will head to the airport together. She doesn’t want to be in this foreign country without him.
Getting dressed has never been such a challenge. Putting on makeup was almost impossible. The tears don’t stop. This isn’t the way she wants to leave him. As if making an ultimatum with her tears she stares into the mirror and says, “Quit crying or else”. It seems to help and she applies enough makeup to look made up but not so much that you can tell if it gets smudged.
Walking back into the room she packs up her things, straps on her boots, and is ready to leave at a moment’s notice. As she walks by the bed her lover grabs her hand and pulls her back in. Completely unaware of how long he’s been awake she lies down without any resistance. Knowing this is the last time they will embrace this way together the tears come back. There is no sound but her body is shaking and she knows he can feel it.
Finally, the alarm sounds and there is a reason for her to get up. Leaving the room she isolates herself in another. Soon it will be time to take the luggage downstairs to meet the car and that will give her something to do. In what seems like minutes he is ready to go and they leave as though nothing has just taken place.
The car ride to the airport is mostly quiet. They hold hands. Exchange carefully selected words. Then it’s over. She heads one direction and he heads another. There is no running through the airport because he changed his mind. There is no dramatic scene of professed love. There is no stranger to come to her aid with any kind words of hope. It, whatever it was, was over.
Standing in a foreign airport seems appropriate. Nothing feels real. It was like she was transported to another time and place. Like in the movies when the camera spins around the character’s face and they remain still. Life doesn’t stop for anyone else, but it has for her.
Tears poured like rain. How many more tears could a person produce? If she continued to let them fall without wiping them away would that help? No one seemed to notice. Or maybe even in a crowded airport she didn’t notice a single person. Whatever the case, the energy it would take to wipe them away seemed futile.
— — -
As you’ve probably guessed “she” in the story is me. This event took place a year ago today. I fell in love with the most amazing man. Smart, funny, respectful, thoughtful, communicative, and so much more. There was one problem. He wasn’t in love with me. He loved and cared for me, but that isn’t being in love. Coming to this realization while on vacation was not ideal.
The next days, weeks, and months were rough. So exhausted, weak, and heartbroken I had to brush my teeth sitting on the bathroom floor. I couldn’t go anywhere without tissue. Ending that relationship was the hardest thing I ever had to do. It was also the best thing I ever did for myself.
For the first time in my life, I loved myself more than someone else and would not compromise on my dream of being in love with a man who is also in love with me. As hard as it was I knew as long as I clung to that relationship I was never going to allow myself to experience what I dreamed of.
Plus, staying longer would have ruined the memories of what we had. How can you be mad at someone who loves you but isn’t in love with you? You can’t. It’s not his fault. He did nothing wrong. He is still a great man and a wonderful friend. He is like no one else I’ve ever met or knew existed. He’s man enough to continue to be friends with me and asks for nothing in return.
It makes me happy to know that what we had as friends still remains. It was never in vain. We were given one another for a specific time in our lives. I will be forever grateful.
What I didn’t know would take place in my life was a defining event. It was the day I became a true artist. Instead of retreating and isolating I poured myself into new work and wrote my book which went on to be a bestseller. That’s what artists do. I can’t tell you what it was like to look back at that moment and know I didn’t let heartbreak define me. I used it to become a better version of myself.
I share this with you because if you are going through rough and difficult times, one day it will be otherwise. Has someone fallen in love with me yet? No, but I’ve fallen in love with myself. I loved the book I wrote and the vacation I took myself on last year. I love that I was able to make a hard decision knowing it would be painful but I’m worth it.
They say you should manifest and speak what you want to have. Here’s what I want from love:
I want his heart to skip a beat looking at me knowing that mine has skipped looking at him.
I want him to think my voice sounds like a song and never get tired of hearing it and him to know I hang on his every word.
I don’t want him to read my mind. I want him to ask me questions. I want him to know that he is safe with me and I welcome all he wants to share.
I want to read books together and discuss our findings.
I want to hear I love you every morning and every night and I don’t want him to get tired of hearing the same.
I don’t want to complete him because I want to compliment him and he wants the same for me.
I don’t want to be his better half I want to bring a side out of him that he didn’t know existed and he wants the same for me.
I want him to remember the scent of my hair the way I remember his cologne.
I want for us to breathe each other in support the other’s life.
I don’t want us to take care of each other I want us to lift up the other and provide a safe landing.
I want someone who will tend to me when I’m ill and allow me to do the same.
I want someone who lets me cry and understands it’s part of my language just like silence is a part of his.
I want someone who understands my needs to write when I get the urge and know that I understand when he needs to be alone.
I want someone who appreciates how I can spend hours looking at art but knows he cannot.
I want someone who doesn’t mind when I sing and dance in the car and feels comfortable enough to make a fool out of himself too.
I want someone that wants to take photos with me. He’s not concerned of who will see them. He understands I want to take photos with him so years from now he’ll see that I love him more now than I did then.
I want someone that understands at the end of the day I might need a shoulder to cry on, a hug, a kiss, a dancing partner, a date, a comedian, a friend, an advisor, but I don’t always know which one.
I want someone who will know when he hurts my feelings and simply apologize and someone who will accept my apology as well.
I want someone who wants to be in love as much as I do.
Why did I write the story and refer to myself as “she”? Because while the memory is still vivid I am no longer that person. I am better. Today it is “Otherwise”……
I got out of bed
on two strong legs.
It might have been
otherwise. I ate
milk, ripe, flawless
peach. It might
have been otherwise.
I took the dog uphill
to the birch wood.
All morning I did
the work I love.
At noon I lay down
with my mate. It might
have been otherwise.
We ate dinner together
at a table with silver
candlesticks. It might
have been otherwise.
I slept in a bed
in a room with paintings
on the walls, and
planned another day
just like this day.
But one day, I know,
it will be otherwise.
— Jane Kenyon
My end of day gratitude:
- For new beginnings even when they start from painful endings.
- For true friendships.
- For poets who write and will never know what an impact their work has made.
Check out my reason for making this trip here.