The Hard Part

I adore romance. I always have and I suspect I always will. Now that I am at a new level in my life as a woman of wisdom, I find romance to be fun, fulfilling, and raucous ~ and deeply meaningful. Sometimes it can cause severe anguish. And while it may be a bit hard for my children to hear about such things, I find it to be overall inspiring, magical, and remarkably frustrating.

Having been on my own for the first time in my life these last twelve years, I find romance to be a source of humor, deep throaty laughter, and playfulness. That said, my most recent romantic interest and I experienced turmoil for much of our intimacy, largely due to medical and mental issues on my part. Not long ago we ended the two-year tryst after he admits he is not “in love” with me. (Not meaning to and against all logic, I have grown quite fond of him.) Apparently I make him say things about loving me earlier in our relationship under the threat of slow death.

Not long after our split, he begins to show up at my door. Unannounced. With lovely fresh vegetables. And flowers, fresh and potted. While it does not lead to intimacy, it does lead to mealtimes together. Whoever darkens my door at mealtime, has a seat at my table. It is the custom at my cobbled-together lake cottage. (I have dear friends who label women and men who allow this particular behavior, the “casserole brigade.”)

While we never touch or talk of re-establishing our intimacy, we do renew our friendship. It is a breath of fresh air, adorable, and winningly humorous. We laugh. Hard. We tell stories on ourselves.

He assists with medical feedback for doctors and sometimes attends appointments. Then one day, he is walking me to my door and he says, “Soon… we will be romantic again. After your first year of Recovery.” (I am grateful, free, and yes, in Recovery.) That’s it. No discussion.

Apparently my feelings are not part of the equation. My feedback or wishes are not requested. I am speechless. I say nothing because, truthfully I cannot breathe. He leaves.

After thinking and reflecting on this moment I decide I am angry. With myself. I wonder about my inability to set boundaries. More than angry I am deeply offended that I have no vote. Later there is a phone message apologizing for the awkward way he has framed this. Yet, oddly, the subject is never discussed or brought up by either of us.

It is as though it never happened.

I make a painful decision. To detach and walk on. This is the hard part. The. Very. Hardest. Part.