Editor’s Note: This is something that I wrote a while back and forgot about it. I included it here because we are just about at the point at which the editing will start in earnest and I wanted to make sure it was included just in case I decided to use it.
Only Time isn’t a song that I remember listening to with Ann, but something about it makes me think about her. I don’t know what, why or how it does nor do I care.
That is because I am operating on nothing more than my gut and intuition. I am ignoring the quiet whispers inside my head that say that this is a fool’s errand and running uphill to try and gain a vantage point that allows me to see what has been hidden.
That wacky woman has done a number on me like no other and it infuriates me. I don’t like feeling off kilter and off balance. I don’t like this sense of unfinished business or this other presence inside my heart that keeps tugging on it.
I don’t like it because it doesn’t make sense but in many ways nothing about us ever did. All those cliches about us were true. We broke the rules, stole fire from the gods and were punished for it. Or at least I was punished.
She might call it melodrama, my saying that I was punished but I wouldn’t. I say that is a clear description of how I felt and in some respects still feel. Maybe it is a character flaw to be irritated by our not having gotten the chance to try living the life that we could have had together. Maybe I am a fool for thinking that love like ours never dies, but it is how I am made.
And she knew it and if she knew me as I think she did than she still knows it.
You see the thing that burns me up now is that sense of being so close. It is that feeling that she is almost there, that if I said the right thing she would nod her head and smile. And that smile, the one that no one else got would warm my heart and make me feel like superman.
That moment would last a life time and I wouldn’t hesitate to pull her to me and find out if absence makes the heart grow fonder or if memories are colored.
Someone once asked me if I would feel better knowing that she agonized over us as I had and I said yes.
It is true. I wanted to know that her heart was broken and that she was devastated at the thought of not being with me. But at the same time I never wanted or want that for her. I always said that I would step in front of a bus for her. I always said I would take the bullet because that is just how it was. She was my girl and I would never forgive myself if I didn’t do all that could to protect her.
The joy of being human is that you know that you aren’t perfect and that you have flaws. But for that moment in time in which we loved each other we accept each other without reservation, qualification or exception.
I let her see me for who I am and she loved me.
How can a man ignore that. Only a fool would. And I did the same for her.
So here we are in this strange place that neither one of us could have predicted. I have written her a hundred million letters and not sent a single one to her. You see what I never told Sheri is that I did reach out to her on several occasions.
She rejected me every single time.
There was never any indication that it bothered her or that she missed me. I never saw anything in the letters she sent me that suggested an ounce of regret or a reason to hope.
A thousand years ago when we were “us” and not two separate individuals she saw me battle. She watched me debate and win time after time. She saw me go to war on the field and win.
I like to think that she remembered that I have never been one to just give up. I like to think that she was testing me by playing hard to get. But that also suggests there is game playing and that was not part of us. We played games, but not that sort. And when I thought about it I figured that maybe I needed to just heed her words and let go.
Maybe she was being honest and didn’t want anything. Maybe there was nothing left. We used up all of our magic dust and it was never replaced. So when she said to go away… I did.
That wasn’t easy to hear or accept, but I did. I walked. I left. I turned off the lights and locked the door. The shop was closed and there was no point hanging out hoping for a different outcome.
At least that is how it was until that lunch with the girls when they said she was available. I still didn’t want to follow up because I didn’t see the need to be kicked in the teeth and then Sheri told me about how Ann had mentioned me. She told me about how Ann read everything I wrote and I began to wonder.
Thoughts began to percolate and I remembered things I had forgotten. I read some old letters and heard her ask me to not let go. That wasn’t my own desire talking- it was what she said.
Her notes to me said that I was the love of her life and that she thought we could overcome anything. After one of the biggest fights we ever had she made me promise to ignore comments made while angry. She told me that if let go she would never forgive me and that I just needed to figure out how to convince her to spend time alone with me.
I remember telling her that it was ridiculous. She agreed. She nodded her head and said that it was silly and that one day we’d wake up and make breakfast for our grandchildren.
“Jack, stupid things happen sometimes. Promise me again that if we lose each other you won’t just forget about me. Promise that you will fight for us.”
I teased her about that conversation. Wrote a story about it. She yelled at me and said that I made her sound ridiculous. I laughed and said that I didn’t do that, being female did that.
She rolled her eyes at me and then she kissed me. “You know more about me than any other man. If we are dumb enough to lose each other you’ll figure out a way to get me back. I won’t make it easy. When I am done, I am done. That is what happened with every other guy, but you are different.”
Those weren’t the exact words, but they are close enough. It is what I remember. For a long while I agonized over that and believed that it didn’t happen that way. I would have continued, except I found the letter from her that confirmed it.
It sounds like the plot of some ridiculous Hollywood romantic comedy, except it is not. It is what happened and now I have to figure out how to convince the woman who made me promise her that if we ever broke up I would ignore her rejection and fight to get her back.
Yep, that sounds like a recipe for all kinds of fun now doesn’t it. When does no mean no except when it doesn’t mean no. If you know it would great if you tell me so that I would know too.