A brief plot synopsis
There once was a girl named E and TM loved her very much. And he thought she loved him as well. E and TM were talking about marriage when the whole thing blew up. Because E had another lover, S, who had been her lover during the marriage she left a week before she met TM. Only S was married as well, and broke it off, which hurt E terribly. But as she and TM were talking about children S decided that he too wanted a divorce, and went after E.
E couldn't decide between these two men, so she decided to try them both. So she told TM the week after Valentine's Day that she didn't want to get engaged, and oh yeah, there was another boyfriend.
Naturally this stung a bit, and TM despaired. But as he was her first-post divorce boyfriend, he decided to put this down to post-divorce jitters, which allowed him to do what he wanted to do, which was to make believe that things would work out in the end, and continue to see E. Until she decided she would break up with TM for S, as TM had re-discovered road racing and E was repulsed by the idea that any man of hers might play with cars.
Except three days later E had a change of heart. She decided to take a week away form both S and TM to make a final decision. Two days after that she suffered a blood clot in her leg. Scared and in real pain, she called TM.
TM rushed to her side, and suddenly realized that perhaps E had reached a moment of truth and had chosen him. Wrong! The status quo returned and TM began the slow burn. She even went so far as to tell him that she couldn't break up with S, a co-worker, because her friends at work really liked him.
Little bubbles began forming at the bottom of the saucepan.
Finally, three days before Valentine's Day E decided to go with S, who had been much more romantic of late. TM said fine, agreed to exchange things. He dropped off her things, and packed up his truck. She suggested they talk now, and all TM said was "Why?" He wished her good luck, got in his truck and drove away.
We haven't spoken since. She sent me a couple notes early on, but I never responded. I couldn't think of a single reason to.
Return to present
That was almost four years ago. I ended that relationship angrier with her than I had ever been with anyone in my entire life. To be honest, I should have ended it. Deep inside, I knew the day she told me about S that my dreams were dead. My brain knew it. But it's really hard to give up the only person whom you ever believed loved you, particularly when the week before everything had been so sweet. I rationalized and rationalized, and never blew my top. But every single day ate a little bit deeper into the core of good feelings I held, so at the end there was nothing left.
If I'm honest with myself, she had no choice but to leave me at the end. I didn't love her anymore. I was going through the motions, and it was obvious to all.
E and I have some mutual friends. They were kind and considerate of us both, avoiding the topic until a couple years had passed. But I stayed angry. I told myself it was my duty as a Christian to forgive her, I told myself it was only hurting me. And for a day or two, I might feel better. And then I'd remember the night she told me that she couldn't leave S because her friends "wouldn't like it."
But time is like a tree's roots, slipping gently into the cracks of rock. It can break down mountains. Slowly my anger eroded into insignificance. I began to remember that there were good times with her. I began to remember good things about her. I began to forgive.
A little over two weeks ago, I finally decided to do something. I mailed her a note suggesting that if she wanted to 'bury the hachet' I would be willing to talk.
No response. That in itself didn't surprise me. Honestly, I expected as much. As I had so clearly rebuffed her overtures, it seemed possible that now she might harbor a bit of anger. One one hand, that was a positive, reinforcing the legitimacy of the anger I still feel. But I was also disappointed. It would have been nice to speak as friends at parties, and perhaps to achieve some resolution.
Today I got my response. Well, sort of. Undeliverable mail. E has moved, changed her name, whatever. I don't know, and her life isn't my business. What matters to me is that I tried. Too little and too late perhaps, but the effort was made. I have taken the first step toward real forgiveness.