11/16/2005

Staying

I've got a story, although it's not really mine to tell, but I will because I have the words.

She looked across the table at him, he was holding her hand. He was silent, she knew this was a bad sign so she tried to fill the space with words. For weeks she felt the distance growing between them and regardless of how close she remembered them being, there was a gap that she could not bridge. She smiled and squeezed his hand hoping that somehow he'd realize she loved him and sometimes that could be enough. His lips began to move but she could not bring herself to listen to what he was saying, maybe if she didn't hear him, he wouldn't have to leave - she wouldn't have to let him. "Are you listening to me," he asked. "Sorry, I was somewhere else just now," she answered. "I need you to hear me," he said. She knew she should be listening but the words were so difficult to hear, words can be so painful when they are not the ones you want to hear. "I'm listening, " she said. "We can't go on like this, we need to make things right," he told her. She knew the difference between right and wrong but choosing between them was more than she had the strength to endure. Choices, sometimes we're offered so many, sometimes - too few. What if she decided not to choose, would the choice be made for her? So many times in her life the power of choice had been taken from her and sometimes - she was glad. She admired the way his lips curved around each word, she didn't realize that breaking someone's heart could look so beautiful. "I cannot do this. My life is too complicated," he said. She thought about that word, what did it mean, was it something people said to explain their lack of willingness to accept or understand? He pulled his hand from hers, she felt the gap grow wider. Why couldn't she speak, tell him how she felt, say something, anything. She sat there, tongue twisted around the words she longed to say. Could she make him stay, did she want to? If he stayed, would she question why he never left? For the rest of her life would she contemplate this moment and wonder 'what if'? She felt his stare and for a moment, she was scared. She'd been told by many that she was strong, did she believe that was true? A plan had been laid out, mapped for quickest route to success, and now - everything had changed. He started to stand up and she knew her last chance was about to walk out of her life forever. She grabbed his hand, she pulled him back to her, she held on even when he tried to pull away. "I know myself," she said. "What does that have to do with anything," he answered. "Because knowing myself, makes me sure that if I walk away from this, I'll live to regret it the rest of my life," she told him. "I can be strong enough for the both of us, at least for a little while," she offered. "Tell me why I should stay," he asked. "Because even if you leave, a part of you will remain, right here with me, always," she answered. "You'll walk through your life forgetting what you left behind, maybe you'll succeed for awhile, but one day you'll be greeted by a version of yourself, a self you left here - with me." "You'll know that self belongs to you, because they will have your eyes." She knew he might still leave, but she'd be here because that version of his self, would have her heart and her courage. "I'll try," he said. Then he stayed.

This is not my story to tell because it actually belongs to my daughter. I'm not sure I'll ever tell her that her that daddy almost left. I think a better story, is how he stayed.

8 Comments:

  1. Caterpillar said...
    Oh my gosh, NWC, that gave me the chills. Such an intense story, and your last line is just perfect.
    maria rocio said...
    Oh, what a good story!
    WDKY said...
    Doesn't that just demonstrate how many different paths our lives, and the lives of those around us, might take? Another superlative post, and food for thought again.
    Annalis said...
    I absolutely agree with the above comments. What a touching post.
    Neil said...
    Wow, what a moment that had to be. And why do we always make it so "My life is too complicated." Why can't it be simple?
    k said...
    What an awesome and wonderful story! Now I understand your comment about "choices"... thanks for another great post, you're such a talented writer!
    Sky said...
    What a great story. It brought a tear to my eye. You have such a wonderful way with words, I always enjoy your reading your blog!
    Da Gal said...
    Amazing. I need to go read that again. There is a strength in you that seems to come out so effortlessly in your words. Thank you for being brave enough to share them here.

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