This latest Dayna’s Dose is a departure from the heavily researched, life improvement and personal growth articles I typically write. This piece is a narrative on personal growth, written with the intention of taking you on a journey that moves you. I hope you enjoy it. -Dayna
The Four Moments
By Dayna Mason
Outside the window the sun casts shadows on the valleys between the grassy hills. Soon the sun will move, and the shadows will move with it.
I scan my husband’s face for my best friend. He is gone. The body of the man sitting on the couch next to me seems vacant. I try to make eye contact. He avoids my gaze. I miss him. I feel so alone.
“Go ahead, tell your husband what you’re feeling,” says the counselor.
A flood of thoughts rush to compete for expression; I want my best friend back. Why won’t you even look at me? I need you. I don’t want to go through this alone.
“I hurt too. Please talk to me.” I glance toward my husband’s face covered by his hands.
“I can’t do this.” He walks to the door and leaves.
Outside the window the sun has moved. The shadows are gone from the hillside valleys. But the shadows of our dead son remain.
The enchanted glow of dusk dances across the cobblestone streets and bridges of Salzburg. The further we walk the more this Austrian city reveals its romance.
“This is the most magical place I’ve ever been,” I say. We stop on a bridge covered in locks.
“Look at this one,” he says. “William & Diane – In love forever.”
The lock is red and shaped like a heart. I look at his hand cradling the lock. Strong, yet gentle. There was a time he held my hand that way. There was a time we would’ve placed a lock on this bridge. Not now. Now he wants to find someone else to share his messages of forever with.
“I’ve dreamed of a honeymoon in Salzburg from the time I first visited when I was on leave from the military in Germany,” he says.
I smile. Maybe he will one day. But he no longer wants it to be with me. He says we’re just taking a break. That he just needs time to figure out what he wants. But I know it’s over.
We traveled here as “friends.” But we both know that “friends” is just our way of saying, I’m too afraid to find out what life is like without you.
“I’m falling in love with you all over again,” he says as he stares into my eyes. I want to believe him, but I’ve grown weary. There was the phone call where he told me that he loved me and didn’t want to be with anyone else—while he made his way on the train to spend the weekend with another woman. There was the time he reassured me that I was the only woman for him—as he left on a trip to the ocean with a different woman. Then there was the time he told me that I was all he wanted, that he couldn’t imagine his life without me—on the day before he traveled to a romantic resort to be with another woman for the holidays.
But still, I want to believe him. I want to believe that this time it’ll be different.
But I can’t. Something in me has changed. I’m not angry. I’m not resentful anymore. I just don’t believe him. I can no longer talk myself into believing him.
We kiss goodbye.
“Let’s go on a trip. Somewhere warm.” His words attempt to make up for the latest choice of his that’s caused me pain.
“Let me think about it,” I say, not because I need to think about it, but because I want to give him time to show me something different. To show me that anything has changed. To show me that he has changed.
That doesn’t happen. Instead, he takes another woman to somewhere warm.
I quit answering his calls.
I sip coffee from the mug that reminds me, “Let all that you do be done in love.” The flavorful simplicity of the perfect coffee/cream ratio delights me. I notice a calm in my body as I look out the window at the distant shadowy mountain backdrop in the early morning light.
A few weeks ago, I was inspired to take six months off from dating to have some time to get to know myself better without distraction—to liberate my thought-life from the search. I realized that while there were times when I was “technically” single over the years, I had never been single without wanting not to be single.
So this is what peace feels like.
I change the music on my Sonos system to my current favorite danceable song. A rush of joy floods my body. I want to capture this moment. I start the video camera on my phone and bounce to the music.
I play back the video. I love that woman. Look at her. In her pajamas, dancing with her coffee cup. She is free. No longer shackled by the wants, needs, demands of others. She still loves people with reckless abandon but has stopped abandoning herself in the process.
I take the last sip of my coffee and look out the window. The sun has dissolved the shadows on the distant mountain backdrop.
Love. For the woman in the video—has dissolved the shadows in my heart.
Read more on the topic of being happily single in this article.
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