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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

When She Next Sees Him

She knocked timidly on the door to the place she had called "home" with him until the day that she'd left six weeks before.

He answered quickly and ushered her in with the grin that had melted her heart the night she'd first met him.

She looked around at the flowers and the glowing candles that were her welcome.

"I missed you," he told her.

She tried not to speak, though she did let him hold her.

She was only there to get the rest of her things. She'd known walking in that she didn't really want to leave. She loved him still.

He promised her things could be different. He promised he'd try harder. That he'd make her happy. That she was his world.

Still, she kept quiet, looking into the eyes of the one she thought she'd spend the rest of her life with. She looked down at the ring she still wore on her hand.

The words all sounded right. It was exactly what she wanted to hear.

But, she remembered the hurt he'd caused. She remembered vowing to herself to never let it happen again. She reminded herself that she was worth more than this and that she had a better life waiting for her or at least the promise of a better life. She knew the words were not enough.

She vowed to remain strong, to leave this place.

He realized he wouldn't change her mind, that he couldn't stop her from leaving. "Someday," he told her, "we'll be together. Maybe our timing just isn't right. But, there's no way that we'll never see each other again."

She wanted to cry. Did that mean he still loved her? The way that he'd loved her in the beginning, when he made her feel like the world revolved around the two of them and nothing else mattered? We loved with a love that was more than love, echoed the line from a poem read long ago.

Maybe he just needed time. Time and then they'd be together.

But, if they were going to be together someday, why wait? Why leave? Why not stay?

Her resolve weakened and she opened her mouth to tell him that she didn't want to leave.

But, wait. He hadn't asked her to stay now.

He's only telling her that maybe someday, he'll be ready and they can be together then.

Not now.

That's no way to live. To love someone who can only make some vague promise of someday.

How would it be to stay with someone who didn't want the now, only the hope of something in the future?

And so she gathered the rest of her things. As she emptied her closet, her eyes came to rest on the wedding dress hanging there, still wrapped up.

She could see his reflection in the mirror. Knew he saw what she was looking at.

"You might need it someday," he said.

"I woudn't wear it to marry someone else," she whispered. "It wouldn't be right."

"No, but you still might need it. You never know..." And he smiled.

She left the room without another word and began to take her things to her truck, fighting back tears.

It seemed like there should be more to this scene unfolding before her eyes. That it wasn't possible to end this part of her life so quickly and without much fanfare. Someone should stop this, change this, where was that magical moment that happens in the movies where everything can be made okay again with just the right words?

He held her in his arms inside the doorway of the place that used to be theirs. She closed her eyes and breathed in the smell of him, trying to remember or to forget or to freeze the moment.

She silently prayed, "Don't ask me to stay. Don't ask me to stay. I can't leave if you ask me to stay. Oh, please, ask me to stay. Ask me...don't ask me...."

They walked outside and he helped her into the truck. He held her hand and said, "I love you."

She didn't trust herself. She was afraid of what she would say if she spoke. She thought she'd fall apart if she tried to tell him what she was feeling. And she wanted his last memory of her to be that of a strong woman, not an emotional mess.

And so she merely smiled, let go of his hand, and closed her door.

She drove away from him, still fighting back tears.

When she could see the city where they'd lived in her rearview mirror, knowing she'd never go back, she let herself cry and whisper, "Good-bye."

This post was originally published on 5/26/2010.

If you missed any of the story of my past, where yes, I talk about myself in the third person, you can check out these links to get caught up:

10 Days After the Hurricane
Was It a Big Mistake?
A Romance Grows
And Then He Left Her
She Moves for Him
The Waiting Game
The Engagement
The Year It All Goes Wrong
The Break
The Worst Thing She Ever Did



Blogger Unknown said...

ughhhh can I smack him now?? pleaseeee purty please..

January 4, 2011 at 7:50 AM  
Blogger Joann Mannix said...

I had some catching up to do. With everything that's been going on around here, I missed a few. And so, I just went back and read everything.


Think about what your life might have been like if you hadn't been this strong. Your refusal to accept half hearted somedays was probably the best thing you ever did for yourself. Amazing. Amazing story. And I hope you tell us at some point, whatever happened to him?

January 4, 2011 at 8:21 AM  
Blogger The Mommyologist said...

I think I remember reading this one with the dress! So hard...but everything definitely happens for a reason!

January 4, 2011 at 8:22 AM  
Blogger BNM said...

loving this story girl :) I cant imagine how hard that must have been

January 4, 2011 at 8:41 AM  
Blogger Oka said...

Hard to see with all the emotion, but the open door to a new beginning :D

January 4, 2011 at 8:49 AM  
Blogger Evonne said...

It's not fair to you to be with someone who only seems to live for a future of what-ifs. Good for you for being strong. At least on the outside.

January 4, 2011 at 9:03 AM  
Blogger Kir said...

I just love the story..the way you're telling it, with nothing hidden from us.

that is actually happened to you...is POWERFUL and makes me like the story even more. Can't wait to see where it goes.

January 4, 2011 at 9:04 AM  
Blogger Mimi N said...

I missed 3 installments! What the heck. I just ran back and read them to catch up. Yikes! This is so heartwrenching!


January 4, 2011 at 9:09 AM  
Blogger natalee said...

Oh my God.. I'm freaking Out!!!!!!! This is better than any soap opera.. EVER!!!!! I'm tearing up and I'm dying for more..more more.........


January 4, 2011 at 9:19 AM  
Blogger Jackie said...

That brought tears to my eyes! You need to hurry up and finish it! There has to be a happy ending.

January 4, 2011 at 9:27 AM  
Blogger MommyLovesStilettos said...

I have goosebumps!

January 4, 2011 at 9:38 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

I nearly passed out when I realized I'd reached the end a few days ago...I never thought I would make it til this post! This is an amazing post and I can't wait to finish!!!

January 4, 2011 at 9:40 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Good for you for being strong enough to not sell yourself short.

January 4, 2011 at 10:26 AM  
Blogger Stasha said...

How hard it must have been for you...

The hard times of our past is what makes us who we are today...


January 4, 2011 at 10:38 AM  
Anonymous Megan (Best of Fates) said...

I'm normally not a huge fan of past stories or of third person narratives, but you're such an amazing writer you drag me in.

I love it.

Not your sadness that it, that I'm sorry about, but your story writing ability, that I love.

January 4, 2011 at 10:42 AM  
Blogger Emmy said...

Oh you so made the right choice! You write so well in can just feel so much when I read these. Wow

January 4, 2011 at 10:44 AM  
Blogger Frugal Vicki said...

I thought that sounded familiar! The story coming around full circle, I loved it!

January 4, 2011 at 10:46 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

I held my breath during this. The sadness of this was THAT tangible. I'm glad that you didn't settle- that you realized that you deserved happiness immediately.

January 4, 2011 at 11:45 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

You were so strong! And I can't believe he never asked you to stay! but it's all for the better, so... :)

January 4, 2011 at 12:30 PM  
Blogger Kmama said...

Ahh, I thought I had read that one before (thanks for saying it was published in May...I thought I was going crazy).

It still makes me cry. I can't imagine how you were feeling at that time.

January 4, 2011 at 12:57 PM  
Blogger TheBabyMammaChronicles said...

You're a strong woman. Good for you.

January 4, 2011 at 1:06 PM  
Blogger KLZ said...

It's a timeless story - I'm glad you put it up again. People need to be reminded of their worth.

You're very strong.

January 4, 2011 at 1:07 PM  
Blogger Helene said...

I just realized I was reading this with my face practically against my computer screen, with my mouth hanging open.

I want MORE...MORE, I tell you. I wish I had been as strong as you were plenty of times in my life when I made bad decisions to stay with boyfriends (and my ex-husband before we divorced). I wish I could've made myself believe that I deserved better than vague promises of a better love someday in the future.

Whether you know it or not, you are a very brave, courageous woman. Can you imagine if one of your sons ever goes through a situation like this in his life (hopefully not) but you'll be able to share this story with him to empower him and show him that self-worth and self-love is the most important thing to have!

January 4, 2011 at 1:45 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Great, as always! I know I've said it before, but I will say it again-You have real writting talent girl!

January 4, 2011 at 1:48 PM  
Blogger Alexandra said...

Oh, I'm so hooked.

You make this story real.

You need to think about being serious about this being a romance novel.

I'm not lying to you.

January 4, 2011 at 2:01 PM  
Blogger Liz Mays said...

I just put my makeup on and now it's running down my face! So sad!

January 4, 2011 at 2:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Several differences between our break-ups, but so similar too.

Although I did use the same dress. I am too cheap not to. LOL

January 4, 2011 at 3:08 PM  
Blogger Macey said...

I'm not strong enough. I would've stayed and been miserable.

January 4, 2011 at 3:28 PM  
Blogger Lourie said...

Looks like I've got some reading to do!!

January 4, 2011 at 5:39 PM  
Blogger Sorta Southern Single Mom said...

Well, now, years later, I'm glad for you that you stayed strong and that he DIDN'T ask you to stay, but I know your heart must have been breaking in the moment.

January 4, 2011 at 5:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are such a strong person! I can't believe he didn't ask you to stay. But...every thing happens for a reason!

January 4, 2011 at 6:24 PM  
Blogger Stephanie @ dial m for minky said...

I cannot believe that I have never been here...I SUCK! I'm going to be making my way through your 3rd person stories after Boss crashes tonight!

January 4, 2011 at 6:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a wonderful writer you are! I have a lot of catching up to do and plan to do so right now! You are SO STRONG and I love that you allowed yourself to be portrayed that way by using silence. You go girl!

January 4, 2011 at 7:46 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I'm with the Empress- you have novel writer in you. Your strength in being able to retell this story is nearly as powerful as the strength you needed to walk away. It has to be so painful to remember the details. And I think we are all sitting here wanting to kick him for never asking you to stay. A true validation of your right decision.

A side note, I was trying to figure out why this seemed familiar while I was reading it- then I got to the end. I think I've been following you for quite some time now!

January 4, 2011 at 8:10 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I'm with the Empress- you have novel writer in you. Your strength in being able to retell this story is nearly as powerful as the strength you needed to walk away. It has to be so painful to remember the details. And I think we are all sitting here wanting to kick him for never asking you to stay. A true validation of your right decision.

A side note, I was trying to figure out why this seemed familiar while I was reading it- then I got to the end. I think I've been following you for quite some time now!

January 4, 2011 at 8:10 PM  
Blogger Joey Lynn Resciniti said...

The agony and torture! It's too much!

January 4, 2011 at 9:07 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I can imagine how hard that was for you.
What I love is I know that's not the end of YOUR story.

January 4, 2011 at 9:22 PM  
Blogger Daisygirl said...

ugh! Relationships are so hard! Your story hit close to home with me it sounded what the Hubman and I just currently went through I so wanted him to beg me to stay but also let me go....stupid emotions!

January 4, 2011 at 11:28 PM  
Blogger The Sisters' Hood said...

Love your writing, now go and find a publisher!
Just left you 'blog love' on my blog, go and pick it up :)

and see you in TN in a few!

January 5, 2011 at 12:17 AM  
Blogger Katie Hurley, LCSW said...

I'm paralyzed with anxiety while reading these. Excellent writing! Sometimes strength is all you have, even when you really don't want it at all.

January 5, 2011 at 1:10 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I had a guy once ask for a relationship raincheck. Some guys just don't get it.

January 5, 2011 at 4:28 AM  
Blogger Theodora Ofosuhima said...

Going was the best solution but sometimes the love it's too strong so some stay to live just in pain :(.

'She' did very well to just take her things and leave.

January 5, 2011 at 6:45 AM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

OMG...that first comment was hysterical!!!

I give you credit for recognizing what he *wasn't* saying in that moment. So many times we hear what we want to hear, but this time you didn't and you made the right decision...clearly.

January 5, 2011 at 7:16 AM  
Blogger Tiffany said...

Is this the end? Is there more? I can't believe that he let you walk away and gave you nothing!

January 5, 2011 at 5:43 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

Yesssssss!!!!!!!!! I thought I remembered this post as I was reading it. I am so proud of how strong you were(are.) Love you!

January 5, 2011 at 7:54 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

You are one strong lady, lady. Good for you for leaving though - you definitely deserved more than what you were getting.

And thanks for sharing your story - I've really enjoyed reading it. Is it over now? If yes, I will miss it b/c I always looked forward to the next installment. You really know how to tell a story.

January 6, 2011 at 12:42 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I think this one has to be my favorite so far. I think you were a picture of strength here.

January 6, 2011 at 8:22 AM  
Blogger all.things.fadra said...

I keep forgetting to stop by and catch up and then I remember and I get lost in your words and then....

I have to wait some more. You keep writing and I'll keep reading.

January 6, 2011 at 1:27 PM  
Blogger MommaKiss said...

I don't have it in me to be mad at him - but I remember reading this - and now knowing the whole story - holy crap, Shell. Holy. Crap.

Thank you for sharing it with us. All of it.

January 6, 2011 at 10:35 PM  
Blogger FreeFlying said...

Heartbreaking. Also, I just read your post about your husband outing your blog and that hurt my heart, too. If you were my neighbor, I'd bring you a mug of hot chocolate right now.

January 8, 2011 at 9:28 AM  
Blogger shortmama said...


January 9, 2011 at 8:47 PM  
Blogger Angie said...

"The way that he'd loved her in the beginning, when he made her feel like the world revolved around the two of them and nothing else mattered? We loved with a love that was more than love, echoed the line from a poem read long ago."

"She closed her eyes and breathed in the smell of him, trying to remember or to forget or to freeze the moment."

Beautiful. Beautiful. Says so much.

This visit held so much emotion - up, then down, hope, then despair. Hanging on, letting go.

Brilliantly told.

January 11, 2011 at 8:08 AM  
Blogger Jessica said...

You are one tough cookie.

January 12, 2011 at 7:21 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Ugh - luckily he came to his senses. If this were the end, I'd be thoroughly disgusted. :-)

January 13, 2011 at 7:50 AM  

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