I’m living in the house he bought for her. She raised her three children here, she cared for her ailing mother here. She had relations with a man here for over a decade, this was their home.
30 years ago I met a man, he was charming, with sweet finesse, an Italian. I loved the way he walked, the way he talked, the way he smiled at me, and fell instantly in love. We dated for 3 years. I knew he had another, but he seemed so honest in his desire for me. Oh what a young and naive mind will believe … I was going to stop dating him because he refused to stop seeing the other woman, always giving me a sob story about her heart. That is when he agreed to let me move in.
I lived with him for 4 years. Cooking, cleaning, going hunting … whatever he wanted to do, I was so happy to be there, I looked forward to my whole life being with him. At the seventh year, things changed, he grew distant. I knew he was having an affair. It took nearly a year, but it became quite clear, obvious, proof left nothing left to lie to myself about.
I cracked. I left him, broken, my heart in pieces, my world shattered. I left my job after 10 years, I had nothing, no home, no job, no relationship. I spent the summer camping in the wilderness which helped a lot, but not quite enough. The rest of the story I will leave untold for now.
I sit here drinking my coffee, thinking of the memories his affair had, and of the woman and her memories of this house and her family, supported by the one who broke my heart, he graciously caring for her and her children for nearly 20 years. I’m reminded of the heartbreak, and I think about ‘this woman’. It suddenly occurs to me that I was ‘this woman’ to the one he was seeing before I came on scene. And I feel somewhat shamed. She is gone now, cancer took her, however I imagine the pain that my dating this man 30 years ago caused her. My hope is that she has forgiven me.
A young 24 year old, naive, believing in love and the lies told by a horny man. All he saw was my body, and he lusted after me. Now days, we are friends, and I believe perhaps he cares more for me now than he did then, yet the painful memories are still there, connected. When will I be able to peel myself from this scenario? When will I grant myself release? When will this attachment which caused me to lose my mind be broken? Will I survive it?
Yes, I think on the pain an affair brought me, once angry with the woman, even more than the man. I remember the beginnings of this relationship and I realize I am that which has caused me pain … I take a hard look at the many other events in life, searching for the actions and behaviors in me which I claim to see in others, which are hurtful.
I swear I will find these things and eradicate them from my being.
They have no place here, in my heart.
They have no right to justification, no defense.
If goodness in the world is to be, then goodness in me must overcome these things. I tear down their defenses, and I choose to eliminate them from my life. One memory after another.