This time two years ago, I was finishing up signing my lease at my new/old apartment and The Sociopath (who had interviewed me at a job, and instead of getting a job, we ended up dating after he found out that I was in the process of ending my marriage) emailed me the night prior and asked if I wanted to do “something”. I sat on the floor in my empty apartment and cried incessantly for about an hour. Moving back into an apartment I had lived in before did not bring me any comfort… it brought me no familiar solace. It reminded me that after 11 years with someone – I had failed. Hard. I had failed to make it work… I had failed to keep the love and spark alive. I had failed to nurture something that started when I was just 15 years old — over the course of our many years together. Failure. The e-mails went back and forth over that night and I accepted the idea that I SHOULD NOT sit here and cry and that here was this person who was meeting me at the WORST time in my life and was still interested in getting me out of the house and engaging in conversation. (I think there was a time when he was kind to me, and interested, and did not emotionally manipulate me, but I don’t remember it well – I think this was probably that time.) We watched the fireworks on the Riverfront. Sweated our asses off – because HELLO… St. Louis in July. I remember looking over at him smiling and laughing at these little kids shrieking and toddling around every time a firework went off and thinking to myself “This is beautiful. This is a person I could really fall in love with.”. Little did I know that this night, July 4th, 2012, would be the beginning of a relationship that would bring me more heartbreak, more pain, more emotional discontent, and issues that would take me a very long time to repair.
This time last year, July 4th 2013, my daughter and I had just finished a fun little day at the carnival in the city we live in. We live on the parade route so it made for a nice little day. It was hot as hell. I put on my happy face for Girl Child and we looked cute and took selfies and cheered the Planned Parenthood float while the conservative residents of my town looked at us in ghastly horror. (See? I can throw some present-day relevance in there!) Her Dad came to pick her up and I decided that it was back to laying in bed feeling sorry for myself. The Sociopath and I had broken up (for the first time) just a month or so before, and this would have been the anniversary of our first “date”. I had dabbled back in the dating pool, but absolutely nothing was catching my eye and most of the men in the internet dating world for a very busy mom of two and full time employee and full time student were mostly men who were hoping to get hanky-panky in the front seat of your car. (To that…I say No thank you. And goodnight. And then never call again.) I was going to lay in bed and cry into a glass of Cabernet, a theme of sorts, and my best friend texted me to say that was not what I was going to do. “You’re coming over to our friend’s house, they live near you, and you’re coming.” So, essentially, they sublet me into this house party, which honestly turned out to be a LOT of fun. Met some great people… and met D. He also lived near me and he took a liking to me and asked me a lot about my life, he was hilarious, and handsome, and charming… but I was still not so sure that I was into him. It took a couple weeks but eventually I relented and we went on a date and I fell for him pretty hard. He took me to this fountain and asked for every penny I had in my wallet, I gave them all to him. He looked at me and laughed and then tossed them all in – “I can’t tell you, but I have a lot of wishes.” He dipped me back and kissed me and I fell head-first into a romanticism that I had not quite ever had in my life. We danced on the front porch to music, we sat around a fire and drank wine, and took a weekend getaway to my favorite winery up north. I ignored all of the signs that in just a handful of months, where I had ignored the red flags (refusal to meet my kids, gone for long periods of time with no explanation of his whereabouts, refusing to comment or be “In a Relationship” on Facebook or be tagged in any photos or locations with me, serious and extensive alcohol consumption that turned into some nights I would like to forget), he would then show up and say “You have two kids. I am not sure this is what I want. I am not interested in a relationship. I honestly didn’t think we would make it past a few dates, but now that it has been four months, I thought I should do something.” and sending me crashing downward back into the same spiral of not feeling worthy or good enough, especially to find out that he was “in a relationship” with someone else when he was with me, when he stated he “didn’t want to be in a relationship”. I was down… beaten down… and it kept coming back to, somehow, the 4th of July in some direct association.
However, this year. This year is different. I think this year will mark the beginning of no more deeply sad and painful heartbreaks — but instead, the birth of something new. Something more real. More mature. Drew and I are selling a house, buying a house together, we spend our weekends doing kid-friendly stuff as a family, and talking about the future – our future. This year, on the 4th we are attending parades, carnivals, and the long-standing tradition of open-door house parties in our neighborhood, also Drew’s hometown, and I’ll be meeting new friends in my locale. This year, will be spent with the person who gave me “when” instead of “if” and the person who tells me that even after the heartbreak of his first marriage, that he believes we are “meant to be” together and he trusts those words… and I could not agree more.
Yes, my friends, this year is different. And you should never stop believing that “this year will be different”.