The Grocery Store Can Be a Dangerous Place
I was doing well. I felt strong. Still sad, but I had plan. I was going to go to a friend’s birthday party and then cook and grade papers all night. I had been productive all morning. I hadn’t cried much. I was moving along.
As I was moving along to my car in the grocery store parking lot, I saw Rick’s mother. She’s a sweet woman who I have known for years and always loved. In fact, she set us up.
The last time I talked to Rick was Monday. At that point, he hadn’t told anyone that he had broken up with me — not his parents, not even his sponsor. And that’s a big deal because he’s in recovery. He’s been sober less than a year.
Which is one of the reasons I decided to stay here for the next year. He said, “You’re not supposed to make any major changes the first year that you’re sober.” So, great. You’re going to be here. We’re in love. We aren’t going to move. I’m not going to move.
Anyway, I was girding up my loins to talk to his mom — afraid that I may have to tell her that he broke up with me. She gave me a hug and said she was so sorry. She said she missed me. She said that he missed me. I don’t remember all the other details of the conversation…something that made me think that she thought I had broken up with him…something about how I was better off…and something about another girl.
Wait, what? I had specifically asked him if there was someone else. He said no.
She went on. She didn’t know much about it, except that they had met in treatment. That’s means they’ve known each other three weeks. That means she’s an addict too.
That means I’m crying in the parking lot.
…and then for a few hours at home, and then a little bit at the movies with a friend. And then again when I got home from the movies. It was a rough afternoon and night.
All of my old demons came back to try to possess me again. Gargoyles of ideas about how I’m not enough and I don’t deserve real love. A dragon of anger trying to roost in my heart to make me hate him. Harpies of loneliness and despair over the idea that there is no one out there for me. No one to match me. Some slithering thing telling me I’m one of the misfit toys.
I had dreams about it. I woke up and couldn’t fall back to sleep because my brain was full of questions.
I tried to re-direct it. I tried to give the monster something else to chew on. But it wanted me and it chewed me up good.
What do I need to do? What do I need to think? What do I need to believe in order to be able to move past all of this? He’s truly done with me. This isn’t something he will be changing his mind over. But I still want love. I still want to be in a deep, passionate, creative partnership. I want to live a big life. I want someone to be here for my important moments.
It’s not going to be him. Got it. Then who? And where is he? And how can I be ready for him to come as soon as possible? Especially when I have been dragon food so recently?
I spoke to him this morning. I asked him all of the questions that had haunted my brain all night. I feel better. I told him he’s making a mistake. She’s eventually going to want all of the things I wanted, and if he can’t give those things to another person he’s just going to break another heart.
He told me he loves me. He also told me that he kissed her last night.
Well I’m resolved to move on — dragon burns and all. I am the phoenix rising from these ashes. I’m giving myself a week to mourn this. Next Saturday night I am going to have a memorial service for the relationship. I might even invite him. No…I can’t see him. I still want him too much.
Maybe I’ll invite his mother.
I have also decided that I am going to be clean and happy and ready to fall in love again in three weeks. That’s right May 2. In fact, I even want to have a date by then. But most importantly, I don’t want to want Rick anymore. He has “Stephanie.” They can be sick together (although, I sincerely hope he is able to heal).
And hey, maybe I will leave this land of monsters in search of a prince who is willing to slay demons of his own. Hell, maybe he’ll even be willing to fight mine along with me.