He is happy now, this man I loved so wildly. With utter abandon. The person who made me giddy, if only for a very short time. He who inspired poetry and songs. Who made me smile and showed me that there was something beyond the darkness. The one I gave my whole heart to. This man who threw it back at me, unwanted. Who rejected me. Who looked at me with disdain. Who broke me. And discarded me as unworthy.
He has fallen in love with another, made a family, a new life. He smiles freely. Laughs spontaneously. He isn’t weighted down by a wounded partner; not any longer. He doesn’t have a living reminder that there is darkness in this world…darkness that scars when it touches, destroys when it strikes, forever changing its victim. He is living in the sunshine where there are only occasional gentle showers. No tornadoes. No angry, frightening storms. He moved away from me and my turmoil to a place where calm presides. No deep waters. No raging torrents. Gentle streams. Bubbling brooks. Flowers and bird songs. Life is better for him.
It is not better for me.
The truth is, I am not unhappy because he is happy. I am unhappy because I am still unhappy.
I believed that being faithful would result in the desired outcome. But faithfulness, loyalty, devotion, dedication…produced no reward.
He rejected me early on in our marriage. Before our first anniversary. My heart was so open, the knife of his rejection went deep. I was left reeling, hurting, confused. But I stayed because I believed. I believed, not so much in him, as in God. Believed that God would bring us to a point of goodness and joy if only I would persevere. I knew I was no treasure. I knew I wasn’t easy. But I believed God would heal me, heal our marriage, heal our relationship. I believed that the day would come when he would look at me and feel deep love. Be glad we were together. Realize I was a faithful partner. Want to be with me. Want me.
Instead, he smiles into the eyes of another. He holds another woman’s hand. He cares for her, tenderly. He leads her along the path of life and their path is gentle. No challenging ups and staggering drops or difficult lows. No roots to trip over or thorns to tear at soft skin. Moderate inclines. Easy walking. Beautiful views. What he has with her is everything I dreamed we would have together. Everything my heart desired.
I wanted to be the one who made him smile. Who brought light to his eyes.
Was I perfect in my faithfulness? No, I was not. I never connected with another. I never “cheated.” But I grew numb. I grew distant. I fought against it with all of my might, but I couldn’t stop the deadening. It was like a flesh eating disease in my deepest core. For years, I went through the motions, believing I could keep myself alive. But I failed. I became a zombie. Bad enough to live with a damaged person…one who struggled with inner demons, messy fragmentation and ugly destruction. He had my sympathy. I did the best I could. I tried so very hard. But I died inside and I couldn’t bring my heart back to life, no matter what I did or how hard I fought. The flesh eating disease destroyed what was left of my weary, damaged soul.
So he fell in love with someone else and left me. They drifted apart. But when he met his current mate, he found what he had been looking for. Easy. Happy. Untroubled. Sunshine and smiles. No major drama. No lingering trauma. No brokenness. Walks in the evening, shared cups of coffee in the morning, light conversation, plenty of money, a nice home, good jobs. Plenty. The darkness doesn’t touch them. It doesn’t hover in the corners of their world or overwhelm them without warning. He has what I so desperately wanted. And she has what I dreamed of. His love. His acceptance. His approval. His tender care.
I suppose I knew all along the thing that was wrong with him was me. It wasn’t that he couldn’t love. He just couldn’t love me.
I’m glad I remained faithful. But oh, how I wish, how deeply I yearn for a happy ending to my story.