Have you ever had one of those nightmares where the person you love no longer loves you? And when you try and talk to them about it your words fall on deaf ears. There’s no rational (or irrational) way you can make them change their mind, no protest large enough, no sentence true enough. Yet you continue to explain, letting them know that they must be mistaken, they simply must still love you. But the eyes that were once welcoming and understanding sit empty across from you. The change seems so sudden, it’s as if all along you had been a virus for which they suddenly found a vaccination.
There aren’t many feelings more horrible and distressing than the one I described above, at least for me.
And I know this feeling well. I’ve experienced it a couple of times over the course of my life. I remember asking a man, on what would become the last day of our relationship, “What can I do to make things different? Do you just need time? You’ll be back, right?” We met somewhere neutral and ate sandwiches. He looked everywhere but at me. I looked nowhere but at him as he looked everywhere else. And after a meager explanation – one stuffed with quests unfulfilled – I realized he was already gone.
And on the day that Tobyjoe said, “I do.” I let out an ocean-sized sigh of relief realizing that I would probably never have to go through that again. He wanted to spend the rest of his life with me, which meant that no matter how stagnant things might become during our time together, he’d wait it out with the knowledge that love would soon return.
Last night I had a dream that Tobyjoe stopped loving me. We were in the middle of a tree-lined street when I recognized it. We had been out walking. I asked him to tell me. He did. I begged. He walked ahead of me. I heard only the sound of wind blowing through plush, spring leaves. Other than that it was silent – life was.
I’ve had nightmares like this before and I always wake up relieved. “He’s still here! He’s right here. It was just a horrible dream.” And I’ll grab a hold of him and hug him tightly, waking him up in the process. And today I woke up feeling very much the same relief. But today it only lasted for a few seconds.
When I was going through a breakup – devastated, missing school, not eating – my mother would come into my room or call me on the phone and she’d say, “I know that it doesn’t seem this way now, but you WILL get over this. You will not feel sad forever. You will not miss him forever. I know you don’t believe me now, but someday this won’t hurt at all.”
Later, after time had proven that she was once again correct, she said, “I know how you felt. I went through it as well. But nothing hurts more than watching your child suffer through it.”
When I exhaled on the day that Tobyjoe said, “I do.” I hadn’t thought about a son.