Two years ago, HTB went out on our first date. We'd known each other for a while, and reconnected in a more romantic way. I often think how funny life is. I'd finally started recovering from a truly devastating series of events between losing my grandmother, almost losing my father, leaving a job that was thoroughly abusive, having a relationship end, and having to rebuild my life. I spent the first few months curled in a ball, only emerging to cut my hair (because, as a woman, we get back at our exes by cutting our hair), and then not cutting it again for almost two years. I couldn't believe this had happened to me. My life had seemed to be so set. We were discussing marriage. He'd bought the ring. I felt like all I had was him. How could he leave me when I NEEDED HIM.
Although I never really blogged much about it, I spent the early spring of 2007 fighting to regain my dignity, and failing miserably. I went on a trip to see Brea, who, if I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times, is a saint for tolerating my meltdowns, and we went to North Carolina to gem hunt. I had fun, but my heart was hurting. And it culminated in a meltdown in the airport in Nashville. I'm sure you've had those, they start out just being sad and a bit teary, and then you get mad because you're sad and teary and you don't want to be, and that just makes the tears worse, plus your face gets ugly, and before you know it, your best friend is looking at you like, "You are being so un-Southern. I don't know you." She was blunt with me. She was firm. He wasn't coming back, and all my hissyfits, and whys and what ifs weren't bringing him back. And I could spend the rest of my life asking why and wasting the precious time I'd been given, or I could start living my life. She was right. Besides, who the hell would want a girl with a broken spirit?
My grandmother gave me a similar speech when I was 22, and lying on the kitchen floor, crying over some man (I'm a tad melodramatic at times). She told me to get my (pardon my French) ass up off the floor and stop crying.
Brea is a lot like my grandmother. She's short, cute and incredibly wise.
So I picked my ass up off the airport floor, and started to live. I'd given so much time up to grieving that I just wanted to do EVERYTHING. I drove places by myself, I got myself the dog I always wanted, and went to Texas to get him. We went dancing at a singles club one night. None of the men there were men who I wanted to date, but it felt so good to just dance and feel pretty. I started to get my spark back.
I'd resigned myself to being single, and was starting to look for land to build a house for me. I already picked out its name--Peaceful Hill, with a pretty house on a wooded lot with a huge garden patch and place for my dogs to play. They'd have their own room, and we'd have gladiolas everywhere. I just needed to find the piece of land I saw in my head. But, late in the summer, I visited my gramma's grave. I've related that I still feel her and I know she watches over me. And so, after I sent my mother away, I sat by her headstone and I talked to her. "I am ready, and I want you to send someone to me," I asked her.
And she sent me HTB.
HTB had known her from a while ago. She liked him. He liked her. He tells me that he started feeling a push to reconnect with me from right about that point. It just took him a while to realize what was happening. To listen to Gramma, LOL.
We went to the movies and dinner on a Sunday night in November. I had no real hopes. I just wanted to see if this was for real or just another momentary diversion on my way to having my own home. When your heart is battered, you hold back. Even my trusting heart held back. He said he was surprised I agreed to the date. I'm surprised I agreed to the date.
I'm glad I agreed to the date. How different would my life be if I hadn't?
I'm not really sure why I posted this. I've told the story of my summer of me a couple times, to women who were in the place of darkness I spent so much time in. I would like to hope they got something out of it. Sometimes I start to forget that I existed before HTB came in the picture. Sometimes, when I'm exhausted, or depressed, and I think I don't have the strength to pull through one more day of BS, I remind myself, I did it before. It wasn't easy, and I cried plenty of days in my car, but I did it. With the help of a good strong friend, and a determination to not fail, I made it through. And I am better for the struggle.
And so, on my anniversary, I am celebrating. Tonight, I'll bring HTB a card that tells him that I love him. In someone else's prose, I'll let him know he makes my heart race, and my life happier, but, for a few minutes, I'll reflect on how far I've come. I'll have my Peaceful Hill someday, hopefully soon, and I'll sit in my vegetable garden, with my dogs, or my children, and enjoy the sweetness of it all.