What Am I Supposed To Think?

What Am I Supposed To Think?

December 8th: I’m startled when my phone announces her call. Just hearing her name produces such an adrenaline rush that my body immediately starts trembling. She tells me she doesn’t want to feel this way anymore. She wants to move forward with me and try to forget the ugliness of the past. I ask her to give me a moment to catch my breath. I am in such shock I can barely speak. When I do, I apologize for my hesitance. I’m frightened after so much hurt, and I’m honest about that.

We agree to proceed cautiously, but I secretly fear the elephant in the room will be too much of a burden for us. We chat for a few minutes about her life. She apologizes for the way she treated my husband years ago. I relay the message to him and then relay back to her that he has no hard feelings and that he is just pleased that we are moving forward together. This is unreal.

I cut the call short because I don’t want to overwhelm her and I need to cry. I’m still shaking from the shock and I desperately need to release some exhilarating tears. This is the moment I have literally waited years for. I ask her to send me some photos and sure enough, she sends them a short while later. Her email says “I want to take things very slowly. Like you mentioned feeling hesitant, I’m also very hesitant as well. So I think we can start by emailing sometimes. Are you ok with that?” I reply that I am very okay with the plan and that I love her.

December 22nd: I send her an email. It reads “Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year.

I’ll be spending Christmas at home after a hectic Thanksgiving in LA where I managed to pick up a mild case of pneumonia. I’m going to enjoy the downtime! Can you believe we are entering a new decade? I’m really excited for new beginnings in 2020.

Looking forward to talking with you again. I always welcome photos, not just of the girls, but of you and Jonathan. And I hope we can chat again soon. I’d love to learn about your experiences becoming a mom, about life with your girls and I want to hear all about your photography business.”

Christmas comes and goes.

December 30th: I send her an email wishing her a Happy New Year at 6:19 AM. I obsess all day, sensing something is wrong. Am I being ghosted? At 7:21 PM I email again, “Is everything ok? Am I doing something wrong?”

I’m gutted as I ring in the new year in a deep depression when there’s no reply.

January 15th: She sends an email saying “Hey Sorry, this ended up in my spam box. No, you’re not doing anything wrong, everything’s fine. Happy New Year!”

As it turns out, this is the same day that there’s a tragedy involving athletes from her school and that triggers a lot of old memories. I find myself wishing we could talk about it because knowing her, she must be as horrified and upset as I am. I immediately reply, saying, “Was thinking about you all day. The news out of Holy Cross must have hit you hard. I feel it too.”

January 20th: She responds “Yeah, very sad. Tragic situation.”

February passes as does my birthday. I am confused and admittedly hurt. My husband tells me to give her time, but my gut tells me to expect more rejection.

March 2nd: I email her saying “I think about you every day and I hope all is well with you. I just wanted to send a quick note to ask about your expectations when it comes to communicating with you.

Would you like me to send you a message once in a while? Or would you prefer that I sit tight and wait to hear from you? I’m hopeful that we can reconnect one step at a time. But I definitely want to do it on your terms since it was you who took the first difficult step when you reached out to me. I love you very much.”

March 3rd: She replies “If you would like to send me a message once in a while, that would be fine. Hope you are doing well. Happy belated birthday.”

Now I understand that there is no sincerity in her words, and I can’t help wondering if there ever was when she reached out to me in December. I feel like she must have contacted me simply to appease her guilt, but she really had no intention of re-establishing a relationship. She didn’t need me in her life anymore.

So I send an immediate response, challenging her to prove me wrong.

“Okay. Then here is my first official message 😉

I would love to hear about the girls, their personalities, what they like to do, play groups, etc. I would also love to learn more about your business. It seems to be going well and I’m really happy for you. And of course, Jonathan, how is he, his job, your new house?

No rush, no expectations. Just genuine interest in your life and your family. I promise I won’t email you constantly, maybe once a month?”

March 7th: She answers “Hey,

Once a month sounds good to me.

Bree is a really laid back kid. A bit stubborn at times but very easy going and silly for the most part. Abby is a bit more opinionated, serious and sensitive. They both like music and playing together. Bree will start preschool in the fall.

The business is good. Slow starting up but ok.

Hope you’re well.”

March 17th: The global pandemic is closing in on Seattle and I feel like the world is ending. I worry about my husband, my family, and myself. I start to think I might die without ever seeing her again or her children even once. So again, I send her an email.

It reads “I planned to check in with you sometime in April. But things are pretty scary here (and everywhere), so I just wanted to send you a quick note.

I want you to know that I love you just as much as I did the day I found out I was going to have you. Always have and always will. I miss our laughs. No one has ever made me laugh as hard as you did. I cherish my memories with you.

That’s all. Stay safe and healthy.”

SHE DOES NOT RESPOND.

April 1st: My husband tells me that he thinks our cover of “Wild Horses” was my best singing. It was the song we recorded for HER shortly after I moved across the country. I loved her no matter what had passed between us and the song spoke to me. It’s too painful for me to hear now, but the words will never change.

“I watched you suffer a dull aching pain
Now you’ve decided to show me the same
No sweeping exit or offstage lines
Could make me feel bitter or treat you unkind”

I’m terrified that I’ll die of COVID with this empty hole in my heart that she knows only she can fill. I feel desperate for her affection, so I manage the gusto to email her once again in an attempt to reach out to her. I tell her, “I just wanted to send you this song. It was recorded for you a few years ago and I wanted to make sure you had it. It’s a Rolling Stones song, but it made me think of us.”

April 2nd: I receive her reply “Thanks. Hope you’re doing well.”

April 7th: My best friend calls to tell me the news. There’s a new baby on the way, another girl. I can’t breathe. I am hurt but I am also numb.

I email her one last time with two words, “Best wishes.”

April 8th: She replies, “Thanks, I appreciate it.”

Why? What did I do? Was it intentional? Why is everyone so complicit and enabling? Why don’t I matter? Did someone put her up to this? Will anyone ever stand up for me? Will anyone ever give me the benefit of the doubt? How do I breathe?


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