The fortune teller told me to wait nine months before thinking about another relationship. I did. In fact, I waited ten months. In truth, I waited five years. What she could not see in the cards - or maybe she could - was the years of trying. Hoping. And mostly, living for my kids.
Things, a gentle way to say the divorce, are moving along. It took a few months of tears shed lying in a fetal ball, to be certain. Certainty created enough energy to file papers, begin the process of tearing apart a life built over twenty years. I knew five years ago our lives had become too far apart. Ships passing in the night is an expression when held on a real deck of a real boat, you truly understand the depth of the distance.
I was tired of being alone. Lonely with someone arms length away, yet acres of ocean between us. If I was going to be alone, let me be alone.
Easy words to say for a woman who had spent 16 years completely enveloped by three kids. To this day, the silence in the house, when they are not with me, is the loudest testament to the change in my life.
That and having food in the refrigerator for more than 12 hours. Or two hours.
For many months, I simply accepted that I would be alone, maybe for a long time, maybe forever. I would always have my friends, my kids, and that was enough. Two spoonfuls of flan instead of the whole thing, it was like accepting a forced diet. The diet I'd been on a long time.
I grieved my sister, over and over. I grieved the loss of dreams, of future images. I didn't try to fix anything anymore. I no longer looked outside for reassurance. I stopped moving to keep from feeling.
I listened to the silence. I no longer hear what's missing. I hear what's there.
In time, as if the fortune teller's card with gold coins and sunshine was turned over, someone came along. Someone I've known for years, now in a new way. We laughed, flirted at times - nothing more, nothing less. I was able to stand toe to toe with her - not as an adversary but as an equal. I did something completely insane, according to some, and got on a plane to go see her.
It would be trite to say it was a leap of faith. It wasn't. I accepted that it could end up horribly wrong. A friend said to me, You are almost fifty. Single. You don't have the boys for the weekend. Why not? Besides, you can always leave.
Faith not required, just a credit card. I went.
I found a woman who is an equal. Someone who wears the world in similar fashion, who holds a code of justice and honor deep. And god forbid, she cooked for me. Yes, I am that easy. I've cooked for years and years, and what might seem like a simple act is full of care taking and kindness to me.
Not to mention it was delicious.
For the first time, I felt like I didn't need to carry all the weight on my shoulders. I had someone to share it with, who wasn't afraid of leading or following. Someone who wanted to do both. For the first time in years, nothing felt like a chore. I was held, she was held, it wasn't all or nothing. I felt safe and at ease. I didn't have to prove that I was good enough. I didn't have to chase. I simply needed to give back what was being given to me.
Perhaps the fortune teller was right, it took time for me to become whole again, to be able to give back without fear. Maybe it is simply about the right place and the right time. We have an amusing history of almost being in the same place at different times in our lives, not just once, but multiple times over many years.
I don't know what will happen. I know there are very real issues - like living in two far apart cities - but I also know I've been blessed with the love of a woman who can give back as much as she takes. I hope she feels that, too. I hope she feels my gratitude, my awe, and mostly, my love.