Saturday, January 15, 2011
My Funny Valentine
The road to love is never smooth. Witness the visitor that just arrived in Centralia. All lovers due well to remember: A once broken heart is stirred anew when whispers of a new love spark flames afar.
Snow covered most of the town. The beautiful woman stepped out of her rental preferring walking to reacquaint herself with the town she spent much of life in. Looking around not much had changed since she left town years ago. That’s what she liked about Centralia it rejected change.
People came and went most didn’t die but they did leave for centuries or generations only to come back to the place they called home. Centralia was built in the heart of the Republic of Vermont. It was a small town that everyone who ever stepped foot in it never wanted to leave.
She remembered the day she left. It was the hardest thing she ever did. Her marriage was over. The love of her life was distant, unapproachable. She needed more than he was ever going to give her. He did not love her anymore and she refused to continue to try to make the failed relationship work.
The week before she left for good she packed her bags leaving the closet bare of anything that belonged to her. Silently she hoped he would notice the empty closet. Everything she owned was removed from the house. She was not disappointed when he didn’t.
He stopped noticing her 3 years ago. She could almost touch the hour, the minute, the second that his heart untwined from hers. It was Valentine’s Day the same day they meet and the same day they married year later. They sat at dinner never speaking, never touching, and never speaking.
She left a year later on Valentines morning. She kissed him good bye as tears fell from her eyes. He never seemed to notice. He walked out the door never looking back never speaking. They always had plans on Valentines’. This time he never even mentioned it.
Pulling her coat closer she crossed the street. It was time to confront the pass and meet the woman who thawed the ice around Zach’s heart.
The local paper she still subscribed to mentioned he’d become engaged on Christmas. Reading the words hurt but the picture of the happy couple hurt even more. It’d been 15 years since she last saw him. He never bothered to show up for the divorce proceeding. Jay the local divorce attorney showed up with a generous settlement, a plan ticket to Paris, and the keys and the deed to a villa.
She’d spent the night before the divorce proceeding hoping; praying he would show up and proclaim his love for her or at least want to see her one last time. He did neither. She walked out the courthouse that day bitter, angry and not ready to let go of her past.
About 6 months later the first letter came. It was an apology. He’d known things were not good but he never had the courage to leave. Marriage was forever in his book. He stilled loved her but not the way a husband loves a wife or should love a wife. He gave her the option to leave him to find the love she deserved.
A month later another letter came and another month after month he wrote her. It took her some time but after two years she began to write back. Then every year like clockwork he sent her a 3 gifts one for her birthday, one for Christmas and on Valentine’s Day.
The Valentine’s gifts were the first to stop five years ago. That was the day she realized he stopped loving her. She spent Valentine’s Day crying. Her heart was broken in a million pieces. Destroyed by the knowledge that he could love again and she would never get him back.
She’d moved on that April meeting her current husband in a whirl wind affair. She was now married and the mother of two wonderful children but she’d never forget the man who she still loved. She loved her husband but a small part of her needed to know that Zach was happy and love for him had come full circle.
Stopping in front of the courthouse she pulled her hat down lower on her ears. This trip was for her soul. Her soul was the soul of woman that had loved and lost and then recovered in the arms of another man. She needed to see for herself that Zach was happy and whole.
Matthew, her husband of 4 years understood that she needed to come back home to see for herself that he was truly happy.
She remembered the day she received the first letter that mentioned his new fiancée. Are as he called her when they first met “a small irritating fairy in human form”. It was something he’d never done before, mentioned a woman in their correspondence. The letters were about his hopes and dreams and towns people. She knew there had been many women since she left but none that he wrote about. This woman was special.
Through his letters she watched as he fell in love and she suffered another broken heart. The first phone call she received from him in 10 years was about her. He wanted to know if he should be alarmed that she moved her clothes from his closet to the one in the guest bedroom.
He cared. That night she cried. Her sorrow so deep she checked herself into a spa and spent the week drunk and hurt. This woman did what she never could she made him care enough to seek out answers.
Pulling her hand out her pocket she looked at the smiling couple.
Posted by Abigail-Madison Chase at 7:56 PM