A Story of Seasons

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
A story of a flame that cannot die...

Submitted: November 29, 2019

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Submitted: November 29, 2019

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Often in life, one can suddenly find that years have passed them by and yet they’re no longer sure they’ve even been living. In a society so focused on productivity, it is easy to fall into the pattern of routine and it all blends together. The way one measures time seems to be highly dependent on the phase of life. By school years, by holidays, by promotions, by children’s birthdays, by heartbreaks, or maybe just simply by seasons.

 

There once was a man who seemed to have fallen into that predetermined life path --- go to school and get good grades to get into a good college. Go to college, get good grades to get a good job. Get the good job, meet a good girl, get married, buy a house, get a dog, and then have kids. Yet whether he ever really stopped to truly evaluate if all these choices were taking him down the path he truly wanted to be on, was the question starting to surface in his overactive mind. He struggled to find his place in this new phase of life with a wife that didn’t know how to help him, and instead did all of it on her own, causing him to feel less than needed. Little by little he convinced himself that it was impossible to be truly happy while married with children, that this phase of life is hard, and you must find the happy moments when you can.

 

There once was a girl who seemed to have fallen into that predetermined life path --- go to school and get good grades to get into a good college. Go to college, get good grades to get a good job. Get the good job, meet a good man, get married, buy a house, get a dog, and then have kids. However, the good man she married, turned out not to be a good man, but a boy who was never a partner.  Little by little, she finally convinced herself there was more, that this was not what love was supposed to be. That this was not what this phase of her life should be.  That any relationship that turned her into a person that was mean, bitter, and quick to anger was not a healthy one to be in. It took every ounce of self-worth to break free from the cage of a life she had chosen, and all that momentum sent her crashing right into the man who had given up on his own.

 

Never before had she understood what it meant for a person to feel like home. Never before had he understood what it felt to have someone look at him the way that she did. Perhaps neither of them truly knew the duality of life prior---how falling in love could be the worst and best thing all at once. There's something about bonding through shared experiences --- to feel understood is to not feel so alone. In six weeks, coworkers that had been friends turned into lovers. She fell the hardest she ever had and yet felt woefully unprepared to embark on something of that magnitude. He told her he thought she was what he should have been looking for, all along. In their bubble of happiness amidst the chaos of her imploding life, everything felt intoxicatingly effortless. But bubbles always pop, and reality came crashing down. The man told his wife he was done and wanted to be with the girl, but she told him if the wife wanted to try to rebuild their life, he owed her and their daughters that.

 

As the seasons changed, lovers became strangers, and the man did everything he could to right his wrongs. To be the husband his wife had always wanted, to be the father his daughters deserved. The girl did what she could to ignore the hole in her heart and try to understand how she allowed herself to be a part of something that created the same kind of hurt she witnessed her mother endure. Most days, the deep feeling of despair that would make her limbs feel too heavy to move any time she saw his handsome face down the hall, or in the break room felt like the punishment she deserved. Little by little she did what she could to minimize the interaction and made herself a plan to rebuild her life and move forward. She went back to school and immersed herself in a new community and found resources to help her process all of the hurt.

 

The seasons continued to pass, and even though the man tried his hardest, and even though he thought he and his wife had managed to repair their foundation, perhaps even with improvements, it turned out it wasn’t enough. Even though he had thought things had never been better, his wife had found love in the form of another. But not merely another, it was a woman whom she was sharing her bed. He had thought they'd gotten back to happy only to learn the stable ground upon which he stood was in fact quicksand. In his time of desperation and self-doubt, after months of no contact he reached out to the girl. She had spent the seasons apart giving practically anyone a chance to fill the void in her heart, but it all amounted to wasted time and growing disappointment. Little did he know the week before she had pleaded with the universe to send her a man, that she was tired of all these boys who didn't know what they wanted.

 

Perhaps the man’s initial intentions were innocent enough, but maybe he also wished to hurt his wife... because even though infidelity with a woman shouldn't hurt as much, it still fucking did. Even though he'd once been the perpetrator and perhaps had no right to be hurt, it still fucking did. It still fucking hurt to find out that all that effort, all that time, all that sacrifice, was not enough. He still wanted all that time to mean something. He still wanted to try and give his daughters a whole family, not a broken one. Not one that was anything close to the one he grew up with. Not the kind of one that he was so ashamed of he hid it from his friends for as long as he could. If his wife forgave him for what he had done, then he could forgive her too. Maybe they could have a new kind of marriage.

 

Naively, the man tried to have his cake and eat it too, and the girl still felt lucky to even be getting more time, so she tried to play along.  But her heart knew she wanted more---she wanted all of him but wasn't ready for none of him. But he couldn't figure out how to move forward with the girl in the picture, it didn't feel right.  It felt important to know if he decided to end his marriage, it was because it was a relationship that could not be saved, and not just to be with the girl. Once again lovers became strangers, but this time, only for a season instead of eleven like the time before.

 

That summer the man gave himself the space to look at his life from the outside and truly see it. He gave himself the chance to see how very capable he was of taking care of his daughters, but he also saw just how hard it would be. He wished for life to be different, to be easier, to go back to what it was.  He remembered the days of feeling like his life was on track. That he was accomplishing all that he should, with the job, and the wife, and the house, and the dog, and the kids, while his friends seemed to be struggling to find their way. But as he sat alone in his house, with the dog by his feet, and the kids were asleep, and the wife was out and about with a girl from the hood, he wondered how was he to know that he could be so wrong? Now his friends live far away while pursuing dreams and beholden to themselves and themselves alone and all of a sudden it felt like he had been left behind. He reflected on the last few months realizing how dear the girl is to him and started to feel like they were inevitable.

 

The girl had been trying to move on, trying to pretend the brief reunion had never happened, trying to allow herself to be open to love, but instead she broke another’s heart when she finally accepted hers hadn’t let go of the man. Later that day the man reached out, this time with proclamations of love and talks of the future with her and only her. She tried to say no, she tried to ask him to leave her alone until he figured his life out, but she'd been so eager to love and to be loved she ignored all those red flags that tend to blend in while sporting rose colored glasses. Life had been busy and full since the bubble had popped all those years ago, but her heart had stayed his and thusly felt empty. So even though she knew he wasn't ready, she was too hungry to feel, too impatient to be cautious.

 

So the girl and the man foolishly tried to start something real when the man still hadn’t freed himself from the cage of his choices. He hadn’t made room for the girl to actually love him, it didn’t matter how much he loved her. The space he had made in the summer was quickly swallowed by the wife and the winter and the reality of the situation. The girl tried harder, and the man pulled further away. He convinced himself that she deserved better and so he began to focus on all the why nots. He knew the girl wanted to be a mother, even if she felt uncertain, and he knew he was nearly sure he didn’t want to father any more children. Why go through that all again, a process that now felt like the beginning of the end. Why would the next time be any different? Why start the clock over on the hardest job he's ever had? Why be permanently tied to another person when life is already too complicated? Why do any of it when he was starting to believe marriage only makes it harder when it's over. Why add one more person to the mix when it's already too much juggling work, and the kids, and the dog, and the wife in the house that may no longer be a home.

 

The girl felt him pushing her away, she knew from her own journey, he hadn’t even started all the hard that was to come. All she wanted was for him to know that he was loved, and appreciated, and wanted. She had no idea how far he had pulled away, nor how hard she would cling for him to stay. At first, she thought she could be his friend, to help him through the hardest thing she'd ever been through. But he was cold and distant, and it hurt her soul and so she did her best to shore up the hole in her heart he had created before that was somehow even larger. All the while she was losing her mind because she had been so certain this man who tried so hard to make it right for his wife, to make it good for his daughters, to become a better man for himself, would not have given up on her and their someday he so freely talked about. She was so sure he was not just another boy who didn’t know what they wanted.

 

Going into that building every day got harder and harder. Most days when she returned home, she went right to her room without any dinner desperate for the reprieve from the pain that only sleep could offer. In her hurt she found herself reaching out to the man’s best friend, only to form a genuine, yet confusing friendship. One that helped her to believe there would be an after, yet it kept her tied to something that was turning out to be more damaging than her marriage had ever been. Divine timing presented her with a new career, and she jumped at it. Even though she now knew she was making moves forward, the pain of it all was too much to keep inside, and so the girl started to write all the thoughts she wished she could share with the man.  She let them spill out, oftentimes tears streaming down her face as she typed away. When her last week arrived a part of her feared it also meant a final goodbye, and in an act of desperation, she shared with the man the place of all her thoughts to him. He read them, but still refused to say goodbye and all of a sudden, she wondered what she had ever meant to him.

 

Another season began and passed, yet the man continued to read her thoughts, but never reaching out. Then one day she was honest about how the two people that knew them both and their history truly felt about how he had mistreated her. The very next morning she woke up to a message from the man telling her how sorry he was, how he thought about her every day, how he cared, that he was thankful for knowing her, that he hoped she was well, that he never meant to cause the hurt that he had, but that he wasn’t asking to be in her life again.  They talked about meeting up, but she knew it wouldn’t be for what she ultimately wanted, and so she would cancel on him twice over the next two months.

 

However, she kept writing, and he kept reading, only to find out that the best friend who had made it seem he was no longer talking to her, was still reaching out. Again, the man sent her a message, but out of insecurity and hurt, trying to understand the level of betrayal he felt. In trying to soothe the man, the girl lost her resolve to maintain the boundary she desperately needed. The pull of him was too strong, it didn’t matter that she knew it didn’t mean anything, it didn’t matter that she knew she was setting herself up for more hurt. She wanted him. She needed him. Like the broken record they were, another round began and they finally met up and their bodies quickly collided into the passion neither could seem to recreate with another.

 

Throughout the winter they began to talk every day. Eventually seeing each other at least once a week. They began to talk about exploring different sides of the sexual world after the girl went on a date with a woman, because at nearly thirty she had never kissed another girl and just wanted to know. They started to delve into the world of swingers and group play and sex clubs. On his birthday they would film themselves together and the girl would feel more alive than she ever had.  All the while the girl continued to date others and never telling anyone in her life that she was interacting with the man at all. She was trying hard to listen to what he said about not wanting a relationship, yet not knowing how to handle the fact that on Valentine’s Day, he told her he loved her too. A week later she would finally take him to the local sex club and the night would forever feel like a dream. A week after that the boy she had started to date, who knew about the man, made it clear he wanted something real with her. She was starting to realize that the most important relationship of her life had never been much of a relationship at all. Never nothing, but never something, just always an almost that never got off the ground, the man never gave them that chance. Even though she knew not being with the man would never be what she wanted, she knew she wanted more. She knew she wanted someone to share her life with in full, she wanted someone to plan a future with. So, for the first time in their torrid history, she stepped away, to try to give herself a chance at having all the things she wanted and knew she deserved.

 

In the end, it didn’t matter that it had been her choice, it still felt like she had lost the man all over again. She tried to be open, she tried to let the boy love her and to love him, but she felt nothing at all. She started to write again, she reached out to the man saying she knew it would take time to be friends, but that maybe this could be a start, to still share her thoughts. She continued to write, but the man never read them. She even wrote an apology to the wife, mostly because she felt she deserved it, but also perhaps to help her forgive herself for the wrongs she created. Every month that passed without any proof the man cared, she let it break her heart just a little bit more.  Eventually as the summer started and she prepared to take a trip of a lifetime, she wanted an ending and she reached out directly to say all that she needed to hopefully let go and asked for a goodbye. Yet again, her heart felt sincerity was met with silence and so she tried to accept that it was truly over.

 

Off she went, all on her own across the Atlantic for the first time to explore a part of the world with much more history than where she grew up --- she was enthralled with these places designed for people, instead of the cars that they drove. She fell in love with herself, and her life and all the things she had done after breaking free from her cage. She came back feeling strongly that things would circle back around once more with the man, but not for a long time, not until they were truly ready for what they could be. Even though this was true, the week she came back she found out he was trying again with his wife and it felt like one more round of rejection. It made it so hard to hold on to the peace she had found alone with herself and she desperately wanted it back. For perhaps the first time she truly was angry with the man and wanted to hurt him back. She knew there was no way the wife knew they had spent all that time together in the winter, and for the first time she wondered if the man was the good man she’d always believed him to be. In her hurt and loss of respect, she made the mistake of betraying his trust and telling their story to someone he still worked with. When she divulged her transgression, she knew she deserved his harsh words and anger, but parts of her couldn’t help but wonder if some of his anger was meant for himself. If part of him knew that while he always tried to do right by those he loved, he had never really done right by her.

 

Now, the seasons continue to pass, and the girl still finds herself wanting to share memories of him in random conversation but always catching herself, knowing that she can’t. Knowing that she shouldn’t have any of these memories at all. When she gets so sick of herself still longing for someone who is never coming back for her, she starts to wish she could take it all back. She starts to wish, she could undo all of the love. But as quickly as that thought arises, the next one says, but then would she have ever learned what love could be? And how could she regret any of that? While the first encounter caused so much pain to herself and others, it showed her how right she was to leave her own marriage. Even though it hurt when it felt like she was being used, when he finally unlocked the door to her years later, it felt like a debt had been paid to be able to be there for him during such a difficult situation the way he had been there for her all those years ago.  Then he managed to actually open the door, and started to let her back in.  While it shattered her more than anything ever had when he suddenly chose to run away, not an ounce of her regretted going all in on what she had been hoping to happen for over countless rounds of the seasons. Yet the most recent time, the one she could never be truthful about, because she knew from the very beginning it would never turn into what she wanted, yet she did it anyway--- Surely that should be something to regret. But she couldn’t, because it allowed her yet again to be herself in a way, she hadn’t experienced prior.

 

Once the wave of hurt passes, she does her best to send him light and love whenever he crosses her mind but still fears she’s forever doomed to force her heart to accept that their story will not end the way she had so whole heartedly desired. She had learned in her marriage that sometimes you can love someone for how much they love you, but not actually love them for who they are. Perhaps the man had only loved the way she made him feel about himself and had never loved her at all. She used to hope for their someday, but now she hopes for the someday where there will be someone worth choosing who will choose her too. So in the end lovers became strangers for however many seasons more.


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