Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Long Goodbye?

My husband and I are going to another session of marriage counseling tomorrow, and this time it is kind of the last ditch effort.  We've been together for almost 7 years now and are the proud parents of a beautiful 5 year-old boy, Cade.  We are both from families that never divorced, despite pretty crappy circumstances, and divorce seems like such a wild notion.  We've been struggling since the day we said our vows and so I have come to wonder, when is it okay to give up?  At what point is the disassembly of a family unit an okay trade for the hope of a happier existence?

To better understand us, let me tell you our story.

In February of 2002, I had a breakdown.  The love of my life had just broken up with me and I had suffered a lot during the September 11th attacks.  I had surrounded myself with good times and a carefree existence since being furloughed from the airlines shortly after September 11th, but I was called back to flying and lost him in a matter of days and my carefully crafted armor began to crumble, finally leaving me to face the aftermath and changes created that Tuesday in September 2001.  It wasn't pretty.  I was allowed to go on medical leave from Continental Airlines where I was working as an international flight attendant based out of Newark, New Jersey.  My parents had to sit watch by my bed because I was severely suicidal.  After breast augmentation surgery, colored contacts, and trying to change my entire persona, I was beginning to come out of the fog.  It was April and spring felt rejuvenating.  One day, as the medicine was beginning to work and I was able to venture into the sunlight, I was out around town driving and saw a sign at a local bar.  A guy I had known in high school was playing that weekend and I decided that it would be good for me to get out.  I talked to some friends and they agreed to go with me.  When I walked into the bar I had absolutely no intention of even looking twice at the males screwing up the atmosphere that night.  But there on stage, with a bass guitar in hand, was a guy.  And the guy had my exes' eyes.  They were dark, kind eyes and I was immediately drawn to him.  On breaks he would come and sit at the table next to us and eventually we spoke.  I gave him my phone number before leaving pretty early that night, and amazingly enough, he called me the next day.  He asked me to come back that night and so I did.  After the show we went to IHOP and then talked until 7am.  There was chemistry, or I was manic from the breakdown.  Either way, we ended up on the floor of his friend's apartment with my hand down his pants.  But I was back in West Texas, and his friend had a bible on the end table that was freaking me out, so I refrained from sleeping with him at that time.  

That day he left for a long road trip.  He called me when he got to Cheyenne and we stayed up until 6am just talking.  At the end of that conversation he asked me to fly up to Cheyenne.  I was nearing the end of my medical leave and would have to return to Jersey soon, but I decided that the best way to get over someone was to get under someone else, as they say.  So I jumped on a plane and headed north.  When I got off the plane, I was honestly worried that I wouldn't recognize him.  We had, after all, only spent a few hours together.  But there he was, sweet and nervous, and waiting for me.  We spent the next week together, getting to know each other, having a lot of sex.  I was always the dominant one.  I climbed on top and I took the lead, but he was a very willing participant.

After a week we left Cheyenne and headed to Denver and by that time it felt like we had known each other forever.  We just clicked.  It was comfortable.  And besides, I knew those eyes.  They were the same windows that I had looked into and lost myself in so many times over the last year.  The same eyes that I met in my dreams, the dreams that I woke from sobbing, with my heart tearing apart in my chest and my breath unable to catch.  But with Patrick, I could look in those eyes any time I wanted.  The pain would subside.  I felt safe with him and that was something I desperately needed.

The story is long and convoluted.  Perhaps telling it will remind me of why I am still here, still trying so hard to keep it together.  There's lots more to come...