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Rated: ASR · Book · Romance/Love · #2191207
Memories of a lost love
I have never found out what my great sin was. But my penance has been all the years without him, all the decades loving him still, but knowing nothing of him or his life. I paid by never seeing him or hearing from him again, because I truly believed one day we would reunite. I would have relished just a drink and a chat. The load could have been lightened with a kiss on the cheek and a smile. That impish smile that lit up the whole world or at least the world in which I lived. I was sentenced to slave over a small grouping of words, hoping to find something new or different, an explanation, some sort of understanding. Living and never knowing how it came to be was a constant question in my brain. And one of the biggest forfeitures was knowing that he thought of me too, and the thought that it might be with bitterness. Maybe it would be even worse had he thought of me with fondness but would not set aside foolish pride to contact me. Undoubtedly, there would be some regrets, some lingering sense of guilt. He could not have loved me as completely as I know he did, and not ever remember. He was human, and he was romantic. And he was love. The greatest of punishments was never getting to say goodbye then or when it would have been the final time. The thought of never dancing with him again was torturous. Living without Harry and his love all these years, and not understanding the how’s and the why’s of our ending has been purgatory for me and my soul. The last chapters of our beautifully bound love story had been ripped out. There was no finale, no closure.
How could I have been so stupid? So weak? I had walked right into the trap. I was left standing alone, egg on my face, heart in my hand. Hope and belief had gotten me to that place. It never failed. Why, oh why had I given him the opportunity to do that to me? True, I had no way of knowing; there were no warning signs. And, if Harry could not be trusted, who then, could be? That was the crux of the matter. I’d gotten involved with a man who’d seemed honest and above reproach. I’d thrown caution to the wind, because there was no evidence that I should not. I’d allowed myself to hope and to believe in a happy ending because there was no reason not to. Look what happened anyway. Hopelessness is torture.
The only conclusion I could draw was that if I chose to let someone in to my heart, I must expect to be hurt. There was no rationale to it. Good guy, bad guy, it made no difference. Nor did the substance and the glue that seemed to be part of the relationship. It all turned out the same, with no warning and no mercy. The sheer brutality is still shocking..
I supposed then that I would never find another Harry, never another mystical, magical love like that. I didn’t bother to look. Why would I even want to expose myself or my daughter to that again? If Harry did not stick to his word, who would? If he had been a total jerk, from the beginning, it would have been easier. I was familiar in dealing with that. I would not have believed and trusted in his word, his promises. I would not have expected the goodness that I saw when I looked at him. There was never another Harry before or since. There was only the one that walked this earth, and soared through the sky with me. There were times I came close. But Close only counts in horseshoes (and hand grenades). It could never be as sweet or as grand, the texture was never just so, as it had been, the layers and the levels were built differently. Nobody else has ever made me their princess. I missed that and in some ways still do. However, I am aware that the title belonged in that time and place. It belonged to Harry. It’s nice to recall him saying and meaning it. It’s also nice to know that it meant something special to him, as it did to me.
During the telling of this tale, a thought has just come to me. Because Teresa had insisted that the answer to my question laid in the description of what had transpired that night with Harry and his friends. Was it all because I had gotten wasted? Really, could it be that simple? That is the only thing that could be, if Teresa was truthful and correct. Yet, how could it be? If it was that, why couldn’t he or she just tell me? Harry had been the one to encourage my drinking, but he knew I could not tolerate more than a bit of alcohol (especially not mixed). Why would he have allowed that game and why would he have not halted the game when he realized that I had had too much? How could he go for a trip to the swimming pool? As I recall, he did not seem upset until after that. And then there was that literary inference. The reference to Hester Prinn would seem likely to relate to infidelity, it could not be adultery as we were unmarried nor engaged at the time. And, regardless, I never cheated on him. I can’t even imagine that he cheated either. Surely he would not have literally destroyed me for having too much to drink. Would he condemn me to hell for that? Could he have thrown us and all that we were in the rubbish for just that? He would have had to have torn out his own heart as well as mine, over me getting drunk---with their help, and encouragement. I am not proud of that, but how could he not forgive me for something so simplistic? He was a frat boy and he had seen it hundreds of times, to be sure. To imagine that one night outweighed all the other days and nights we had shared together seems a bit overboard. Harry liked his drink, and I would never have thought of banishing him for drinking or getting loaded. I might not have liked it, but I would have gotten over it quickly. It was one time, one night. If this was truly it, his response was unreasonable, and irresponsible. Under the circumstances, I can’t imagine Harry being so unforgiving. If I was Hester, then he played the part of the preacher brilliantly.
Based on not having any information on what, if anything, had gone so terribly wrong, it was not I who had tossed us out like yesterday’s rubbish. I had not been malicious or mean. I had not involved others, including mutual friends. Those sins that belonged to Harry held no consequence for him. He floated out on the same breeze that brought him to me. Whatever I had done, I had not run out on him. I had not left him without as much as a goodbye. Without a word. Knowing how we both felt about that, knowing why I felt that way, I could never have done that to him. I had not and would not purposely hurt him, and I had not been viciously mean to him. There was no belittling behind his back, or cruel gossip. I did not slander him. He simply dismissed me, not the other way around. And I had not committed the great sin of not loving him anymore. If I had embarrassed myself, he paid me back with total humiliation. He did not have to face the judgement, the blame or the pity from family and friends. He did not have to hear Jack tell me, I tried to warn you. There came a time when I believed it was Harry who needed to apologize. He is who needed to ask forgiveness.
I had moved out of my comfort zone with Harry. I had learned a new way to love and a new way to live, and now I would have to unlearn them. And then what? Go back to what came before? I had distanced myself from that life and those people. I no longer fit in there either. He had taken me away from there and from them. There was nowhere to turn and nobody to turn to. Harry did have somewhere and somebody to turn to, to take his side. That was so unfair. I had been willing to give up all I held dear and go to any lengths to be with him. He knew that full well. He still had family and friends including mine) that he could talk to who still believed in him. The world I had become used to and loved, had come to an end with little fanfare. Not even a big bang. There should have been something, some sort of signal to let it be known. No lowering of the flag, no bugle playing Taps. Nothing except a void that had swallowed up all the rest. The insulation from pain and the shield of safety were gone. Maybe the Harry I thought I knew was not real. But nothing has ever felt so real to me before or since. The love that he had given me made me unique and set apart. I was the Velveteen Rabbit. His love had made me real.
To this day, I have never figured out how to live without Harry in my life; in this world. The taste of him is still in my mouth, the touch of him still warm and comforting, and the smell of him lingering so sweetly. I still see his hand held out to me for a dance and taste a sweet, sweet kiss. We hadn’t seen or heard from each other in years, yet there was comfort knowing Harry was in the world that needed his brightness to light the way. I saw him in the stars and felt his warmth in the rising sun. There was hope in and for this world as long as he was in it.
I thought about the home of which we had spoken in quiet tones sometimes, in happy excited tones in other times. Our home would have been neither too small nor overly large. It would be more than modest, less than fancy. Choosing a home and property and the furnishings, I suspect would have been a chore. Our tastes differed. He liked new, modern, and angular. I preferred old, warm, cozy. In the end had we not reached a compromise, we would have gone with his choices. I would have ceded based on his money providing it all and because I did not want a fight with him. Besides, I would have wanted him to look forward to coming home. It should be a place that begged his return. He should have a place that he considered his refuge. And I wanted his comfort to take first place. I wanted him to be happy. After all, Harry’s happiness was my own. The house, the home and family, and the love would be perfect for who we were. All of it just ceased to exist in the blink of an eye.
Harry had been my home, mine and Cori’s. We were evicted without due process. Watching helplessly and hopelessly, I watched as a phantom hurricane ripped away the picket fence, the garden and the roses. Everything dear was thrown about, tossed around like so much debris. The insulation that we’d had; had given each other, flew off into the wicked wind, in long, pink strips. I stood in the shambles, disbelieving that so much could be lost in an instant. So much damage and devastation physically and emotionally. The wreckage left behind by that Hurricane named Harry was unimaginable. Our laundry, clean and dirty whipped about in the wind. I felt our unborn children, fair-skinned with Harry’s mesmerizing eyes and my smile torn from me and sucked up into the eye, looking back to earth and to me. Frantically they reached out to me, struggling to return home. . My arms stretched upwards, but they were too far away. They were unreachable. I could not save them. I couldn’t even save myself. It was almost as if that life had never really been. Had it been a figment of my imagination? No, it could not have been. But it was surreal. Like a movie, I watched the story rewind; every word, every dance, every move, frame by frame. The story that led to our heart wrenching demise. Each of the details cut deeply into my heart, and the scars remain. Remembering that night we first made love, the words and the tenderness we shared made it impossible to understand that ending to our story. In the back of my mind, I thought maybe it was just an intermission and that the story would continue on.
When Teresa told me Harry had been transferred, it was after the fact. She had intentionally not told me because that was how he wanted it. He didn’t want me to know and he did not want me to have an excuse to contact him. It was premeditated persecution. I felt like he was ripped from my life once more. My pride and my heart were broken again. I was humiliated and all of that, I regret, caused me to let my guard down long enough to ask in a faltering voice, where? She would not tell me, would not even hint. “He knew you’d ask and told me not to tell you.” Were there no boundaries to their cruelty? I never imagined he would leave without a goodbye. It was impossible to think that Harry, my Harry would intentionally hurt me yet again. But he did, and I can’t tell you why I was surprised. I was back to the beginning of the heart break, starting the grieving process anew. Hope of reconciliation had been transferred with Harry, wherever that might be. Hope of us seeing each other or speaking faded but it would not die.
We did not have access to computers as we do now. There was no searching the Internet. Through the years, I looked for him. But it was anybody’s guess where I should look. So I even swallowed my pride and called his job. They would not tell me, of course. Teresa no longer worked there. I knew I was making a fool of myself, but didn’t care. Searches at the library for Marriott locations and phone listings in those towns proved futile for me. Still, I could not give up hope.
There came a time when I worked up enough courage to call the Dallas office. Each person with whom I spoke informed me that they could not give out that information. I was persistent. To my surprise, nobody hung up on me. Instead, I kept getting transferred, and was somehow moving up the chain of command. Finally, I was speaking to a senior executive in HR. “I am looking for someone and I think you can help me.” ‘What makes you believe I can be of help to you?’ “Because he works for your company and so does his father.” “I am sorry, Miss but I cannot give you that kind of information.” ‘Please, please help me. I have been searching for so very long. I don’t know where else to turn.’ “This sounds really important to you. Why are you so anxious to find this person?” ‘Because I love him. We were a couple and I did something-although I don’t know what, to make him turn away from me. It is eating me alive.’ The tears turned to sobs. “Yes, I can tell. So what would you do if you knew where he is, if he still works for us?” ‘I just want to write him a letter. I need to tell him that I still love and miss him and that I am sorry for whatever I did. That is all. I promise.’ “Do you think it will make a difference?” ‘I don’t know but I have to try.’ He sighed heavily and then was silent for a moment. “So, who is this fella you’re in love with?” ‘Winston Harold Alexander’ “Harry? I know Harry.” ‘You do?’ “Yes and his family. Wonderful people.” ‘I know.’ “I can’t give you any personal information.” ‘I know. I am not asking for that. And I know I have put you in a horrible spot.’ There was another silence. “He’s here. In Dallas.” ‘He is? I’m glad he’s back home.’ “Do you have a pen and paper? I’ll give you our main address here.” I thanked him profusely and he wished me good luck. He was sincere, a kind, compassionate gentleman. I wish I remembered his name. God had stepped in and led me to that angel in HR.
It took two or three days and a lot of crumpled paper to complete the letter. I wanted it to be perfect, to communicate my feelings and somehow touch him. If I was able to say just the right words, maybe he would be moved to contact me. There just came a time when I had to be satisfied with the contents. It was completed, including my address and telephone number. I waited on pins and needles barely able to breathe for a long, long time. If he received the letter, he neither replied nor acknowledged receipt. For a smart woman, I can be slow sometimes. I realize now, that certainly the executive must have mentioned my call to Harry or his dad. Maybe both.
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