Written for my weekly blog at:
Recently, while with an old friend, I was in need of a place to recycle a bunch of cardboard boxes. He suggests the lake near his house, says they have a recycling center near by. Cool.
As we turn down the street towards the lake, I felt my chest collapse as the air left my lungs, and I hunched over my steering wheel, with my hand on my heart.
This is the DUCK POND, I gasped. Yeah, he says, looking a little concerned.
The Duck Pond. Oh my god.
See, my very long ago, fiancee and I used to go to the duck pond every single weekend. We’d get really, really high, and bring bread for all of the ducks, geese, and assorted other birds. We took photos of them, we had names for some of them, and a lot of the regulars recognized us.
It was our thing. It was fun, and relaxing, and we got to get out in nature and spend time with each other and the ducks.
I havent been to or even thought about the duck pond since we split up in 1997.
And at that moment, that the air was sucked out of my chest, it was like, or I imagine it was like, having passed on, and as a spirit looking down at the people and places you left behind, that you can visually still see and feel, but can no longer touch.
I left him.
After 5 years, and 2 years of co-habitation, I bailed. I was just out of grad school and I saw my life flashing before my eyes. I saw me instantly becoming a stay at home Mom with 2 kids by age 30, with a husband who works full time, and a family that sits and watches their favorite tv shows each night when Dad gets home from work.
And I didn’t want that.
I didn’t know what I wanted, but I didn’t want that.
And honestly, I loved him, but I was no longer IN LOVE, actually, I don’t know that I ever was. He pursued me. Patiently and persistently, and next thing I know we’re dating and spending every free moment together, sleepovers etc.
And then .. after 3 years of dating, we got an apartment together.
And even that, didnt feel right… I wrote in my diary the day I was moving in with him, that I didnt want to do it, and I had been praying that my Mother or some other kind soul would have simply asked, “Are you sure you want to be doing this?”.. and I probably would have collapsed and cried NO NO NO.. I dont want to do this… but no one asked, and the moving trucks came, and so I moved.
And 2 years later, I bailed.
Flash forward 15 years later, and re-visting that duck pond brought up a lot of memories. Good and bad. And the realization, that even though that wasn’t the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, I haven’t had a man even come close to the kindness, love, and affection he showed me. Havent spent a Christmas, or a Birthday or any Holiday with anyone, havent vacationed with anyone, havent done a ‘couples’ photo-shoot with anyone…
Would I want to get back together with my fiance and beg forgiveness, no, not at all. We last spoke about 3 or 4 years ago, in person, and he said, “I don’t get it. How do you fall out of love with someone?” And I tried my best not to hurt him further, and I said, “We’re just two totally different people. You’re idea of a fun time is a case of beer and going fishing.” “Mine is a yoga retreat and Reiki sessions. “
He still didn’t get it though.. I mean maybe he has now, but last time I saw him, he was still very hurt from the breakup. And he’s had major relationships, and a son since.
But he loved me.
More than anyone has since.
There’s something so innocent about ducks. They always seem to be having a good day, they’re always happy to see you, and they always stick together.
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