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With "Just Married" graffitied on our car, we sputtered around the American northwest. Romantic nights in bed and breakfasts. Lazy in our wanderlust, traveling, kissing, Candid photo's on bridges and holding hands. Soaking up the fresh love of newlyweds.
We traveled for days with no plans. Eating at mom and pop shops, cuddling around the fire during a blizzard. We were happy. Silly, but I remember arguing about the car temperature. He was always flipping it to super HOT or super COLD. Me, I liked a more moderate temperature. An indication of our personalities? Maybe.
That first year, life began in a tiny basement apartment just down the hill from the University. Our queen mattress pushed up against one wall. The desk doubled as a kitchen table. The bathroom shower so small we couldn't enjoy it together. A kitchen full of every gourmet gadgets thanks to generous wedding guests. I was a minimalist and couldn't see the use for all those gadgets. I returned them for cash. Later, I'd regret not keeping that dang salad spinner!
Within the first 2 weeks of marriage I ran away. I know you're not surprised. Always a runner! One night while he was sleeping I was afraid, lonely and felt rejected. What had I done? I was married. MARRIED! Not just forever but for E T E R N I T Y! gulp.
The finality of it sank into my bones and anxiety overtook me. Visions of my parents cold controlling relationship flashed in my mind. Quickly, I threw some things in a duffle, got in the car and drove halfway down the canyon before tears fogged my vision. I spent the night parked by the river, recling in the front seat and counting stars. Before the sun peeked over the mountains I pointed my wheels west and drove back home. Recommitting to my promises and our life together
It was barely dawn as I slowly cracked the front door, cursing the squeak as I shut it. Silently dropping my things to the floor I crawled next to my sleeping husband. Warm and oblivious. Lying my head back, the pillow was cold. I watched his sleeping face. My arms wrapped around him as i whispered my sorry's into his chest. He hadn't even known I was gone.
Did I really let that happen?
Did I just let my husband, a confessed sex addict with a preference for Asian hookers, touch my body? Kiss me? Run his fingers across my hips? And I him? Did I touch him? My body wants him. My mind rejects him. My heart weaves bitter, salty strings of disgust with sweet honey flavored yarns of healing. None of it makes sense. I love him and I hate him.
Had the numbness of trauma dulled my senses? Was I a victim of my own lust and desire? Or, maybe I have no grasp of self-preservation? Is this how the walk of shame feels? Sigh.
Pressing my nose to the pillow where he slept, the sheets still warm, I inhale his scent. Wildly familiar and at the same time absolutely foreign. His tangy spice filling my nostrils, proving...
I really did let that happen.
The morning after left me naked, exposed and tender. Vulnerability had settled on me like a million tiny diamond stars ready to light my path. Or, without warning the stars could burst into a scorching super nova hurtling me, forever lost into a black hole. The outcome of last nights hoopla could be devastating. It's like I'd done something i knew i shouldn't.
Over the next three weeks, the night of our passion, love and forgiveness repeated itself.
It was full of sweetness. Gentle understanding. Compassion. Timid trust. Endless sorry's. Sharing confidences. Revealing secrets. Tears and agony bathed in relief, the beginnings of forgiveness. He spent many nights in my bed but only as a guest. With sensitivity and respect he left when there was no invitation to stay. Sometimes my broken heart needed silence and distance.
This three weeks was a gift. A promise. A second honeymoon.
* Disclaimer about sex