I was sun-kissed and exhausted from spending the afternoon on the water with my girlfriends, relieved to have been disconnected from my phone and all my responsibilities for a bit. It's a good thing, too, because when I waddled in the front door, dripping and slightly sunburned, I saw the text that I knew would come eventually.
"I'd really love to talk, if you'd be up for that," he wrote.
I felt this wave of rage fill my body-- rage that I didn't even know I was still carrying. He must be single and lonely, I thought. Or maybe he's broke? He is probably broke. I finally responded an hour later, wondering what the hell there was to talk about after all this time.
He proceeded to apologize for hurting me, and I skeptically listened while trying to nail down his motive. There's always a motive, I thought. He said he needed to clear his conscience, that he needed to right his wrongs.
"Do you feel better," I asked, "now that you've cleared your conscience?"
"No," he confessed. "I don't."
I wanted to rip him to shreds. I could have denied him my forgiveness and kept my power in all this. And yet something in me kept my fingers from typing out the horrible things I was thinking about him and all the pain he'd caused me over the years. It has been almost five years since I left him, and the anger was still tied around my ankles in the way that toddlers grasp onto their parents' feet.
"I need to think for a second."
The rain was coming down now, hitting the canopy in the rhythmic and soothing way that rain falls. The tin roof rattled. The leaves rustled. There was all this peace surrounding me but it was just so loud in my head. I could not form words.
The hurricane moved a little closer to the shore, and I realized it was time to let it go. I did not want to carry this weight of hatred around anymore. It had been too long already.
In the last few months I've been working hard to rid my life of things or people that do not serve me. It was as if the universe had handed me this opportunity on a plate to put into practice the things I've been learning in this very big way-- a sort of midterm exam, if you will. I was reluctant, but also overjoyed, to have this moment of clarity come so unexpectedly.
"You will never be able to understand fully the long-lasting effects that your psychological warfare had on my life. There are no words for that. You can never fix the hurt inside me that you caused-- that's my job now," I said calmly. "So go and DO better. BE better. Be better for your daughter. I hope she changes the world. I hope you are good to her mother in a way that you couldn't be for me."
I hope one day twenty years from now, he and I will be able to sit down and have a cup of coffee and truly see how exactly right we were to go our separate ways. But for now it feels good not to hate him for the first time in five years. It felt good to speak great things into his daughter's life, though I never in a thousand years imagined he'd have a daughter with anyone but me. Hot, salty tears streamed down my face, dripping from my chin and the tip of my nose. I looked out over the lake water, thankful that somehow this moment had come in its own perfect timing. I could not have timed it better if I had planned this rendezvous myself.
They say no two loves are the same. Well, let's hope not anyway. For so long I've been saying goodbye to the malicious and manipulative person he had become. This weekend, I finally said goodbye to the man I had fallen in love with and the dreams we dreamed together. And I hope that, in doing so, I have opened myself up to a new realm of possibilities and somehow invited a new love to fill the places where all that rage was hiding.
I'm ready. I hope the universe or god or whoever is listening. I certainly am.