For a year and five months I've been asking myself why I've been led down this path, why my seemingly "perfect" marriage fell apart. I've deemed myself the victim in this situation; after all I didn't ask for this, I didn't push him to cheat. I loved him with all of my heart and gave him all I had. I trusted, loved, believed but it wasn't enough.
One year ago today, Mark exploded into my life, along with an incessant pull that silently and relentlessly led me into his arms time and time again. He seemed to play an eternal security blanket for my shattered life. He was so incredibly sweet and caring, he put me first, he did the nicest sweetest things for me and with me.
About a month ago when Mark and I had stopped seeing each other yet again, I went out on a date with Donovan, my first date since Blake and Mark. The date was awful and I found myself once more thinking of Mark. I couldn't stay away from him, the feelings were real and intense, but as I had found out from all the months prior, the feelings often were fleeting, like the light of a shining star, brilliant and bright, fading quickly into the black. This time he felt like an old familiar home, awaiting my return, all I had to do was turn the lock.
I had mixed feelings about my reappearance in his life. I knew how I had hurt him only a month prior, and I knew my intentions weren't pure. I had finally, legitimately put myself first, and it felt awful.
We spent a lot of time together over the holidays, I'm not sure how I would have made it without him, I'm not sure I would have made it through any of this without him. I've always called him my angel, and today I realize He really was, he saved me. from myself.
Over time the "sweet" things about him, the things that make him truly him; his beautiful, big, soft heart, his vulnerability, his kindness, begun to grate on me. His overuse of literary devices, his over-the-top awe and wonder at the sunrise, little things that I had held so highly within myself, the parts of him that were supposed to make me so happy, drove me insane. These traits were once the very reason I fell for him, why I had felt so very connected to him. How was it possible to be annoyed by this, I felt like such a cold and empty person. I pushed these thoughts away not wanting to hurt his feelings, certainly not wanting to injure this rare and precious outlook on life.
It's 4:30a.m. on a Saturday and I've just returned from dropping Emma off at the airport for an impromptu trip to L.A. The worst part is that Mark flew out at the same time for a trip to Phoenix where he will be running a marathon, not once did I offer to take him, not once did it even cross my mind.
Earlier this evening I was at his house, he fed me supper and we lay down to watch a movie. As he slowly caressed my arm and kissed my neck I cringed, much as I had done with my husband only 7 months prior, then drunk with thoughts of Mark.
For weeks now I've existed in this limbo with him, Not daring to look in the direction of the elephant who sat obscenely in the room. he kissed me I tried to kiss him back, a pathetic existence, all the while the elephant grew. All this time I've been concerned with myself. I knew in my heart that I didn't feel the things he did, and I blamed it on my poor broken heart, the empty pit in my chest, sucking every bit of joy from my life, and of those around me. I actually lectured myself into believing that because I was lonely, and because he was such a wonderful companion, that this was ok, that I wasn't using him, because I needed him for comfort, and company, the best things one can want from a person. I not once considered the sheer impossibility of him hurting like myself. Every time I saw him break I rolled my eyes as if his pain was so inferior to mine. How could he possibly understand. How naive he was.
I've been restless, writhing in my own skin, all of the moments I've failed at being a decent human being to him, failed at treating him in a way remotely close to what he deserves. My heart is heavy, I still feel sorry for myself, guilt eats at my soul. I feel horrible, my pain has defined me, I have let it. He had tears in his eyes tonight when the words escaped his lips "my self esteem is so low, when I'm with you I feel like I'm not good enough, like there's something wrong with me, I've given you my best, I guess the good guy doesn't always win. I feel like I'm becoming a bad person like I won't treat someone the way I treated you because it didn't get me anywhere" words I have spoken to Blake so many times before. The worst part is that he's giving me another chance to be in his life, he believes in me so much that he won't give up on me, he sees this light in me that I just don't believe in.
Reflecting on these words and many others, I realized something that I suppose I've always known. He is very much like me. I've said it so many times, he's exactly what I wanted in my "next" significant other- someone more like myself. Well there my mirror stood, broken and hurt, but full of undying faith and trust in the person he loves. The person who doesn't deserve him, the person he helped through her toughest days and darkest nights, the girl he believed in when she couldn't believe in herself, the girl who taught him to love.
It's been staring at me all this time, all these months. Every path I took led me back to him, I kept trying to tear myself away to stop hurting him, I could see the wounds I was leaving and knew they would turn to scars. but he had taught me his final lesson, how to put myself first. How incredibly thankful I am to have been led to Mark, to this gentle and caring man who gave me a piece of his heart to mend the one I had lost.
I stared at this male version of myself and saw the same little girl I left behind so many months ago. I saw her faults, plain and clear, blinking wide eyed in the new light that shone. She wasn't so perfect after all, but oh she was sweet, and had the very best intentions and loved so wholly. I realized with gaping mouth and horror in my eyes that I had become my husband. In that instant I felt his pain for the very first time. Raw and real.
The realization that I had to hurt to teach Blake, how Mark was hurting to teach me. I realized I gave Blake a gift, the same one Mark had just given me; One that neither of us were aware of giving. I also understood that being a "good person" isn't a constant, we are shaped by the people who enter our lives, they are here to teach us, and love us and guide us, and us them. Sometimes you are the brokenhearted, sometimes the one who breaks hearts, no matter which position you play there is a hurt and emptiness that follows.
I vow to always remember how it hurt when my heart was broken, how it felt to be abandoned, discarded. I'll never forget how it ached to break another heart, how by taking a piece of someone else's heart I had to learn to forgive myself.
Has this journey come to an end? Have I simply begun a new chapter? I learned so much about myself tonight, just in time to leave that person behind. She will always be a part of me but I have grown form her weaknesses, and while doing so found a part of my husband buried deep inside me....the part of me that survived.
I was right, when I sat on that alter on August 8 2011, his hand in mine, our families and friends spread before us like an ocean. My chest burned inside, it was the moment I felt I had been forever bonded to Blake. It was the moment him and I became husband and wife, when we became one. That little piece of him that was united with me that day is the only piece that survived when I totally fell apart. In the end he really did save me.
and for the first time in seven long, beautiful, painful, trying, wonderful years I see him, his imperfect, forgetful, frustrating self, and I know that I still love him wildly, fiercely. Maybe I always will.