I saw the gazebo in the yard he was directing me to walk toward, but for a moment my legs didn’t seem like they wanted to take me there. I’d come all this way, I had to see this thing through and have the conversation I’d wanted to have for years. Yet I was suddenly afraid and wished for nothing more than to run away like a speedy cartoon character.
Looking back from the yard to him I saw the old familiar sparkle his eyes reflected and somehow this gave me the courage to steady myself and begin walking toward the gazebo. I wondered as I walked if he was actually going to turn around, go inside, and just wait for me to leave. I thought he was likely passive aggressive like this, but I walked forward without looking back.
As I neared the gazebo I felt his presence beside me and immediately before I reached out to pull the curtain of netting aside that was covering the walkway inward he reached around me and pulled it forward for me to easily pass through.
A chill ran through the veins in my arms and a slow electric shock moved down my spine with a tickling sensation impossible to ignore. I shivered for a split second and felt his hand touch my arm while hearing his words.
“Are you okay?”
I thought, “Like you care!” but I simply replied with an affirmative nod.
Within the gazebo was positioned a cushioned bench to the far side, a white and glass coffee table sitting in front of that and two cushioned chairs on either side. I immediately sat on one of the single chairs to ensure I didn’t end up sitting directly beside him on the bench.
Realizing I wanted nothing more than to grab his hand and then wrap my arms around him I made an especially focused effort to freeze my body into a more rigid posture.
I closed my eyes for a moment immediately after taking the seat, took in a deep breath, and then opened my eyes slowly. He was sitting in the seat directly across the table from me and his eyes were clearly examining me.
Pressing my lips tightly together and slightly curving them into a half smile I stared back at him as my heart felt it was plummeting to my stomach. I knew this was the end of this journey. The future from here was uncertain but today I was saying goodbye, even though, when I set out to force him to face me, I hadn’t expected this to be the experience I would have.
Suddenly I stood and said, “I have to leave now.”
“How about you stay for a few minutes so that we can talk?”
“I’ve already said too much before now. I thought we needed to talk. I thought I needed to make you talk to me. I was wrong. I feel stupid. I need to go.”
“Please don’t feel stupid.” He didn’t look away from me when he said this and he hadn’t looked away from the me entire time I’d been here.
“This was a bad idea. I have bad ideas sometimes.”
“Well, now that you are here…”
I looked into his eyes when he said that and I saw there was only a slight hint of the sparkle in his eyes. More than that however, what I saw was a wall.
“Are you comfortable that you accomplished what you set out to do in coming here?”
“No.” I responded. “I’m not comfortable, but I am confident that I won’t find any resolution this way. I need to leave.”
I was so overwhelmed at this moment that I actually just wanted to curl up in a ball and go to sleep and hopefully wake up in some far away, secure, and lonely location. I’d forced this interaction, but it wasn’t what I needed. I needed to hide.
“Well,” He responded, still not taking his eyes off of me, “You are not a prisoner here.”
“That’s where you are wrong….” I looked at him and saw his exasperated expression and I slowly turned around and headed back toward the netted curtain.
As soon as I was fully turned around I decided ‘to heck with it!’ and I ran, pushing the curtain aside and reaching my car in mere moments.
He knew I loved him. There was no reason for me to try and get him to talk to me. He would have talked to me if he’d wanted to already. I had no additional understanding now of how to escape this difficult place between two jagged rocks of wishing I could hear from him everyday verses wishing I could forget.
Maybe over time I’d find acceptance, but although he had been right in front of me for those moments, the invisible walls around him were so thick that I’d have no way of understanding any why’s or how’s or what’s about him as a result of this confrontation.
I would never ever know anything beyond my own imagination as long as he didn’t feel like sharing. I would never know if my feelings were reality or fantasy and I would never know if spending time with him would change the way I was feeling or if it would help me move forward.
Only with him was I left unable to understand these emotions and how to deal with them. Maybe the movies are true. Maybe everyone does have that someone who is just their Achilles heel. When I drove away I refused to look back. I was embarrassed and it was nowhere near the first time I’d embarrassed myself with him.
‘Just drive.’ I told myself in a whisper. ‘Just drive.’