Overwhelming

She was so overwhelmed.

Overwhelmed by her love for him.

Overwhelmed by the way she felt when she was with him.

Overwhelmed by the loneliness she felt when he was gone from her.

Overwhelmed with joy at the sight of his smile.

Overwhelmed with tears when she couldn’t hear his voice.

Overwhelmed with desire when he would say, “You’re all mine.”

Overwhelmed with sadness when she heard pain in his voice.

Overwhelmed with passionate fire when he would kiss her.

Overwhelmed with shame when she could see hurt in his eyes.

Overwhelmed with laughter when they were free to be themselves together.

Overwhelmed with fear when she thought she might lose him completely.

Overwhelmed with love for the man she found most exceptional, most admirable, most handsome, most extraordinary in the world.

He completely overwhelmed her.

He made it impossible for her to see straight, think clearly, or even focus; sometimes in a good way, sometimes not.

But in all ways, the overwhelming love she had for him was unmatched by anything she had known in this world.

It was dangerous how single-mindedly she loved him.

It was boundless and infinite and completely overtook everything else.

Reason would go out the window.

Common sense would get lost in the shuffle.

She was blinded with tunnel vision for him. Only him.

She constantly fought to keep a level head, and she rarely won.

But she loved him.

She had loved him her whole life.

And she would love him forever still.

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Everything and Nothing

She had made him everything.

Her whole world.

Her moon.

Her light.

Her universe.

Her hope and comfort.

She had made him everything.

 

She basked in the sun of his smile.

She bathed in the sacred pools of his eyes.

She worshipped at the temple of his body.

She was reborn in the depths of his soul.

 

She had made him everything;

And thus, she was nothing without him.

 

IMG_4796Image: “Only the Moon Knows” by Steve K Art

Two Years Later…

Her heart felt like lead. She couldn’t breathe. She didn’t eat much and when she did, her body would not let it stay.

 

After countless times spent together, after hundreds of hours on the phone, after multiple conversations about their ill-fated love affair, she finally had to stop.

 

He was the love of her life, but he was not hers alone, and she couldn’t live with it anymore. She sobbed into the phone and told him, she would love him forever. She said, “later” because “good-bye” was something they had promised each other they would never say, but she could not bring herself to hang up, and he wasn’t ending the call either.

 

Neither of them wanted to let go. But they absolutely had to stop what they were doing. They were both getting hurt over and over, and they couldn’t keep doing that to each other.

 

He remained strong, for her he said, but she could tell he was breaking, too.

 

“I can’t hang up on you. I can’t,” she wept.

 

“You’re not hanging up on me, baby.”

 

“I love you. I am always going to love you. You have my whole heart,” she said the words as the tears choked her.

 

His voice cracked a little. “And you have mine.”

 

“We’ll hang up at the same time, ok?”

 

After a few more tearful moments and failed attempts to press “end,” she somehow managed to hang up the phone. But she had to say it one more time. She texted him:

 

“I know you probably turned the phone off already, but I just need you to know: I LOVE YOU. I ADORE YOU. I RESPECT AND ADMIRE YOU. You are the man of my dreams and the love of my life. I will love you always and forever.”

 

She hit “send” believing it was a message he would never receive. But in the next minute her phone rang.

 

He was sobbing.

 

“I love you. I love you so much. I’m sorry. I just need you to know I love you.”

 

“Baby, I’m sorry! I love you too.” She put her head down on her desk and cried harder.

 

“I’m sorry. I’mma love you til the day I die.”

 

She could feel his broken heart in every syllable.

 

“Baby, don’t apologize, please. I love you so fucking much.”

 

She couldn’t remember how they ended the call that time, but she knew there was still no “good-bye.”

 

She tried calling a couple couple hours later, but the phone was off. He was gone. Gone from her life.

 

She sat and cried, wondering what kind of a life she would have without him in it. She wondered how much heartbreak one could endure before it physically killed you. She wondered if she would ever see his face again. She wondered if she had done the right thing. She wondered if she had lost him forever, or if one day, he would find her again.

 

She didn’t understand how the universe could be so cruel as to bring them back to each other under the circumstances. She didn’t understand how the heartache she felt now would ever cease. She didn’t understand why he had let her go. Again.

 

She did not know how she would go on living. She did not know what she would do to move on. She did not know anything with any certainty anymore. Except for one thing: He was the only one for her. No matter what happened in life, her heart would always belong to him.

Not Now, Not Ever

He had never been hers. Not once in her life. She gave him everything she had, her whole self, and he gave her his heart, but he couldn’t give her anything more. Or maybe he wouldn’t. She didn’t know the difference anymore.

All she knew was that she wanted him. All of him. All the time. She knew in her head that was not going to happen. Not now, and though he would say “one day,” she knew in her heart, not ever.

And her heart! Whenever she tried to make it accept this truth, her heart felt strangled, tortured, and mostly dead. It ached so dreadfully, she didn’t know how blood continued pumping through her veins. It was physically agonizing inside her chest. The hurt was consuming her, and her poor heart begged for respite.

So she ate, she drank, she abstained, she slept, she puked, she exercised, she cried, she starved, she checked out, but nothing made it stop. Not for long.

At times, the ache would temporarily subside. Busy with distractions like work, friends, or family, she would smile and laugh on occasion, but the pain would come back more fiercely every time she remembered the color of his eyes or the way his skin smelled when it rubbed against hers, or the sound of his voice in her ears. The memories only served to remind her, she couldn’t share life a with him, couldn’t have him exist as a part of her world.

So she tried as hard as she could to live in her fantasies, in the pretend world she had created for them, but it never lasted. Reality would crash through the walls of her dollhouse, and crush her where she stood. All her dreams were for nothing. He would never be hers. Not now, not ever. He never had been. And she had no one to blame but herself for thinking otherwise.

image by Steve K art

New First Kiss

She still remembers the day she agreed to meet him. She knows the date, the day of the week, the time. She knows what she was wearing. She knows what he was wearing. She remembers what the weather was like and the exact place they parked. She remembers everything because it was one of the best moments of her life.

She couldn’t stop thinking about what it would be like to be alone with him again. She was bursting with nervous excitement as she drove. When she pulled in to pick him up, the side of her vehicle scraped the nearby tree branches. She couldn’t even drive into a parking space she was shaking so hard!

He had said he wanted to see her so they could talk and so he could give her a hug. He climbed into the passenger seat, and she gave him the most awkward hug from the driver’s  seat. “There,” she said. “There’s your hug.” He gave her an equally awkward pat-on-the-back kind of hug.

They were making small talk, when he suddenly hopped out of the vehicle. He walked around the front of the car and opened her door. When she paused, he told her he wanted a real hug. Her heart raced as she stepped out.

She put her arms around his neck, as he wrapped his arms around her waist, and pulled her body into his. He felt so safe, so familiar; she could have stayed there forever. He reached down and grabbed a handful of her ass, just like he used to. Perhaps he thought she didn’t like it, because he apologized and started to pull away.

She panicked. She didn’t want him to let go, didn’t want him leave. When she saw him the week before, she had fantasized about kissing him, but couldn’t do anything about it. Today, though, she couldn’t let him slip away. And she didn’t. She lifted his chin and kissed him before he could let go all the way.

It was a perfect kiss; everything she had been missing, better than she remembered. He kissed her back, softly at first, but as their mouths melted into each other’s, the kiss became more fervent. He pulled away again, but this time he didn’t apologize.

He opened her door and told her she’d better get back in the car. She knew what he meant by that. They had crossed a line. He had kissed her back, but she had surprised him, kissing him first. He didn’t think she would do that, but she knew she had to.

He got in the backseat instead of the front this time. She told him she wasn’t getting in the back with him. He said he knew that and didn’t expect her to. She took that moment to read aloud what she had written about reconnecting with him. He teased her about her reading glasses, but he hung on every word.

“Wow,” was all he managed to wistfully say.

He was talking now, showing her a side of him she had never seen before. He was being vulnerable. He choked up and got teary-eyed when he talked about the way he felt about her. The way he felt when she had ended things with him all those years ago. He told her what it did to him and how it had made him feel. He was devastated, he told her. But too “thug” to let her know it. Once again, she could hardly believe what she was hearing.

She couldn’t resist him like that. She had to be near him. She saw the look of shock on his face when she climbed into the back with him.  She sat right on his lap and kissed him again. He kissed her back, holding tightly to her waist; his fingers digging into her body. He slid his hands down to her thighs, and hiked up her skirt. Thankfully, she was wearing spanx and as he fumbled with them, she came to her senses.

“You wore those on purpose,” he grumbled as she pulled her body off his.

“I really didn’t,” she said as she climbed back into the front seat.

She wasn’t thinking clearly that day. In fact, she hadn’t been thinking clearly since he put his hands on her arms. She had been acting solely on impulse, driven by her intense desire for this man.

She explained to him that usually, she overthought EVERYTHING. But not that day. She had to know if he felt what she felt. She had to know if she was alone in her twenty-plus lost years. She had to know if she had made it all up.

She got her answers that day. The answers she had hoped for. She just didn’t know what to do with them now.

The Truth, Finally

He contacted her the day after the BBQ. She told him she wasn’t “allowed” to talk to him because of their past relationship. But he asked her to call him anyway, and for some reason, she did.

He asked her what was really going on in her life, because even though she was smiling that day, he could tell she was not GREAT. She opened up to him and told him how unhappy she was, how miserable her marriage had become, and how she was trying counseling, compromise, and compassion, but none of it was working. All she was doing at this point, was going through the motions for the sake of the kids.

He expressed his sympathy to her, and she asked him, “How did you know I wasn’t doing as well as I said I was?”

“I could see it in your face.” He stated it like it was obvious to anyone who looked. Yet everyone else seemed fooled by her fake happy face. How was he not fooled?

They continued to talk every day for a week. During one converstion, he surprised her by asking her to tell him how she felt about him twenty years earlier.

“I liked you. A lot.” She didn’t want to say too much. She didn’t really understand the reason he asked.

“But how did you feel about me?” He asked again. The earnestness she heard in his voice at that moment, took down her defenses.

“I was crazy about you,” She said softly. Relieved, but a little scared to admit it. He must have been holding his breath, because she heard him exhale.

She decided to use this moment of honesty to pose the question back to him.

“I was crazy about you, girl. You didn’t know that?”

She could hardly believe what she was hearing. He went on to tell her he regretted letting her go all those years ago. He told her she was the One and he had let her get away, because he was too much of a hard ass to be real with her then. He told her he never should have let her go.

She asked him why he was being real now. Now, when they were both married to other people.

“Because I never got over you, never stopped thinking about you for twenty years. I didn’t want you walk away this time without knowing how you really felt back then, or if it was just me.” His voice was more sincere than she had ever heard it. She felt her heart melt.

“Meet me this week and we can talk,” he said. It was more of a statement than a request. She had forgotten how much she loved it when he talked that way. She ignored the little voice in her head that was warning her of the danger, and agreed to meet him.

Twenty Years Later, Part One of Three

Two-tenths of a century. Two decades. Twenty years. Two hundred forty months. One thousand, forty weeks. Seven thousand, three hundred five days. One hundred seventy-five thousand, two hundred hours. Ten million, five hundred twelve thousand minutes, Six hundred thirty million, seven hundred twenty thousand seconds. However you measure it, what seemed like a lifetime would pass before they would see each other in person again.

Two lifetimes to be precise. His and hers. Existing completely separate from one another. Families, milestones, adventures, experiences, troubles, sorrows, joys; everything that makes life what it is was happening for them, just not together. Which would have been entirely normal and totally fine except for one thing: Neither of them had ever fully let go of the other.

He would creep back into her thoughts at random, odd times. She would wonder if and pray that he was happy. She really only wanted to know he was happy. (And she would later learn he had the same experiences, thinking of her time after time.) Of all the exes they’d both had, they were each other’s One to remember forever.

Hearing he had moved to a new city, she sometimes wished she’d bump into him while visiting his town. She had this strange feeling that she just needed to see him one more time. She had even found out he had been across the street from her home once for an event. Literally across the street! There were a few times she had opportunities to cross his path, but there was always something, or someone, that got in the way.

The years passed and things got less and less bearable for her at home. Her daughters were (and still are) her whole world; astonishing, intelligent, witty, beautiful young ladies. She adored them completely. But her marriage… her marriage was rockier with each day that passed. By about year 15, it was a lot of fighting, bad counseling, and gritting their teeth to get through it for the sake of the kids. She wanted out so badly. She had lost herself and had hardly noticed.

But the One knew it. He knew it the minute he laid eyes on her.