What a song did to me

by Heligirl on August 12, 2011

in Beyond Mommyhood,Daily Ramblings

A song played over the PA system as we boarded a flight from L.A. on Tuesday. All I clearly heard was a woman’s voice crooning “I never meant to hurt you…” Having enjoyed some quality me time in the desert as a part of my business trip, my creative juices and desire to write were primed. This is what poured out at 38,000 feet, barely edited so enjoy as a first draft…

Leading the car along a winding country road that gently inclined through the eucalyptus trees and high desert scrub, I felt the tension begin to melt from my shoulders. I felt safe here, surrounded on either side by majestic giants that gave away to steep canyon walls.

I found myself slowing down, taking a deep breath. I rolled down the windows and reached over to turn off the air conditioner. It was a scorching 95 degrees in the valley, but up here, while a little warm, it felt much more comfortable with the breeze blowing through the open window.

I breathed in the fresh mountain air, tinted with eucalyptus, and let the memories of the past two weeks wash over me.

He’d come into my life so unexpectedly, turning it upside down. He had me at hello with that dimpled smile that reached his eyes and lit up his face. My heart had literally skipped a beat.

He was relentless in his pursuit, offering to take me to lunch, asking me out to late night dinners, calling just to chat and keeping me on the phone until the battery all but died four hours later.

I fell hard, basking in his attention. I felt like a queen, the most important person in the world when I was with him.

I’d always told myself that kind of attention would be overwhelming, stifling even. How could someone breathe under that kind of attention?

It wasn’t like that with Derek. He didn’t possess an intensity. Instead it was a gentle kindness and genuine interest in me. We had so much in common. I was convinced we were soul mates.

Now he was gone. After so many full years of a successful career, close friends, and fierce independence, I suddenly felt hollow. How could someone come into my life and fill it so completely, then abandon it just as quickly, leaving me to feel entirely empty?

Abandon. I ran my fingers through my close cropped hair and considered that for a moment. Yes, that’s how I felt. Abandoned. Used and thrown away. It was an equally humiliating and empty feeling.

The trees parted and the canyon widened slightly to reveal a small lake. I pulled over, shut off the engine and looked out across the water. The light breeze sent gentle ripples across the deep blue surface that contrasted with the yellow August grass and deep green scrub of the high country.

He was like the breeze, I let myself think. He touched me, creating ripples, and just as quickly was gone.

I stepped out of the car and walked under the shade of a tree, sitting down at its trunk with my knees drawn to my chest.

I was safe here. No one I knew passed through this canyon. I was miles from home. I could let my guard down.

The sobs raked through my body, scaring me a little with how quickly, how powerfully they came. My body began to shake from the release and I completely let go.

Good, a small voice inside me echoed. Get it out and then leave it all here.

I don’t know how long I sat there, curled into a ball, crying into my knees. My jeans were damp and my mouth was dry. The sun had begun to cast shadows across the lake and far hills. Perhaps I should go.

My body refused to move.

As I watched a lone horse and rider meander along the trail on the other side of the lake, the memory of Derek’s note haunted me.

“I didn’t mean to hurt you. I’m sorry.”

Don’t they all say that? Maybe he meant it. Maybe he was just a very skilled narcissist. For a brief moment the anger started to come.

As if he felt me watching him from across the lake, the rider pulled up his horse to a stop, turned and looked right at me, his face hidden in the shadow of his hat.

Suddenly pulled from my self pity, I noticed the safe feeling evaporate. An overwhelming urge to get in the car and leave immediately overwhelmed me. So much so that my stomach suddenly tightened, my heart began to pound.

What the hell?

I knew better than to ignore these instincts, developed on a night long ago when I’d been young and trusting. When a man I’d believed was simply taking me on a date made his true intentions known in a violent struggle that left me mistrusting myself, men and humanity for years.

I turned from the man, stood and walked to my car. When I dared to look up again after starting the engine, man and horse we’re nowhere to be found.

My heart returned to a regular beat as my stomach relaxed.

Maybe Derek didn’t mean to hurt me. He’d made no promises. I knew his was the life of a career military man. But something was triggering those old feelings that set off my flight instincts.

It was going to take a long time to move past Derek Reynolds.

I scanned the horizon, suddenly curious where that horseman could have gone. It suddenly seemed very important.

Was my intuition trying to tell me something was happening, bigger than Derek and me?

Previous post:

Next post: