Beginning To End: A Love Story

13 07 2011

All too often…

He loved her and she loved him. At some point they became inseparable; it only made sense that they would be together, forever. They made promises to one another; they looked right into each other’s eyes and said those things.

Hand in hand, the two of them: he was her shelter, and she was his crown. Then, with a several additions, they became parents.

Their life together was extraordinary and ordinary; love stories settle in after all. The chase turns into companionship, community, camaraderie; it is a fair and beautiful trade but not simple. Whoever thinks a journey like this, together, is a simple thing has never been anywhere.

There was her stuff and his stuff; things that eventually got combined; the folding and unfolding of maps, agreeing and disagreeing, sunny days and days that got rained out. There were blisters and budgets, moments they would rather forget, but many others they could talk about forever: the same stories, the same endings, the same feelings as if they just happened.

All of these things, each minute side-by-side was a tiny little shred of life overlapping, glued together so that no one should easily have been able to separate them; when you stood back from it you could see the work in progress. Even unpolished, it was lovely.

What is this worth: this picture? This labor? Can you take your eyes off it?

Somewhere along the way something turned a head…

What was that?

A distraction.

A dissatisfaction.

A dishonesty.

A distance.

A small bit of something colorful mixed with curiosity.

Some trickery. A lazy eye. Then one of them (sometimes it’s both) forgets, neglects the thing they were working on. A blinding mistake.

He (let’s say him), for one or ten reasons thinks the alternative will be better than the present. Or, if not “better,” then another word that still spells devastation.

Now…how will he undo the ties that have bound him to the wife of his youth?

The one who satisfied him?

The one who left her very name to take his?

One can’t simply slip them off, like yesterday’s clothing. It happens with a knife: the severing of arteries and veins; no matter how carefully, how surgically one tries, it ends up being a bloody amputation.

And no matter how clear the explanation, how definite the resolve, how stoic each person appears as they swallow the news; emotionally, those who have loved him cling to his ankles, dragging behind him as he walks out, leaving them an inescapable new reality.

His children’s children will feel the aftershock of his choice.

His own reflection, the one he sees in the mirror, will always be haunted.

Yet, he moves forward as if it is the law.

For all of time has this ever worked? For all of time has this ever brought more joy than sorrow? For all of time has this ever fixed anything more than it has destroyed everything?

He has fallen for the oldest trick, by the oldest trickster, described in The Book. He has taken the lure. In thinking there is something better out there, he will discover far more that is worse.

Why won’t he just turn around and say,

“I have made a horrible mistake.”

No one is looking for excuses; undeniably there are none.

Isn’t repentance ever an option anymore?

This is where I pause and stare at the keyboard.

How fitting that I don’t know how to end this because there shouldn’t be an ending here. There is so much material left to work with; there is no need to write anyone out. There he is, and there she is and there is so much to do and say and become; lines and lines and photos and chapter headings, and footnotes…

Please God.

— Teresa Klassen

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