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20 Years

I’m getting better about not getting stuck on dates. I don’t dread approaching days for their significance like I did in the early years of my separation and divorce. That’s why when I realized the significance of February 13, 2013, I was surprised it hadn't dawned on me sooner and a little proud of myself that I hadn’t circled the date in black on every calendar I owned

Twenty years ago on February 13, X asked me to marry him.  It was 8 months to the day of our first date and he thought, “If I give her an engagement ring on the 13th, I bet I won’t have to buy her anything for Valentine’s Day.” We had talked about marriage but he hadn’t proposed formally. He kept telling me that he was still saving for a ring. So when we drove to the golf course where we’d shared our first kiss, I had no clue that once we climbed the fence, he would pull a black velvet box out of his coat pocket and tell me he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me.

X and I traded emails on that day, both marveling at the fact that it had been 20 years. I was a little shocked (and kind of excited) that he had actually thought about the significance of the day that morning before he received my email. I thought about it, paced around a bit, gave myself a little time to check my motives before I typed the words, “For the record, I’d say yes again.”

And once again I surprised myself in the reason I said those words. It wasn’t that I said them hoping that he would think the same thing and we’d meet at the top of the tallest building in town to profess that we still loved each other.  I won’t lie, I still hope for a different outcome for all of this. But when I typed, I’d say yes again, I was thinking of the experiences that the two of us shared, the things I learned from our relationship, and the places where the heartbreak of the end of the marriage have brought me to.

If I had a time machine and could erase the hurt of the past 5 years, I would be in that machine without taking the time to put my helmet on. The fact that I can look at the heartache and actually see good in had me surprised for the third time in 24 hours, and gave me hope that maybe there is a light at the end of this very long, very dark tunnel.


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