He sits across a table from me, and begs for one more chance.
He’s so certain. So sure. He loves me, he says. He knows it. He loves our life, our family, our Everything We’ve Built Together. He loves it. He wants to save it.
One more chance, he says.
An hour later, I find out something new. Something else. Something that came after he asked for one more chance and I got in my car and told him I just didn’t know. Something that came before I called and cried and assured him that no part of me felt self righteous, that I was torn up with the feeling of having deserved it. Something that belies his wish for chances.
Something that is new and different and yet exactly the same as it has always been.
He sits on the other end of a phone line from me, and begs for one more chance.
I cry. Again.
This is it, I say.
OK, he says.
The last time, I tell him.
I know, he promises.
I go back through the archives of this blog, and I find stories of struggle and triumph. I read about how we fight and push through and make up. I read, too, about how I say he is a good, kind and generous man. A man who never gives up. A man who never says no to me. A man who believes in me, even while not understanding me.
It’s as if I’m reading about a stranger.
I feel no swell. I feel no softening. I feel no weakness in my knees.
I feel nothing, save for the cold, dull ache of barely scabbed over wounds. And long scabbed over wounds.
I do not ever feel Nothing.
I feel rage or passion or joy or sorrow or something, but always Something.
I do not recognize this nothingness.
In my head, I know it’s shock and awe and an attempt to defend against more pain. In my head, I know I have said the words and felt the love. I know. I know. Don’t I?
But in my heart, I’m empty.
I wake up this morning still conflicted. Still thinking about one more chance.
I call my mom and she asks how the rest of yesterday went. I have to tell her. I have to tell her about the table and the something else and the phone call and the one more chance.
“I asked him how many more times he could hurt me and he said-”
“That’s up to you,” she says. She says it quietly and without judgment, but she says it still, knowing it is truth.
And I am ashamed.
I’m ashamed because I can no longer tell if opening myself to one more chance is a sign of strength… or weakness.
I believe in forgiveness.
I believe that faith and trust and forgiveness are given even more than they are earned. I believe that deciding to trust or not to trust is a decision about whether or not you believe that you can handle that trust being broken.
I want to have that everlasting hope. I want to be the person who can continually turn the cheek, over and over and over again, because we all deserve a bottomless well of chances.
I don’t know how to close a door and say “No. More.”
And yet, what?
Maybe hope does not spring eternal? Maybe I simply am not strong enough to rip open the same wound over and over and over again?
WHY does this have to be about ME?
I don’t WANT this to be about ME and MY ability to trust and forgive and keep trying! I want to KNOW, for SURE, that this is The. Last. Time.
Can somebody please tell me that?
Can somebody please, please tell me what to do next?
“Do nothing,” she says again. “Give yourself time.”
I hate that answer.
I suck at doing nothing. I do nothing and think lots. I write it all out and turn it all over a million different ways and over and over and over again I turn it until the way is made clear to me.
Except… it’s not.
I know nothing.
I’m staring at 714 words and I am no less conflicted or torn up than I was 714 words earlier.
The only thing left to do… is nothing.
And pray that maybe, just maybe, something will come from it.