Time eroded away at my life like water does with sand. I felt like I was standing on a beach and the water was pulling my life out from under my toes and washing it out to sea. I found myself wondering what was the matter with me – was I expecting too much out of life? I even questioned leaving The Beater – perhaps a life of being beaten every single day was what I deserved. Perhaps I really was a bad person that no one would ever be interested in or truly love. When I was growing up I never imagined in a thousand years that I would still be single in my 40’s. I would catch myself watching couples – especially happy couples - and my heart would ache. I would stare at their hands clasped together and imagine someone holding mine. I would unconsciously lean forward as they kissed; closing my eyes as I remembered what it was like. I smiled for the outside world, but every night, alone in my bed, I cried myself to sleep.
My friendship with Cid remained a friendship and I didn’t press him for more. I figured that if he was going to fall in love with me – he would have years ago. We spent every weekend doing something on one of the days and the rest of the week we talked on the phone. It wasn’t unusual for us to talk for a couple of hours a night or three and four times a day. My Mom had gotten use to his phone calls at work and had even turned to him many times for legal advice, especially since Dad had died. The employees all believed that Cid and I had ‘gone all the way’ and refused to believe me when I told them we were ‘just friends’. I would think about this in the small hours of the morning, and wonder why Cid had never progressed beyond the hugs and kisses we enjoyed. It made me question my ‘lovability’ even more.
One night as I sat in front of the fire, the phone rang and rang. I thought it was for my nephew and I let it ring for a bit before finally picking it up. Exasperated I said an abrupt “Hello?”
“Um….Hello. It’s me.”
“Is everything okay? Are you okay?”
“Yes – Everything is fine.”
“Wow. Okay then. Well – I never expected to hear from you again.”
“That’s why I’m calling. I made a mistake too.”
“What do you mean you made a mistake?”
“Well. You remember I said I had found someone else?”
“That was hard to forget.”
“Well, when I finally got together with Shadow Dancer --- all I could think of was you.”
“What do you mean by that?” My heart was pounding in my throat and I could hardly breathe by this point – in fact – I forgot about breathing for a bit as I waited for his answer.
“This is so hard for me to say. Shadow Dancer and I got together for a weekend like we did. She came to Ottawa and picked me up.”
I thought of my long drive to Ottawa and my heart clenched when I thought of Dragosani arranging another weekend with someone else. But how could I judge him?! I had done far worse with John, and I was incredibly ashamed about that. All I could say was, “Okay.”
“It was all a mistake, and I knew it.”
“How did Shadow Dancer take it?”
“She wasn’t happy about it – I can tell you that.” The silence stretched a bit as I let his words drift through my brain. “I told her that I was in love with you and that I had needed to find that out.”
My heart leaped up to the moon when I heard those words as tears ran down my face and caught in my smile. “Oh D!”