The leaves fall elegantly around me, making no noise; still theirs is the voice I hear over the gushing river. Twirling and dancing as they float for one last time in the October air before coming to their beautiful end, they seem to whisper in my ear, “Beautiful endings also mean new beginnings”.
And I do want to believe them but I keep questioning how endings can be beautiful? How can the feelings that engulf me right now as I end my relationship with you can be called beautiful or anything even remotely close to it? I feel torn, lost, shattered, and most of all guilty from within. Yes, guilty because it was my decision to walk away from you, and yet with each step I take I shudder.
I shudder at the thought of spending the coming winters alone, with you not being around to cuddle me, to take my hand in yours to rub them warm, to light the fire. Yes, we were in love and I still am, but you will realize too, as I did, that within the comforts of the known we were hiding our true selves. Each day creating better versions of the people that we wanted to see of each other. We were holding ourselves back from dreaming our own dreams, making our own lives, being our true selves, being happy.
Remember the many times I told you I was unhappy. We would go take a stroll at the beach, eat chocolate ice cream, watch re runs of our favorite TV show and try to find happiness everywhere except within us. It hit me then, one day while reading a book that ironically you had gifted me, that I need to choose me to choose happiness.
“They wanted happiness without knowing what it was, or where to look, which made them want it all the more.”
~Tim O’Brien, In the Lake of the Woods
Loving you, I realized, shouldn’t make me vulnerable; it should make me strong. The younger, more ambitious, version of me wouldn’t have said no to the dream job in the big city. I had worked my way to get there. Then why was I at crossroads when a decision had to be made. I had looked into your eyes and seen doubt, questioning me whether this was what I really wanted. I foolishly mistook your eyes to say I love you, and I fell yet again. Compromised.
I know it sounded cliché, when I said it wasn’t you but me. But it is true. Before juggling the many roles of a woman, being the perfect daughter, wife, daughter-in-law, mother, friend, I need to discover myself.
And believe me, saying goodbye to your walking back was the hardest thing I have ever done. It was like shedding a part of me, and I look at these trees shedding the leaves so effortlessly and wonder how they do it, season after season. Surely, there is a promise of a better tomorrow? And with that hope, that faith, that there is a hidden beauty in this ending, I say goodbye.