As a blogger, one never really knows how any post will turn out. How it will be received, nor what the feedback will be. The Groundhog Day post turned out to be one of my best ever. Not because of what I wrote. I was very underwhelmed by my writing on that post and by my choice of days. But because of all the interesting and amazing memories that so many of you shared. Some in the comments and some on your own blogs. If you haven't read the comments to that post, I would encourage you to do so. Again, thank you all for your comments.
More than one of you decided to take a different angle on the post, choosing to pick a day, perhaps that you have regrets about, that you would like to relive until you get it right. That made the comments even more interesting. And, it caused me to consider what my day to relive until I got it right would be. Not sure if this is it. But this is one.
It was our last night together. A Friday night in June. We had planned to go out to eat and she had driven. As I did too often in that last year, I found some reason to be in a bad mood. To start an argument. If there wasn't a reason, I would make up one. We had gone to eat, but we never made it to the restaurant. She missed a turn. I had pretended to be asleep, then pretended to wake up. I asked where she was going. Then acted angry that she had missed the turn. I had no idea that this would be our last fight for no reason.
She decided just to drive back home without eating. We hardly spoke the whole way, nearly an hour drive. There seemed to be tension mounting, begging for a word to be spoken. Looking back now, I guess it was already over. But I didn't have a clue. I was probably waiting for her to apologize to me. Expecting at any moment that she would beg me not to be angry. What did I hope to accomplish with these senseless games? I guess I could blame it on immaturity, but that seems too easy. Sometimes we get exactly what we deserve.
To prolong the awkwardness of the drive home, we got stopped by a train. I did not think it at the time, but after we were over I always wondered if that train was sent at that time to stop us and give us one more chance to work things out. I would like to think that. But I guess it does not really matter. The train crossed, and we continued. Still not speaking. Why could I not simply utter the words "I'm sorry." It might have changed everything. Maybe not. Of course, I'll never know.
I do not remember much else about the drive home. I remember a particular song that was on the radio. And everytime I hear that song to this day, I think about that night. I remember not speaking much. And I remember the train. Anything else that happened has been forgotten by me and lost in time.
When we got to my apartment, instead of parking, she just stopped to let me out and did not turn off her car. We did not kiss. We did not hug. I think maybe we said goodbye. I was still angry. But if I had known this would be the last night we would be together, I would not have been angry. I would have been sad. And I would not have left the car. I would have done everything I could to make things right. And maybe if I had done that then, she would be here now, and I would not be writing this.
I did not hear from her again until Sunday night. A day or two later, she gave me back my ring. I still have it. A heart-shaped diamond solitaire that once represented abundant, seemingly unstoppable love. But now serves only as a bittersweet reminder of something that I lost. I'm not sure why I keep it.
Although it's basically no consolation at all, I learned a lot from what happened. Love is a gift and a blessing above all others. Not something to be treated carelessly. I no longer look for reasons to argue. I hate arguing at all. I don't see how anyone could cause hurt to someone he loves so deeply, even though I did it. I don't see how anyone could bring tears of sadness and hurt to a lover's eyes. I try and treat every heart with the extreme care and love it deserves. I still mess up. But I'm better now. Because of what happened with her.
I still cross those same train tracks at least a couple of times a week now. It never fails to bring back at least a brief memory of that night. It's a little haunting. A little sad. But sometimes, I smile. Because we had a lot of good memories. A lot more good than bad. And I like to remember the good.
I remember the first time that I got stopped by a train at those very tracks after we broke up. I did not smile that time. It was only sad. And I wished it was that night again. And that she was with me.
I think once a certain amount of damage has been done to a relationship, you can never get it back. Who knows exactly what that point is. Maybe it's different for everyone. But I think it exists. Once things get past a certain point, it's only a matter of time. Like a train that cannot be stopped.
But if I had only known that was to be our last night together, I would have surely found a way to stop that train.
"Remember me when you're out walking. When snow falls high outside your door. Late at night when you're not sleeping. And the moonlight falls across your floor. When I can't hurt you anymore..."