Tuesday, February 07, 2006

If I had only known

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..."


  1. "life is only as good as the memories we make"

    it's just a lyrics from a song that this post reminded me of, so i thought i'd comment and post it to ya

  2. And you said your writing was not so amazing.
    Bone, you amaze me with your writing almost everyday.
    I mean that more than you know.
    You are so open, so honest, so emotional in your writings. I don't even think you realize it.

    And your choice of songs to end this post with . . . you've got me teared up.

  3. Wow Bone. It's your best. Speechless.

  4. Leila: Hey, a new reader! Thanks for stopping by :)

    Meghan: You are too kind. Weird you mentioned the lyrics, because it wasn't until I was typing "when I can't hurt you anymore" that it kinda hit me, too.

    Pia: Thank you. Your comments mean a whole lot. Always.

  5. Anyway, now that I've stopped bawling about this post, I'm able to comment. I think you should write a book. Seriously! I know a particular someone that would benefit from reading this post. Although he would probably think it didn't apply to him. I guess that's the point to living and learning. The next girl that gets you will reap the benefits of your lesson learned.

  6. i agree. agree with them all. love reading your writing, a book, why not? you have so much to share and so many people can relate it seems..this one stopped me short..this idea, the idea of the last time you'll do x as a couple and never knowing its the last one of those you'll have..it makes you more careful, yet as you look back to the past don't you have to wonder why? or which one (situation) it was that broke the camel's back? i'm a huge believer in what's meant to be..but i also can't help but wonder if i'm not doing enough to make/help it be either..thank you.

  7. I keep coming to this post and find myself speechless every time I want to say something... This was amazingly moving... Anything I say just seems so feeble, but thank you so much for sharing...

    And as everyone else has shared... you Sir Bone, are talented (use it for more than this blog) you deserve the very best... in so many ways...

  8. I'm sorry I missed your Groundhog post. I'll have to go back and decide which day I'll live over. I've often thought about the things I would change. But then I realize that if I would have changed any one thing on the road I was on, my life wouldn't be what it is today. There are lots of good things about my life. I don't know if my life would be as good, bad, or better if I had changed those things. So, I just count myself lucky that I'm alive, happy, loved, employed, and the mother of two wonderful children. Sometimes I stop and say "what if" but those won't get me anywhere. So I say "wow, look at everything I've got" and I find it makes me happier.

  9. Bone- Relationships can always change. If you know how to contact she, and she is still available, and you want she...then just do it. If you are a different person, and she is, and you don't think you want her now, then the relationship and its turns, were meant to teach you about who you have always been, but had been clouded by immaturity. Like the heart-shaped diamond, still worth every penny, you were just surrounded by a few lumps of coal that through experience, you chipped away to shine brilliantly.

    I thought of taking this challenge. There are many days a "do-over" would have saved me from heartache. But I don't know that if I changed the whole day, or decision, a blessing wouldn't also be erased. See ny blog for details.

    It is a lucky girl who gets a man that is careful with her heart. Many girls will learn this truth through experience, just as you have learned to honor another's heart through yours.

  10. Wow. Your story really hits home with me. I completely understand the regret at hurting someone you love. My ex-boyfriend and I were together for four+ years, and some of our worst moments were spent in the car, in silent pain. We were always both too proud and stubborn to just simply say "I'm sorry."

    And, just as you so eloquently put it, we did reach that point of no return. But, painful as they were, those car rides and silent wars taught me more about life and love than anything else ever has. Just remember that every experience serves an important purpose in your life, and you are a better person for it.

    Thanks for the lovely post. It's good to know there are people like you out there.

  11. Carnealian: "I think you should write a book."

    That means a lot to me. I love writing. That means a whole lot. Thank you.

    AW: I ask myself a lot now, "Is this really worth losing someone over?" And almost always, it's not.

    OCG: Thanks, dear ;-) I've often read other's blogs and had that speechless feeling. To have people feel that way about something I wrote is very humbling.

    Lass: Yeah, I think the lesson learned is to live in the moment. But regret is human. And remembering is not bad, I don't think.

    Dorothy: I think we have both changed.

    I imagine most people would be hesitant to literally go back and change our life, if that was possible. But it makes for an interesting topic, I think. And saying "I wouldn't change anything" just isn't as fun ;-)

    Lauren: Another new commenter! Yeah, pride, foolish pride, can be a very bad thing. We learned from it. At least we have that. Thanks for the comment.

  12. Great post, Bone. Well written.

    Ah, what it would be worth to have the knowledge of the impact of such a seemingly small moment in time.

    But I think you're right too. At some point things are beyond repair, (often way before we are willing to recognize it). All we can do then is not lose the lesson.

  13. That was a great post.

    You're right - every relationship hits that point where too much damage has been done. I guess we'll have it all figured out when we can see we're approaching that point before we get there and can do something about - we can stop it from happening.

    It's good that you can remember the good times too. That's important.

  14. I know exactly what you mean. The day like the one you wrote about that I had caused me to move out of the state. It hurt too much to see the places we used to go, the people we knew, etc. I posted a response to your post today.

  15. ITA with everyone that your post was awesome...yet again.

    My thoughts on the She situation... She wasn't THE ONE, She was The Lesson. And you've learned it well. I saw in your comments where you are now asking yourself "Is this worth the relationship?" before blurting things out. And that is an important lesson.

    When THE ONE does come along for you, you are going to make that gal very happy. And you'll know that she is THE ONE because she'll make you very happy too.

    Of course that doesn't mean that everything will be all hunky dory forever, these things take continual work, but for the most part you'll be happy. :)

  16. Sir Bone,

    You are amazingly talented, don't ever let anybody tell you any different. This post hit me right in the heart and the soul. Thank you so very much for sharing. Truly inspired choice of lyrics to finish with.

  17. Tenacious One: Thank you. Great comment. Yeah, the thing about learning a lesson is to make sure you learn it, I guess.

    Lizzie: I wonder if that day will come, when I can see it before it happens.

    Audra: That's interesting. I have often thought of moving far away. Just because there's so much here to remind me every single day.

    Renee: Thanks for your thoughts. You're right. And if I had never gone thru that, I hate to say it, but I'd probably still be doing a lot of those same stupid things.

    Debby: Thank you. Wow. This is all very humbling. Oh, and I'm really digging this Sir Bone thing. Wonder if I could be knighted? lol

  18. Bone... I came across your blog through links on other blogs and I just wanted to add my two penneth....

    This is a simply amazing post.... having recently come to the end of an almost 5 year relationship reading it brought tears to my eyes and left me wishing I could have had that ride home... instead mine was a long distance relationship with long silences on phones and days without e-mails...

    I'm inspired by you to write something like this.. but my memories are twisted by bitterness and anger at the moment... maybe another time....