A Change in Me

            Last night my son’s father came to me and spoke words the wind and the stars had heard me pray every day for many years:
“I’ve been thinking about it for months… I want us to try and be together… I want to try and make it work”
Our family.
My dream, come true. “We could have another baby, not right away, but soon.”
He was speaking to an old part of my heart. That part that had been grown over by years of disappointment and loneliness, brought on by countless rejections and heartache.
Jared wanted us. He wanted me.
But in place of the elation I could remember from my old fantasies there was fear and sorrow. When I cleared the over growth and found that part of my heart he lived in I found it empty. He didn’t live there anymore. He’d left years ago and I’d moved on. The melancholy hurt. I felt I owed him more. How many times had I begged him, how many countless times had I sworn to him that I’d wait for him forever? Each time he’d remind me he didn’t love me and each time he’d leave me, he’d leave us, for private pursuits. With each good bye it seems he pulled a little bit of my hope and certainty away until that part of my heart that housed him couldn’t stay open for him anymore. It caved in and the pile it left was serving as a foundation for a new love I’d found, for a new stage of my life. Moss had grown over the stones, grass and flowers had sprouted, ants were moving in. It was lovely the way it was and I didn’t want to clear it away. It had become something more beautiful then anything I’d been able to dream.
I didn’t love him anymore.
Jared; this one man, the first man and I thought the only man I’d ever loved. I didn’t love him anymore. But how could that be?
What would I do without that love?
And how could I look at him and reject him?
His eyes are beautiful, so much like our son’s, brown, a warm and welcoming color. And his face is fair, easy to look at with his perfect nose and full lips (our son got those J). I could draw the tattoos on his arms and back from memory. And his smell: It crept into my nose awaking memories.
I thought he was so brave for coming to me. He was leaving himself vulnerable and open. And I was letting him down. My answer should have been “YES!” but yes wouldn’t come out. I didn’t feel the same. I have too much love for him to lie to him.
“Don’t you care for me?” He asked. “YES!” easily the answer came, “I LOVE you, I’m just not IN LOVE with you anymore”. Ironic. It was a phrase I stole from him. He’d said it to me one morning in my third month of pregnancy. “I love you, but I’m not in love with you.” I didn’t understand it then. “What the hell does that mean? ”, I’d thought.  LOVE ME! You love me, so why can’t you be in love with me? But he wasn’t. And he still isn’t. I asked him last night, “Do you love me? Are you in love with me Jared?”
“I could be, sure” he answered, “We just have to work on our trust issues.”
But that wasn’t good enough. Didn’t he get it? I wanted to be in love with someone who was in love with me. “Don’t you think I deserve to experience that?” I asked.
“Yes” he answered, “but why do you have to be like that, why do you have to play hard-ass?” It’s how I am and I know it’s difficult. I ask too many questions, I’m controlling and insecure. I could list everything bad about myself as accurately as he could, only difference is I accept those things about me and he doesn’t. It’s hard for me to trust. I stutter (literally as well as behaviorally) and I fight when I’m scared and unsure. But I need someone who believes in me despite all those things. Who doesn’t want a perfect woman, but who couldn’t live without me. I could believe in someone until my death and after. Can’t someone just believe in me?
The last thing I want to do is hurt him, but I’ve lost that feeling.
Will it come back? Could it come back? I don’t know. I feel so stupid for even hesitating because I’m not getting any younger, because I’m 33 years old and nobody else wants me and this seemed to be my chance to have a future with somebody who actually wanted me around, a chance for a family, my family, my son’s family, siblings that are whole siblings for my son. What was wrong with me? What had happened to me? Maybe I was just scared of love, afraid to be loved back? I’d grown used to being alone and used to being unloved and now somebody was reciprocating. Maybe I just couldn’t handle that.
But all this debate was silly. I knew what it was. And it wasn’t any of this.
I’d fallen out of love with him, simple. It wasn’t coming back because I’d moved on. At first I hated it, but once I embraced it, I started to like how being free felt. For two and a half years I’ve felt free, at least from Jared, which made my loneliness subside.
There is a deep sadness in me tonight. The one love I had is over and now it seems he doesn’t even want to talk with me.
I don’t know what to do. The last thing I’d want to do is hurt him. I care for him. He’s family, as often as he upsets me and pisses me off. But I can’t protect him from what he’s going through now. I’d let him hate me if he has to, if that’s what he needs.
I’m so sorry.
In my heart I feel he doesn’t really want me, he just wants someone. He’s been broken from his girlfriend for six months now. I’m the old fall back.
How many times, and for too many men, have I been the fall back. The girl they call when the girl they want isn’t available.
I’m so tired of it.
It takes a special pair of eyes to spot a diamond, especially before it’s been cut and shined. That’s me. A course, dirty little diamond that doesn’t know what to do with herself, but she does know who she is; now to let myself shine. I’ve yet to do that for myself. And so now I’m alone, still alone, and unwilling to settle for settling for an old dream that’s long been over.
I can’t turn back. Even though going forward means more solitude.
My heart is heavy tonight because my future is so uncertain. But my heart isn’t uncertain. I won’t lie to him and I can’t lie to myself. He’s not the one I love anymore and he has a right to know that.
He’s probably just lonely anyway. I’m making too much of this. But what a shock it was for him to come to me.
It was brave and I admire him for it.
Here, listen to this:
“There’s been a change in me,
A kind of moving on,
Though what I used to be,
I still depend upon.
For now I realize,
That good can come from bad.
That may not make me wise,
But O, it makes me glad.
And I, I never thought I’d leave behind,
My childhood dreams, but I don’t mind,
For now I love the world I see,
No change of heart,
A change in me” 
Broadway’s Beauty and the Beast
I always loved Belle, because she was a woman, not a little girl. She didn’t have a mother. She lived with her father more to take care of him then to be cared for by him. She was the woman of the house. At the end or her story she was the hero, she saved the day. She was no damsel in distress. She was brave, well read and whole.
In the end I haven’t changed at all. I’ve grown up and learned better how to handle all my wonderful and all my awful too. “No change of heart- a change in me.” And that change? Believing in myself.
Funny. So many people want to stay young forever. I like being grown up. So far I’ve found it hasn’t meant letting go of my dreams or ending my fantasies, but having the strength to make them come true or, sometimes, realizing you no longer want them to.

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