PART 4 – IF I DO NOT RETURN

This is a serial about love and awakening. Previously: After a hot first date, a ski wreck keeps me from the second date with Billy. His anger while I’m recovering makes me dismiss him. Click here to start with Part One.

Billy showed up at my house the day before Valentine’s Day. It had been a month since my ski wreck, I was still black and blue, strapped in a brace and unable to sit up for more than 30 minutes without pain.

There’d been no communication for weeks and Billy was completely off my radar when a strange email arrived:

“Dear Sara. The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days, and, lest I should not be able to write you again, I feel impelled to write a few lines that may fall under your eye when I am no more. If I do not return, never forget how much I loved you. Nor that when my last breath escapes me, it will whisper your name.”

What the…?

It turned out to be a letter written by a soldier during the Civil War, who was going into battle and writing his wife Sara to say goodbye. At the end of the letter, Billy from Lone Tree, CO, wrote, “I’ll pick you up at 6 p.m. on February 13 and have you back home no later than midnight. Just send directions. Billy.”

I emailed back: “I must say I got scared till I figured out this letter was from someone else to someone else. You’re the romantic, that’s for certain. I’ve been feeling poorly, no energy, pain in shoulders and neck pretty constant, and not good news from dr. I see him again tomorrow for more xrays and news. Let’s talk after that, if you’d like.”

He shot back an email saying: Can’t you just say yes or no to a date without talking to a doctor? I’m offering you six hours of thinking about something other than yourself. I really don’t know if you can do that! You are not in the worst physical condition of anyone with a broken collar bone. Quit feeling sorry for yourself. Your life is nothing more than an outcome of all the decisions YOU have made, including tonight. I wanted to see you, I wanted to know you, before I heard your tepid, vague, inconclusive response. Do you always have to control with procrastination? Are you capable of answering a single question? Do you want to see me? Yes or No?

I was surprised at how enraged this email made me. I didn’t care about the man, I thought he was nuts, and presumptuous, and in need of anger management. There’s no way, I thought, any human being could respond to such an email other than saying “No,” which I did.

Then came the final email. “I’m sorry to learn of your decision but pleased you’ve made things clear. My email that offended you was not hostile, as you suggested. It was blunt and provocative. I would rather push you to hot or cold than linger forever in tepid. Since last November, you’ve been constantly making excuses, telling me:

Wait till I finish this article
Wait till I get back from California
Wait till after Christmas
Wait till my “friend” and ex-lover leaves
Wait till I am healed.

I didn’t like being left dangling as a remote possibility for you and didn’t want that any more.

I would have quit dating anyone else to explore our possibilities.
I would have cared for you after your injury.
I would have introduced you to my children.
Without any hostility, only disappointment and best wishes and a prayer for your healing and happiness, with love, Goodbye. Billy.

I should have left it at that. But I re-read his emails and thought, he does have a point. I did put him off for months before meeting him, then came the ski wreck and I put him off again.

TO BE CONTINUED

Please leave a comment. How would you react to Billy’s emails?
Just scroll down and click on “comments.”

This blog is based on a true story, but I’ve changed names and identifying details to protect privacy. I’ve also, in a few cases, compressed time or altered elements to serve the narrative.The title “Sex Love Enlightenment” is an homage to Mark Matousek’s book, Sex Death Enlightenment

 

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