Full moon. High tide. Just before sunset, Sandra announces she needs to talk to me. There is a special note in her voice, a vibration, which informs me something big is coming. Pregnancy? Should not be possible with my vasectomy. An illness? Please no. An affair? Ok. I can deal with that. No, it is bigger than all that to my self-absorbed ego.
“It hurts me to tell you that I need to leave you,” she proclaims, somehow combining blunt honesty and complete compassion.
I take it on the chin, calmly, almost emotionlessly. I am a modern enlightened man. We spent the evening going over it all, reassuring each other that we still love each other and will remain friends and soul mates forever; and, at the same time convincing me of the finality of her decision that this is no mere expression of some frustration that can be remedied somehow.
There is no other guy. It is not that. There is just this realization that she is no longer finding fulfillment in being with me. She has been thinking about this for some time, a couple of years. She needs a new adventure. It is not that I am lacking anything; but rather that she is somehow lacking something not quite defined, but surely not available in the status quo, she explains. A forgivable lie on her part, designed to be gentle to my expected male sensibilities. I was clueless, totally unaware of her dissatisfaction. That probably explains much.
We sleep together. She holds me tight, like a mother holding a wounded child. How can I be losing her? She is so beautiful, so loving. My heart has been healed from previous wounds and has deliciously soared in her presence. My best years have been those I spent with her. She nourishes my soul. Now she is leaving. I cry my tears onto her breasts. She comforts me. I cling to her body, to her warmth. Drift into sleep.
The next day, she goes diving in her beloved sea and I spend the day in bed crying myself into exhaustion, waking from the glorious oblivion of dreamless sleep only to repeatedly go to the bathroom and cleanse, cleanse, cleanse; returning to bed to repeat the cycle of remorse, unconsciousness and waking to void multiple imagined poisons.
By sunset, when she returns, I am able to cook us a meal, drink a glass or two of wine and carry on the conversation, now down to the practicalities of changing residences, dividing up animals and stuff, money issues, etc. She’ll stay until the end of the month, sleep in my bed and tend to the chores. I am grateful for the small blessings, saddened by the mendacity of it all. It is over, but lingers, like a too sweet dessert after the last bite.
My heart is broken. My mind is numb. My spirit is lost in despair. But I am unaware of any of that. In shock, I have resorted to what I imagine is the ‘proper’ routine… calm, logical, caring, respectful concern for her well-being. I am proud of myself. Stupid male new age ego in denial.
A week later, the anger surges and I explode at her. Fucking bitch, you hurt me. The next day, I am back to cool (maybe even cold), calm and collected, but aware now of my pain and resentment. I recognize that is a good thing; but it is not where I want to be. I want to be in love. I apologize for my unseemly behavior. A week later, I am in awe at her courage and composure, but still feeling sorry for myself. I am out of sorts, my normal resolute “I can handle anything’ attitude in suspension. I sit at my computer. My mind is blank. Nothing matters. Life has no meaning.
She finds a small apartment for me to move to one valley over and a small house for herself an island away. We no longer need this big house, and in any case, there would be the memories. We are both better off moving on by moving into new places with new beds and new options. I resentfully concur with her inevitably correct and practical decisions. The move and separation takes place. I pout inside with a pretend positive face on the outside.
A week after moving into my new apartment, at dawn, I climb to the top of a hill to watch the sunrise and it suddenly occurs to me that I am happier than I have ever been. Wow. Now that is a revelation. I’ve gone from utter despair to profound joy in a few weeks. And, I am suddenly enjoying my own company more than ever. There is, strangely, a great pleasure in the freedom I did not know I was missing. My spirit expands. I write her an email to say thank you. She cries, alone in an Internet café.
Time goes by. It takes some time to come to the realization that I am now a single man about town. My social life expands. I take on new routines. My work is invigorated. I get excited about Sandra’s new life and the adventures that lie before her. She is still my best buddy and my love for her compels me to understand that it is her happiness that is as important to me as is my own. I move into allowingness.
Some several days later, I lie floating in the sea at sunset, staring at the blushing clouds, and it occurs to me that this is something I have created with meticulous intention; and my recognition of Sandra’s purity and my gratitude to her for enacting what would never have occurred to me expands to fill my heart to the point of exploding. She is an angel for allowing this. Her courage is of warrior status. I love her more than ever; but it is time for me to get on with my life. I am reminded of the proven process of mastery… understand, forgive, be compassionate, be grateful, let go and go forward into a future of my own design. My lingering anger, resentment, self-pity and confusion dissolves like a cloud. I am free.
After my swim, I go for a sunset beer and Jimmy Cliff is singing, “I can see clearly now; the rain has gone.” God, it is all so incredibly wonderful, this miracle of being alive on planet earth. I remind myself of the purpose of my life, “Revere, Relish and Contribute”.
Thirteen years Sandra gave to me. We lived, played and worked together, 24 hours, 7 days a week, having been apart only 7 weeks in all that time. That is more actual time together than couples who have had a whole life together, but with careers and kids eating up the togetherness time. We created magic together. My name is famous, but it was her as much as me that made it so, selflessly supporting my dreams and ambitions.
Now I climb mountains at dawn, run sprints in the morning rain, swim at sunset, write new pages, am back in front of people teaching, am envisioning new business opportunities and enjoying the many wonders and sublime beauty of life, fully alive, due to, in so many ways, the gift that Sandra was to my life. None of this was ever gained from my previous relationships. It was not available and, more importantly, I was not ready to receive it even if it were to have been available.
Sandra continues to sail off into my sunset and her sunrise. She is currently in the Greek islands on some luxury yacht. Her adventures excite me. I am proud of her, happy for her. Her journey is awesome, as is mine, as is yours. Did you know that? I hope so.