And So I Wait

I know it rarely pays to ponder the what ifs, even though we all, at one time in our lives or another, do it. I went to see Joe today as is my usual routine. We celebrated Christmas as a family on Christmas Eve so I was still able to go see Joe even though Christmas fell on Sunday. I know I  haven’t updated on him lately but there hasn’t been much to update. He hasn’t really changed at all. Except he did scratch his nose last week and it was completely voluntary. He wanted to scratch it and then he did.  It seems like something so small to most, I’m sure, but it was an amazing and happy, hopeful moment for me because he hasn’t voluntarily moved much at all. But I guess at the moment, that is beside the point. What is the point is that Joe’s brother, Michael, calls me every Sunday after my visit to see how Joe is and get an update. So we were talking on my way home today and he  was saying that he couldn’t believe that I was still making a trip every Sunday and that he appreciated me being there for him. And then I told him that I love his brother and of course I would be there for both of them. Then he said if I’ve always loved his brother the way I love him now, why didn’t I do something about it back then? And that is literally all I’ve been thinking about for hours. Why didn’t I do something about it earlier? I could have at first. Immediately. The moment I knew I loved him which was basically the moment I laid eyes on him, I could have done something, but I didn’t because I was married and that wouldn’t have been right, for anyone involved. I could have done something later when we wound up back in each other’s lives again, but I didn’t. We were young. He still had wild oats to sow. And I’ve never been much of a chaser or a stayer. I’ve always been more of a walk away-er, a runner. So that’s what I did, like a wounded animal, I walked away, ran,  even though I didn’t want to. And then after that our paths never crossed again in the free world. And you don’t profess your undying love and devotion to a man who is serving a 35 year sentence. Because I’m also not a person who makes promises I’m not willing to keep and it seemed unfair to make any promises. So we became friends. Best friends. And now, when I go see him, we know each other so well, it’s as if we can have a conversation even though I’m doing most of the talking. I know it sounds bizarre. Even as I type it, I think, If I were reading this from someone else, I would think they were coo coo, but when I’m sitting in that room with him everything makes sense. And then I start again on the what ifs. What if I had been a chaser instead of a runner, what if I had been one of those women who say, “I’m not going anywhere until you either love me or hate me!” But I know there’s no point in what ifs. There’s only the  what nows. So here I am praying daily for some sort of miracle, a do-over, a chance to be a stayer and not a runner.

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