Written by: Jill Fiore
This is a story of heartbreak, and healing. I interviewed an amazing woman and human being, who though running the risk of ‘getting in trouble’ for sharing it, has chosen to do so anonymously so others may benefit from a reminder that though your heart truly does ache when it is broken, it also mends, and you survive.
I was sitting in my office. A man walked into the room. I was playing a song. A very obscure recording.
He asked “is that so and so?”
“Yes” I said.
He nodded, and left. That was that.
One year later on a very busy day, he reappeared. We exchanged a simple hello. He was a client for years. I knew he was married, I remember seeing him with his family. Even then I thought to myself “I’d like to be with a man like that,” I was happy for him, knowing he had a wonderful family.
I received a message from him on Facebook within the next few days. All of sudden, I was so resourceful and smart in my immediate response. It was like I was waiting for someone like that to come into my life to start a real conversation with. Soon things went to email. Then to emailing often.
Next came an invitation to his house. His family was away, but this was not an invitation to his bed. It was an invitation to talk. It was like being reunited with someone I hadn’t seen in years. We had gifts for each other, his were hand made. I was nervous and shaking, but it was familiar. It was as if he knew how I lived, and I knew how he lived. I had no idea how we knew each other so well already, but this man was my home.
We had a relationship, and it was a happy one. I met his family, his wife. She was very loving to me. An interesting and powerful woman who really gets him, and in my honest opinion, the right woman for him. I was happy. Oddly, I felt like I was in the right place.
We were not having a sexual relationship, but an intimate one. We would lie next to each other, fully clothed, talking for hours. One night, we were talking about love, the people we’ve loved and the last person we loved….that’s when he said, of course, his wife. I was shot with a bolt of lighting, the reality of exactly how wrong this was, and I got up to run.
He didn’t let me go. He never let me go when I tried to. He also said he’d never leave his wife. I heard this, and I wasn’t going anywhere. It was painful to leave him, but it was painful to be with him.
We became lovers. We traveled together. I met his friends and though we didn’t act as if we were together, everyone knew, we were in love. Everything was ‘right’ in that we were meant to be together, sadly, we knew it would eventually have to end.
Two years later, the day came. I knew he was coming to say goodbye. I always thought I was going to be the one who would finally let him go. We took a walk and he told me….”it’s time.” After trying to let go many times, but never truly being able to, I didn’t believe it. I thought, ‘here’s another spiral of our relationship and him not letting me go that easily. ‘ But this time, he did.
I crashed. I cried every day. I couldn’t even look at my own child, the person I loved most in my life. All of a sudden, I hated him. Because I hated myself. Everything was wrong with me, and anything I produced, created, or had anything to do with was bad. I was so cynical. I didn’t want friendship, or comfort, and turned into a nasty old woman who despised everyone overnight.
I went to an event with my friend who got me out of the house, when I publicly broke down. I wanted to leave and she insisted “I’m leaving with you. Just wait here in lobby, let me get my stuff, and I’ll be right back.”
I couldn’t walk. I was completely indifferent and weak. I gave up, I thought ‘take me home and then leave me alone.’
Another woman came up to me and informed me that my friend asked she sit with me while I wait. A woman walking the streets of midtown Manhattan at night bawling hysterically is not exactly the safest of ventures. I appreciated my friend’s efforts to protect me, but I had no interest in making conversation.
“I see that you’ve been crying,” she commented. I said nothing back.
“Was he married?” she asked. I was startled by her instinctive awareness, but I still said nothing in return.
She went on…..”You know, when my husband left me, I was in pieces. I cried and cried. I couldn’t stop crying. I had two small children at the time and I still couldn’t pull myself together. Then I started counting days. You know what? I cried for 100 days. That was it. I stopped crying and started living my life again.”
I listened to her. A total stranger making so much sense to me. She knew what she was talking about, she felt what I had been feeling, and she was happy again. I thought to myself, “wait, there’s life after this?”
I got on the F train by myself for a long ride home. I was not crying. The thought stuck with me, “100 days, 100 days, 100 days.” I started counting backyards. I was shocked with what I discovered. It was exactly the 100th day since we had said goodbye. I had been crying for 100 days. The coincidence had a profound effect on me.
I looked at the strange and comforting faces of my fellow subway riders, thinking of how a total stranger had just impacted my life. It made me realize I was not in a maze of dead end after dead end. She found the secret door and opened it. I can do the same. Then I did something to start the counter over again back at day one. I smiled.