It started again. I don’t think it’ll ever go away. The explosion of loneliness ignited when the weekend comes. Even during COVID when days tend to blend together, loneliness hits me more on Friday and Saturday nights. The reason is obvious. Those were Peter and me nights. Even if we didn’t go anywhere, do anything, these were the nights were we sat in the backyard, took a walk, went out for dinner, or snuggled in front of the television, just him and me.
When the kids were small and already went to bed, we would talk or not talk for hours, in the comfort of one another. It was our time, our kid-free time. It was our time to reconnect, finish a fight, tell each what was going on, and touch. Oh, how we needed to touch. Oh, how I miss his touch and the feel of him.
Someone told me recently Peter and I had destiny. We were connected in ways many couples never were, and, even though it was cut short, it was an intense, deep connection. She even suggested we had past lives together and she thought we will again meet in another life, if you believe in such things – verdict is still out for me. What I do know, there was a destiny to us because I do believe in such thing. I lived such a thing.
When Peter and I first met playing volleyball, there was an instant comfort between us. I was still into the unattainable bad boys, or men who walked off cologne ads. Peter was neither of those things. He was attractive. He even grew sexy to me, but his sexiness was based on his crooked smile that made the butterflies dance in my belly, and the way he spoke – softly that made me lean in to get a whiff of him – and how he knew so much about so much that made me want to learn more. There was how he fathered and his faithfulness of a husband that made me sigh in delight. And there was our physicality which made me want more of him, all of him. But these all grew with time. Initially, I thought of him as a great guy who I wanted nothing to do with because I knew, I knew, we were going to be together for the rest of our lives. What I didn’t know was the rest of his life would be so suddenly cut short.
I dated him for about six weeks before the fear of knowing our future, our destiny, had me breaking up with him. I was a young twenty-five year old living the second year on my own. I didn’t want commitment, let alone marriage which is where I saw us going toward. So, I had to flee. Fear and panic pushed me in a run away from him and I knew, I needed to end it.
Oh, I wasn’t really kind about it. After he went for shoes and a pair of dress slacks for a wedding I invited him to, I told him two days before the wedding, over the phone yet, ‘it wasn’t working out for me’. I didn’t even over-explain as I often did when faced with leaving a difficult situation.I was all prepared for the ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ speech. It never came. Instead with an “okay”, in his quiet, gentle way, and then a ‘good-bye’ the conversation was done. I wanted to feel relieved afterward. I even thought I would feel what-the-hell-did-I-do. All I felt was, I’ll see him again. And I did.
A year and a half later, through my sister and Peter’s search for a female volleyball player on a Park District team he was on, we met up again. Let me say, my sister was the first one to say aloud what I already knew – he was good for me…we made a great couple. Anyway, we started dating again, and by the second date for the second time, I didn’t want to leave him, ever again. This was it. I would fight for it if I had to because I wanted it. We grew up during our time away. I grew up. This time around, it was going to happen.
And yes, along the way the second time, we faced our challenges, the biggest one a seven month long distance relationship. His job sent him to Portland for over a half a year, time spent without cellphones, or facetime, or zoom, or any of that. Just phone calls and letters – letters he kept and I found a few weeks after he died, letters I wrote more of because even in the written word, he was stingy with words. He would try to fly back every other weekend – another reminder of the importance of weekend for us – and I went out there once, but it was a hard, strange time in our relationship. There was also a pregnancy scare thrown in during his Portland months that made him question our future and had me knowing I am not giving up this time.
Then, he came home. Then, we moved in together. Then, we got married. Then, our life unfolded as I felt it always would. When our worlds became hectic during the week with Peter taking classes, doing community service, and working well into the evening, and my week nights became filled with the kids’ needs, different community obligations, PTA meetings, and, later working my own late hours, we always had the weekends. The connection we held onto when we were apart, came together on a Friday night with a bottle of beer and talking by a bonfire long after the kids went to bed. Or a Saturday night snuggling up against each other on the couch while we watched a movie. We even had thrown in some date nights on weekends. Not many because we didn’t need to go out to reconnect. We reconnected in the comfort of our home, a place we wanted to stay after all the crazies of the week.
And now, I feel an agony from the emptiness without him on each passing weekend. The night hits and a burn rips through me like acid to my heart. I ache so much I barely see the possibilities of a new tomorrow through my tears. It destroys me to be alone on the weekend nights. So, like last night, I go to bed early on weekend nights. I need to put the night behind me and move toward tomorrow. I went to bed at eight thirty on a Saturday night with the day’s light still streaming through the bedroom window. The summer night may have wanted to cling to the day, but I needed to release it. It had to go so my pain will leave.
It’s Sunday morning as I write this. My daughter will be coming in as we, all of us, my son, her, me, all face down the year mark without Peter in a few days. I told my kids not to expect me to hold together. I can’t. Not this time. Not for them. Not for me. And I’m not sure how these next few days will look. I don’t know how I will feel being reminded my destiny with Peter died a year ago. I don’t know how I will be knowing I made it a year without him. I may feel pride in myself. And I may feel beaten down because I have a whole lifetime left of this shit. What I do know, these days ahead will be a helluva lot worse than any weekend nights I lived through. But I have lived through them. I will continue to live through. There is not Option B.