Tonight I attend a small meeting, of alcoholics and addicts. I hadn’t intended on staying – I was picking up some information to help with the local community – but my heart softened and I told my husband to come back for me. I mean… this room, these people, they raised me. I gotta stay.
So Ralph picks me up an hour later and we head off in the car for a household errand. In the sunshine in his busted-ass BMW, feeling content, I laugh and say to him, “Why don’t I trust men?” He laughs along with me and says, “I don’t know, maybe something happened [in your life] to make you feel that way.”
I tell him I’m thinking about the men in the meeting. I say, “I was going to get a ride from one of them so you didn’t have to get me – but out of all of them there’s only one I’d trust to ask. And even him -” I see-saw my hand a bit. He knows what I mean, though. I don’t know these men. I know how many men have treated me my whole life, how some of them treat me today. I don’t mind avoiding their company, keeping it social, not spending a lot of one-on-one time.
But we’re standing in line and he says something then I tell him, I say it right as I am realizing it: “No man has hurt me more than you.” He smiles but he flinches a bit. Because he and I know it’s true. It’s so painful that it’s true. But there it is. And even as I say it I reach for his hand because I love him so, so much. We’ve been through so very much. I’ve forgiven him entirely. I wonder if he feels the same. It doesn’t matter. I can feel his hand in mind; precious to me, his beautiful hands, rough to the touch, expressive and tender.
There’s a love there that is unlike anything I’ve known. I’d never give him up and I think he feels the same. He is my best defender and my best friend and the strongest man I’ve met. I don’t think I’d stay with anyone less.