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I wanted to talk with Mark, but he only sent short replies in response to my texts. I assumed he was upset with me for meeting with The Schmuck, or worse that he'd be rid of me forever--although he'd seemed supportive of my seeking closure in the past.
That night, I took my kids to get ice cream at a little diner.
The five of us took turns saying how each of our days had gone. My children smiled into their ice creams, and I kept realizing that I was missing the biggest joys of my life by focusing so much on men and tumultuous relationships.
"How was your day?" my oldest daughter asked me.
"Different," I admitted. And always being honest with my children, I added, "I went and saw The Schmuck."
My oldest daughters both nearly dropped their spoons into their desserts. All of my kids stared with big marbled eyes.
"Why? Why did you see him?" my son--who's only six--whispered.
"He wouldn't let go until I said goodbye. I think I needed to say goodbye too. Have you ever known someone so well, that if they just suddenly left, you wish you could tell them goodbye."
"Like my teacher..." My son nodded. "I'd say goodbye to her if she needed to leave."
My oldest daughter turned red. "Mama, I'll only say this once, but if you ever get back together with that jerk, I'll move in with Daddy."
"Because you deserve better. You deserve someone like... Someone like Mark."
We ate our ice creams in silence after that, all of us thinking about what had been said. Me wanting to say that Mark practically hated me, that he wasn't really responding to my texts, that maybe I'd gone too far.
Street lamps twinkled around us as we drove home. We read a chapter in "The Wizard of Oz," the part where Dorothy and her band of friends finally make it to the wizard only to find out they must first defeat a witch before their dreams can come true. I shut the book and wondered what I must do to achieve my dreams....
I sent Mark one more text before going to sleep, but he didn't respond again.
That night I struggled falling asleep, tossing and turning, staring at the screen of my phone, hoping for a response. When I finally fell asleep, I had a terrible nightmare, something I dreamed several times in previous years, something that was far more symbolic than I'd ever realized before.
To be continued HERE: One Man's Heaven is Another Man's Nightmare