Worth Waiting For?
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Curves.
Am I the girl who waits forever? Or do people just think I will?
Itâ€™s true that in too many relationshipsâ€”with Â people, organizations, even my hometown Â churchâ€”I stayed too long. The other party left me Â long before I left it, but I donâ€™t like to give up on things and so I stuck it out, even when the other party had long since abandoned any sense of Â emotional support for me. When I commit to some- thing, itâ€™s generally for the long haul.
Iâ€™ve lived by the idea that I can wait a long time for something good. Sometimes, Â thatâ€™s been with wonderful results. Other times, Iâ€™ve Â waited a long time for some- thing good and the results have been that I just waited a long time.
Hence, I suppose it seems that I am the girl who waits forever, and all the while being blasted for being impatient. How ironic.
Right after I filed for divorce, I took a road trip to seeÂ my parents in Georgia and drove through the cemetery where my grandparents and great-grandparents and great- great-grandparents are buried. It must have been 95 degrees in the Â sun, Â but Â the Â beautiful Â Siberian Â husky Â that someone had dumped off dug out Â a Â cooler hole in the ground and waited for its owner to return. My Â parentsâ€™ health was too poor to worry about feeding a new pet when a Â hospital stay might get in the way. If Iâ€™d had a clue about my own future and a country home where she could run, the girls and I would have loaded that dog into our car and taken her home.
She was Â beautiful, Â special, Â and Â very Â different. Â How could anyone have thrown her away? And what did they ever do to inspire such loyalty?
In July, with a heat index of 115 or more, the dog was still there, Â and Â my divorce Â was lumbering Â along slowly and Â I Â wanted Â so Â badly Â toÂ Â take Â her Â home Â with Â us. Passersby Â still Â brought Â table Â scraps Â and Â dogÂ food Â and pans of water. Even if Iâ€™d had a home for the dog, she could Â not have been coaxed to leave her spot. She was waiting on someone whoâ€™d left her behind.
That Thanksgiving, Â my divorce had just wrapped up and when we visited my parents, the dog was still at the cemetery, Â then Â and Â again Â at Â Christmas, Â and Â when Â the weather turned bitterly cold. Still the dog would not leave. Still Â she Â waited, Â loyally, Â faithfully, Â for Â the Â person Â she loved to return and reclaim her.
They never did. I was told that someone else whoâ€™dÂ been Â feeding Â and Â water Â the Â dog Â daily Â for Â 8 Â months coaxed her to Â a Â new and loving home. I was glad. She waited a long time for the ones Â sheâ€™d loved to change their minds and come back for her. Had Â someone else not fallen in love with her, she would have waited forever or died right there.
Recently, I heard from an old boyfriend. Â When I say old, I mean Â from long, long ago. Someone Iâ€™d virtually forgotten about. He couldnâ€™t make a commitment but he didnâ€™t want Â to loseÂ me either, Â so he dangled Â me on a string for a Â long Â time and never did really end the relationship. I waited for him to make up his mind, to come back, to figure out his own problems. Now, after all this time, he hasâ€¦sortaâ€¦and so heâ€™s contacted me out of the blue.
Heâ€™d like to take up where we left off, but with the same Â relationship. Â Thatâ€™s Â right. Â Non-committal. Â Interested in my life only when heâ€™s ready to be and then off again. He always thought Iâ€™d wait for Â him and that Iâ€™d wait forever. And that Iâ€™m still willing to wait forever. He always thought Iâ€™d be the one he could depend on when everything else turned to crap. He thought Iâ€™d always be there.
He thought I was the girl who would wait forever. During all these Â years, Iâ€™ve gone ahead and lived my life, largely with other people who thought Iâ€™d wait for- ever for whatever crumbs they were willing to give, but I suppose thatâ€™s part of a Â pattern. So this man whoâ€™s not been part of my life for such a very long Â time pops up when itâ€™s convenient for him and wants me to drop everything in my life to take up where he left off.
And heâ€™s Â hurt. Â Heâ€™sâ€¦angry. Â Yes, Â heâ€™s Â livid. Â In Â allÂ those years that passed, he excluded me from his life and now he wants me in his life. On his terms. And heâ€™s furious at me for saying no. Heâ€™s hurt that I didnâ€™t wait.
All this time, heâ€™s carried me in his heart as his goodÂ olâ€™ reliable Lorna, always out here somewhere, Â willing to be there for him when the Prodigal boyfriend returned.
When people walk out of your life and return a weekÂ later, you may be a bit bruised, but you havenâ€™t changed that drastically. Â When they return a month or two later, more Â changesÂ Â haveÂ Â takenÂ Â place.Â Â ChangesÂ Â in Â them, changes they donâ€™t realize. And changes in you that they donâ€™t realize. To them, youâ€™re still the same person, no matter how many years pass. To him, I was still the girl who would wait forever.
Iâ€™m not sure where the point of no return is, the point where I stop waiting for someone to work through their issues. I suppose it has to do Â with the circumstances of the Â separation Â more Â than Â anything Â else. Â And Â whether trust Â has Â been Â irrevocably Â broken. Â And Â whether Â they come Â back to me just because Iâ€™m warm and fuzzy and reliable or whether they just want to be with me and al- ways have.
I can wait a long time for something Â really Â special. And Iâ€™m not the girl who waits forever either.
But Iâ€™m the girl worth waiting for.