I had no idea what love really was. My one relationship, if you could call it a relationship, had been such a failure I had seldom dated afterward. I had thought that was love, had actually believed we were going to get married and live happily ever after. The truth turned out to be too humiliating to handle.
It had begun the year my mother passed away. I had been 28 at the time, still deeply affected by my mother’s death even though 7 months had passed. I had barely left my apartment except to work. My friends had been concerned about me, but I told them I needed time to deal with my loss. She had been my best friend, my biggest supporter, and I felt lost without her.
At the time, I was working for a law firm as a receptionist and a man had come into the office for a meeting. As he waited he’d leaned against my desk chatting with me. It wasn’t until a coworker returned from showing him into the conference room bubbling with excitement that I even considered his conversation might be something more than a way to kill time.
Before he left he once again stopped in front of me, this time to invite me for a drink after work. I was flattered but also flustered. He was clearly a successful older man. What could he possibly see in me? But with my coworker nodding her head exaggeratedly behind him it was difficult to say no.
That night began what I thought was a romantic love affair. It turned out he was a businessman with dealings all over the world. He had homes in several countries, and rarely spent long in any one place. But over the almost 2 years we were together we would spend virtually every night he was in town in his magnificent penthouse apartment overlooking the city.
I had been so sure he had been in love with me. He brought me lavish gifts from his travels and emailed me often when he was away. It had been a complete shock the night I’d received the phone call, the anonymous woman on the other end of the line telling me to leave her husband alone.
I refused to believe what she had implied, but after some internet searching I found a Facebook page that was hard to refute. When I confronted him about it he didn’t deny it, didn’t even have the decency to apologize. I had been heartbroken.
Because of this, I had an abiding distrust of men and relationships. I avoided becoming romantically entangled with anyone, which is why what had happened with Clay had been so surprising. Surely now that I was approaching 40 my judgement had improved. Hadn’t it?
This post is in response to the daily writing prompts Abiding and is part of something longer I am working on.
This post is a part of the story about the ex and comes after What Did He Say in the Letter?