She supposed that it had something to do with the fact that when the divorce papers finally arrived, she felt as if a little part of her had died. That initial anger she felt had turned to sadness, and now it had become something else, almost a dullness of sorts. Even though she was constantly in motion, it seemed as if nothing special ever happened to her anymore. Each day seemed exactly like the last, and she had trouble differentiating among them. One time, about a year ago, she sat at her desk for fifteen minutes trying to remember the last spontaneous thing she'd done. She couldn't think of anything.
The first few months had been hard on her. By then the anger had subsided and she didn't feel the urge to lash out at David and make him pay for what he had done. All she could do was feel sorry for herself. Even having Kevin around all the time did nothing to change the fact that she felt absolutely alone in the world. There was a short time when she couldn't sleep for more than a few hours a night, and now and then when she was at work, she would leave her desk and go sit in her car to cry for a while.
Now, with three, years gone by, she honestly didn't know if she would ever love someone again the way she had loved David. When David showed up at her sorority party at the beginning of her junior year, one look was all it took for her to know she wanted to be with him. Her young love had seemed so overwhelming, so powerful then. She would stay awake thinking about him as she lay in her bed, and when she walked across campus, she smiled so often that other people would smile back whenever they saw her.
But love like that doesn't last, at least that's what she found out. Over the years, a different kind of marriage emerged. She and David grew up, and apart. It became hard to remember the things that had first drawn them to each other. Looking back, Theresa felt that David become a different person altogether, although she couldn't pinpoint the moment when it all began to change. But anything can happen when the flame of a relationship goes out, and for him, it did. A chance meeting at a video store, a conversation that led to lunch and eventually to hotels throughout the greater Boston area.
The unfair thing about the whole situation was that she still missed him sometimes, or rather the good parts about him. Being married to David was comfortable, like a bed she'd slept in for years. She had been used to having another person around, just to talk to or listen. She had gotten used to waking up to the smell of brewing coffee in the morning, and she missed having another adult presence in the apartment. She missed a lot of things, but most of all she missed the intimacy that came from holding and whispering to another behind closed doors.
Kevin wasn't old enough to understand this yet, and though she loved him deeply, it wasn't the same kind of love that she wanted right now. Her feeling for Kevin was a mother's love, probably the deepest, most holy love there is. Even now she liked to go into his room after he was asleep and sit on his bed just to look at him. Kevin always looked so peaceful, so beautiful, with his head on the pillow and the covers piled up around him. In the daytime he seemed to be constantly on the go, but at night his still, sleeping figure always brought back the feelings she'd had when he was still a baby. Yet even those wonderful feelings didn't change the fact that once she left his room, she would go downstairs and have a glass of wine with only Harvey the cat to keep her company.
She still dreamed about falling in love with someone, of having someone take her in his arms and make her feel she was the only one who mattered. But it was hard, if not impossible, to meet someone decent these days. Most of the men she knew in their thirties were already married, and the ones that were divorced seemed to be looking for someone younger whom they could somehow mold into exactly what they wanted. That left older men, and even though she thought she could fall in love with someone older, she had her son to worry about. She wanted a man who would treat Kevin the way he should be treated, not simply as the unwanted by-product of someone he desired. But the reality was that older men usually had older children; few welcomed the trials of raising an adolescent male in the 1990s. "I've already done my job" a date had once informed her curtly. That had been the end of that relationship.
Copyright © Nicolas Sparks. Reproduced with the permission of the publisher Warner Books. All rights reserved.
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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