It came upon her like the proverbial ton of bricks, and to further the cliche, it came out of nowhere.
She had been involved with him for 8 years. For the most part, their relationship was one of close friendship, but there were times when it deepened. There was no question of the feelings involved-at least not on her part. She had always been straightforward and sincere in her feelings. She had never been one to play games. She could not be coy. She did not know how to be anything other than what she was-open and honest. So there was no question he knew her feelings. He had expressed his own in such a way that left her with no doubts. Until that one ugly day.
Her telephone rang and, even though she had no reason to expect it, she felt a darkness about to smother her before she ever answered that telephone.
Twenty minutes later, she was on the floor, on her knees, sobbing so hard she could barely breathe. Out of nowhere, he had told her quite simply “thank you for your friendship. I have met someone else.”
She had a loud ringing in her head and she couldn’t stand. This was not the man she had always known. This was not the man who had expressed affection for her only a week or two before. He had been dishonest with here then…how long had he been so? How long had his “other” relationship been going on?
As time went on, she thought of so many things he had said in the past, so many of his actions and so many of her own. Had she truly been that blind?
Finally, she was able to calm her emotions enough to try and look at her situation with a more reasonable eye and a touch of logic. What she came to realize was that she had spent years of her life being in love with someone who did not exist. She was certain she had placed him on some sort of pedestal and he did not belong there. No one did.
She had held him in such high regard. She had respected him and admired him. She had been devoted and sincere and loyal to him. Even now, she looked for extenuating circumstances to explain his unusual behavior. But the fact was, he was not the man she had always thought him to be. That knowledge all by itself was the devastating blow.
She was sad that he had betrayed the trust they had seemed to share, of course, but to find out she had spent so long caring so deeply for someone who simply didn’t exist, tore her heart apart. It tore apart her trust and her faith in people. If he could turn out to be one who would turn so easily, what would strangers do? Was there such a thing anymore as trust and faith and loyalty? She doubted it. She questioned it. And with each doubt and question came one more step to loneliness.
Being alone does not make one lonely, that she knew from experience. It was having no one who cared for the simplest things she did or said that made her lonely. It was having something monumental to share-and having no one with whom she could share…no one who would sit and listen to what mattered to her or to what upset her and offer a consoling hand or a shoulder.
She knew lonely, now more than ever. It was this far side of loneliness that would define her now, she was certain.