You are invited to watch this chapter unfold step by step as the editing process shapes this story.
Those that long for clarity might try to find it by meditating, listening to music, or by talking it out with others. Many do so with the expectation that once they have this clarity, all will be well—the clouds will part and they will walk softly on top of a sea of tranquility, armed with a peace and deep wisdom that they can impart to the less fortunate, confused masses around them.
But in the real world, clarity is merely a clearly defined perspective on a situation. And as the realization sets in that no one ever promised to hand over clarity on a satin pillow with a complimentary chocolate, and that sometimes it comes with a side of heartache and confusion, we are forced to keep going, with our newfound perspective, in a reality that is constantly moving forward toward the next life lesson.
After her birthday, Savannah waffled through each day as if she were tranquilized. Her fire, her passion for life had been extinguished and her relationship was snuffed out with one swift shot to her heart. He doesn’t want to marry me. Suddenly, the girl who preached truth, who usually doled it out in brutal handfuls without apology, had been struck down and stung by its directness.
She licked her wounds in a broody husk, with a tongue scarred by statements she herself had made in the beginning, when Dwayne asked, and asked, and asked her for the last time to marry him. Until Savannah finally shut him down. I don’t want to get married now, Dwayne. I need to see how I feel. I’ll get there. Be patient, Dwayne.
She worked, completed task lists, and went about her business as if her darker self was not sitting on her shoulder. It nudged her, it reminded her, he doesn’t want to marry you, every time she let go of what had happened. Every time she dared to smile or laugh. As if it were not enough that her dead daughter was on her other shoulder whispering, I’m dead, whenever Savannah felt as if she might live again.
Then one Sunday afternoon, when they were both off from work, Dwayne took her by surprise. “Savannah, you’re going food shopping, right? I’m coming with you.” It was an unusual request, she usually shopped alone or with Aaron, but the appeal perked up one piece of her desperate soul. The one piece that had been clinging to the hope that it might love fully again, the one fragment that hadn’t been mangled in the absence of four words she now knew she’d never hear.
Although the tension should have eased after their shared dream and after her birthday dinner, because she was hurt, Savannah withdrew from Dwayne and crawled back into the fortress she had built after the miscarriage. She crawled back into four walls of avoidance that would have kept her safe if not for the cracks that allowed self-pity and rejection to seep in.
The voices in her head tormented her with what she believed to be the truth. Except for pleasantries she and Dwayne exchanged between working and sleeping, and those voices, it was silent in their house.
Savannah had forgotten how to converse. She had no good answer to what he had just proposed. Instead, she jumped, and two coupons fell. Her stomach flipped several times, and her hands shook, even though they should have been weighed down by nervous sweat that coated her palms. For a second, Savannah was transported back to the beginning, to the newness of them as a couple, when his voice had the power to make her feel grateful for every conversation. When his attention made her tremble the way she was trembling now.
She bent to pick up the coupons. Savannah believed they held more value in the world than she did. One dollar off for laundry detergent and one dollar off of three of Dwayne’s favorite cereals—both offers represented money, tiny slips of paper that were worshipped by bargain shoppers.
She looked up at the man who had once professed himself love on larger pieces of paper. In love notes that had impacted her destiny more than the coupons she was organizing ever would. Savannah had become a person who poured her effort and energy into meaningless tasks even though deep down she knew that one honest love note or one grand gesture in which she shared her truths could’ve saved them.
Dwayne’s expression revealed nothing but patient expectation. She knew he was waiting for an answer from someone who was afraid to want or feel anything. “Yes I am. Wait. You want to come? Why?”
Dwayne beckoned her with one finger. When she stood up and inched over to him, he gathered her into his arms and smiled down at her. His eyes were the same deep, warm brown that she had always gotten lost in. Not this time. Savannah turned her head away and leaned her cheek on his chest.
He doesn’t want to marry me.
The thought came and went like a fast car on a busy highway, carrying her a safe distance from his touch. It was only eleven thirty in the morning and that phrase had already saved her from succumbing to her feelings at least a million times.
“We need some time together Sweetheart.” Dwayne kissed the top of her head. “And I need to make sure you get enough Hi-C. You know how I love my Hi-C!”
Savannah kept her cheek on his chest. She was sure that if she looked up, he’d be grinning down at her. His smile could break down the walls she knew she needed to survive.
He didn’t ask me to marry him when he should have.
She ignored the stabbing pain in her chest. As he stroked her hair, Savannah lifted herself from his arms. She landed back in the wedding that had helped her realize how important this man had become in such a short amount of time.
As the edits continue, there will be more Chapter 4 to read.
Have you started Chapter 1 yet?
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