Everything in me tells me to run. Run far away, and try to forget.
Forget the pain. Forget the past. Forget him.
My knuckles are turning white, so I let go of the steering wheel and focus instead on trying to keep the tears inside my face. Composure is key, I try to tell myself, knowing that is just a lie. The last thing I want to do is go through those doors and face him, but there is nothing I want more than to have this behind me.
The guilt, torment, and sorrow hang heavy around my neck. I repented and prayed for forgiveness, but that necklace reminding me of my shame every time I look at my own reflection is a thick, heavy chain. And it hurts to wear every day.
Every link a different sin. Manipulation, control, physical gratification, selfishness, disrespect, dishonor… Anger. Bitterness. Lies…
Hot tears spill onto the clenched fists in my lap. Crap. I need to be strong!
No, you need to be weak. Let me be strong.
How can I even get the right words out? Nothing I say will be enough. With a failed engagement and tarnished purity between us, and most of it by my own doing, how can I stand before him and admit that in just a few months’ time, I had single handedly destroyed so much goodness in him that left his heart charred, bruised, broken, and trashed? Every word of accusation and disrespect that spewed from my mouth and every glare of disapproval and discouragement that left my eyes like a sharp sword had branded him like a hot, ugly iron. Every moment of red passion that I selfishly stole from him could not be returned.
Better that I turn around and leave. Let him hate me forever. I do not deserve what I am about to ask for.
No, you don’t deserve it. But it’s still the right thing to do. You will not regret this, I promise.
Isn’t His forgiveness enough? Is this really necessary? Shouldn’t I just try to forgive myself, forgive him, and move on? Yes, that would be so much easier.
Confess your sins to one another that you may be healed.
Healing… I want that, so badly. Even more than I want to run away.
Then it’s time.
Every step between my car and the front door feels longer and heavier than the one before it, and I am half a century older by the time I finally stand at the front desk, staring into his deep, brown eyes.
He is certainly bewildered by my presence after nearly two years of bitter separation, but he agrees to talk to me in private.
Fists shoved deep into my pockets, knees shaking uncontrollably, and my voice betraying every ounce of courage I struggle to muster up, I finally say it.
“I came here to tell you that I’m sorry.”
I can’t hold the tears back any more, so I quit trying. They flow down my cheeks and under my chin as the remorse pours out of my heart and through my mouth.
He is surprised, even humored at first, but his expression slowly hardens as he listens. Slowly even that melts away and the whites around his eyes turn red and shiny.
I cry and I talk until I am gutted out. The ugliness of my heart is before me, exposed for him to see. I wait and for a moment my heart catches in my chest, overcome with fear that those three words I so desperately crave will never come, but then he finally says it.
“I forgive you.”
The chain around my neck breaks and shatters on the concrete under my shaking feet. I realize I will never wear that chain again.
Alone in my car once more, I start to cry. This time, it’s different. This time, I’m free. And at long last, the healing process begins.