Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Prompt 32.1: Reunite/ Couple's Therapy

I suppose in a way you could say that Abby and I have had several periods of separation, some intentional, some forced by circumstances brought on by one or both of us. All inevitably followed by our decision to reunite and give it one more try. It wasn't always that easy, or maybe easy isn't even the word I want, I know that's certainly the case with the first time we broke up.

When Abby and I made the decision to begin dating for the first time, it was not long after Carol Hathaway had left County. Now, just to clarify, Carol and I never really dated, but, we did become very good friends, and I became very attached to her two young daughters. For me, it was a way of filling the emptiness that had been with me since my two children had been killed, I can't really say what she was looking for in our relationship. I hadn't been at County long when we started spending time together, but, she was alone, and she had those two beautiful baby girls, how could I not offer to help her when she asked. I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy her company, and to be completely honest, she was the first person I even remotely let my guard down with since Danijela's death. I think in a way we needed each other, and that need is what allowed our friendship to grow as quickly as it did. When Carol decided she had to leave, I was lost, not so much because she was going to be with the father of her daughters, but because I felt as if I had lost my children all over again.

Abby was the one who initiated things for our first date, and though she couldn't know it, she was only the second woman in my life I had ever dated. Some people would say that what happened on our first date was a warning to us but, if it was, neither of us was listening. We struggled with our relationship for a year, but, we both carried far too much baggage and in the end we parted following an argument where we both said things we regretted almost as soon as they were said.

While it didn't happen immediately, over time Abby and I were able to put aside the anger that had marked the break-up of our relationship. It's funny in fact how quickly we realized what was important to us once it was no longer there in front of us. Unfortunately, by the time that happened she was in another relationship, but, I welcomed her friendship again and I suppose in a way it allowed me to learn more about her without the pressures of an actual romance. During the time Abby and I were apart, I went through a rough patch, lots of drinking, casual sex, living fast, it was like I became another person, and he wasn't someone I liked very much. I had reached the point where I hated everything about my job and myself when I decided to go to the Congo. It's funny, being there, going through everything I did, it almost cost me my life, but it also saved me from myself. I wasn't able to go to work right away because I'd contracted malaria while in the Congo, so, I was left with a lot of time to think about what I'd been doing with my life. I realized that I couldn't keep wasting it the way I'd done before I'd gone to the Congo, and by the time I returned to work I was a different person.

I'm not exactly sure when I made the decision to return to the Congo, but from the day I walked back into the ER, I knew I wouldn't be staying. I couldn't help feeling that I could do so much more there than I could ever do in Chicago, and then I met Alex. It's funny, here is this kid, pops up out of nowhere and we just connected. I thought I found someone else to care about, or maybe it was just another instance of my needing to be a parent. I didn't plan to start dating his mom, but over time it happened, and one day I realized that with him, with Sam in my life, I didn't need to go anywhere. I thought everything was going fine between us, eventually they moved in with me, we were like a family, we had everything we could want, and then she thought she might be pregnant. Suddenly, it all fell apart. Nothing was the same to her, and she decided that what I wanted from the relationship wasn't what she wanted. It turned out that she wasn't pregnant, but, it didn't matter, they moved out, and I was left feeling like I had lost another family. I couldn't handle it, I started drinking too much again, and Abby was there for me.

I don't think either of us expected anything to happen that first night, but it did, and it just felt right. We agreed this time around to take things slow, maybe that was what made the difference, well, that and her eventually learning she was pregnant. It wasn't long after that we decided she'd move in with me. It hasn't been perfect since the birth of our son, but, we're working through our ups and downs, we have to, there's too much at stake not too, besides, I love her too much not to.

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