Saturday, November 8, 2008

Prompt 60.6 Crossroads / Writers Muses

As I stand here watching Abby say her final good-byes, I can't help but look back at all that has happened to bring us to where we are at this moment. There's no denying that we've reached a crossroads in our lives and as hard as it was for Abby to sever that final connection we knew that it was something she had to do if our marriage was going to have any hope of surviving.

Abby and I both owe so much to County, not just for the jobs that we were provided with over the last nine years, but for the life experiences that came with them, both good and bad. In my case, my first shifts at the hospital were as a substitute and in the beginning I made no real effort to get to know anyone because I realized I would only be there a few days before I moved on to another hospital and as the weather changed, another city. Even as I say that I know it's more an excuse then the actual truth, because if I were being completely honest, I know that I kept to myself for another reason. One based far more on a selfish need to protect myself from reopening the very same wounds that had forced me to leave everything I knew and come to the States in the first place.

I became very good at keeping secrets in those early months, early years in America, and even better at running away when my efforts failed, and while on the surface I might have appeared happy with the life I was living, in fact I despised it. No one ever knew any of that of course, this too became another secret to be hidden away, tucked safely in a box with the memories of the family that was no more. For all intents and purposes my life in America was everything anyone could want and when I would call my father I would share tales of the wonders of the Cities I saw, the foods I had eaten, anything but that which might reveal the truth. I'll never know if my father saw through the lies, if he did he never said anything about it to me, and maybe that was for the best, with me so far away he could almost pretend Danijela and the children were still alive if he wanted.

Eventually, there came a point when I realized that the life I was living wasn't really much of a life at all and I needed to find a way to change what I was doing. Knowing and doing are two different things though and as easy as it was for me to isolate myself from people, it became much harder for me to try and find my way back. I made a lot of mistakes before I realized and in fact accepted that I wasn't ever going to be able to reclaim the parts of myself who had been husband to Danijela and father to Jasna and Marko. It wasn't for lack of trying of course, no, I desperately wanted to be that person again, he just wasn't there. In time I would discover someone similar, but, it would take many years, and many more mistakes.

As I was trying to find my way, I guess you could say that Abby was doing the same and while we dated for over a year not long after she started working in the ER, neither of us were capable of a serious relationship. For you see while I was mourning the loss of my family due to their death's, Abby was coming to terms with the failure of her marriage. As ugly as our first break-up was, we somehow managed to salvage a friendship from it, not immediately of course, but, gradually, once the anger and hurt had faded away.

I can count on one hand the number of people at County I would consider true friends, and Abby is one of those, it took me a long time to realize that. It took me even longer to realize that if I was ever going to get past what had happened to my family and move forward in my life, I was going to have to open up about them. I'm not sure that either Abby or I planned for our relationship to move back to the romantic stage, it was just one of those things that happened when we weren't looking, and by the time we realized it was there, it was too late to go back. When Abby discovered she was pregnant, it could well have put an end to things had we not both been able to make some compromises in how we felt about things, and maybe that was the start of our realization that what we had between us might just work. If we had any lingering doubts, they were gone with Joe's birth and all we went through in the months after. The threat of losing him made us realize just what was important to us, and our decision to marry once he was safe seemed a natural progression of where our lives, where our love, needed to go. Maybe we were blinded by what we were feeling, or maybe we just lost sight of something and God felt we needed a reminder, I don't know, but, our happiness was short-lived.

The call about my father's illness came before we even went on our honeymoon and it's what has led us to where we are now. If that call had never come, if I'd stayed in Chicago, none of what came after would ever have happened, but, it did happen, and I left my new wife and our son to take care of the father I hadn't seen in years. If I had known then what my leaving would do to my marriage I can't help wondering if I would have gone. If I could have prevented Abby from making the mistakes she made, would I have stayed, even if it meant I would never see my father again, or reconcile with my brother? I don't have answers to any of my questions, I only know that Abby and I have reached a crossroads and we've decided we have to try and save our marriage, even if it means leaving everyone and everything we know to do it. So, that's what we're doing, I've resigned from the Hospice, and Abby has finished her last shift at County, we're going to Boston, I hope we're making the right choice. I hope we'll find there what we need to survive this.

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