Forgive MeBy Ashley-Nichole Holland
Can you feel that? Can you feel the breeze rolling off the blue water? Close your eyes, feel what I am feeling. My heart beats faster with every crashing wave. Sailboats rock back forth in the distance as I anticipate the hurt that is about to take place. Do you hear that? It’s the bell from the orange buoy. Ring. Ring. Ring. Sit here with me, sit still. Breathe in the salty air; let it sink into your lungs. Bury your toes in the sand, its cold, I know. Give me your hand, feel what I am feeling.
It’s pushed too far back onto the shore, this old boat. It probably hasn’t been out on the water for a whole decade. We lean against it; its white and turquoise paint is chipped. “Point No Point” is written in black script, it’s still there. It’s still here. Can you feel what I’m feeling? Can you feel the blood pumping through my veins as seagull float above the glassy ocean? Can you feel the tear in our lives? The wind pulls the clouds away from the shore. The sun glows against your skin. Look at the daisies, they’re my favorite. It’s funny how well they complement each other; the ocean and the daisies. Tell me you can feel what I am feeling.
The red roof of the lighthouse is vibrant with the sun setting behind it. If we wait, we can see the light from the tower chase falling stars in the night sky. But we cannot put this off any longer. Listen to the ocean. Listen to the field of grass behind us. Can you hear the tall blades move against each other in the saline airstream?
I want you to know that my intention is not to hurt you, but this will never be; you and I. As much as our hearts might break, for as long as you have anticipated the rest out our lives together, I can’t. I sit down in the old boat and I ask you to sit next to me. You don’t know why we are here; I’ve never brought you to this spot before. You do not know that this is the place that I used to run to when we would fight.
Some call it cold feet, but I’m positive that this is not that. I can’t marry you; it wouldn’t be fair to either of us if I did. You no longer make sense in the life that I am trying to create for myself. I don’t want to live the life of an Officers wife. Our past complicates my feelings for you; there will always be memories of when you loved me and I loved you in return. You bought me a Tiffany’s necklace for me to wear to the prom, and I held you in my arms when you learned about your grandfather’s stroke. A year later I cried my eyes out when I found you with Haley Carlson at my best friend’s birthday party.
Here we are, three years later. You’ve apologized more times than I can remember, you’ve begged for my forgiveness. For a while, I thought I forgave you; I thought I had moved passed it and saw something more important than what happened in the past. As I sit next to you on the altar of abandonment, I try to gather the words to forever change our futures. I couldn’t give you what you want; there was no way I could live up to your expectations. I can’t be your military wife.
With tears rolling down my face I think about the moment you proposed to me. The way I had always hoped for, and you knew it too. In the middle of the seventh inning stretch, right after “Take Me Out to the Ballgame, you got down on one knee and told me to look up at the score board. “Julianne, will you marry me?” The crown surrounding us cheered as my face turned a darker shade of pink than that of the vendor’s cotton candy.
The sky fades to a deeper blue as the sun lowers over the Hood Canal waters. You ask me what is the matter and I tell you that I don’t know if you will ever forgive me for what I am about to say. You hold my hand, waiting for your heart to break. My eyes lock on the small breaking waves against the smooth sand as I tell you that I could never be all that you need me to be.
At first you don’t understand, you tell me that I am all that you could want for the rest of your life. But I’m not here for you to convince me to marry you; you shouldn’t have to convince me. I tell you that I am not fit to be a wife or mother. I tell you that settling down isn’t a part of my plan anymore. I love you, but I know that I am no longer right for you.
You stand up and brush sand from your clothes. You take a moment staring off at the lighthouse; the light just turned on and was dancing at the top of its tower. You want to leave because we have a two hour drive ahead of us. Without saying a word we walk across the cold sand, no longer resting in the sunlight. I take deep breaths, letting the salty air absorb into my lungs. Crickets off into the distance play music and harmonize with the wind rustling through the tall beach grass.
You unlock and open the car, still in silence. With the keys resting in your hand and your eyes locked on the steering wheel, you tell me that I am being selfish. I wish I could tell you why, but I don’t want to hurt you anymore than I already have. I don’t want to disappoint you in the years ahead of us.
Trees pass by in a blur; the tall evergreens dancing through the frame of the passenger side window. I think about you, the kids that you want to have with me and the home. You want two dogs and a boat to take fishing. I wish I could be the all American wife for your vision of the all American family.
The sun turns the horizon deep sienna and I close my eyes, picturing the ocean and the sailboats. Images of daisies and cotton candy clouds play back in the pictures of my brain. I’m too weak to say anything more and I know you want me to explain. I remember the time when I knew nothing more than the life that I would create with you. My time is running out and I needed you to move on from me.
You don’t know, but my body stopped responding to the medication. My body is breaking down and I don’t have much time. My body won’t be able to bear a child; I won’t have the strength to build a home. I love you with all my heart, but I cannot create this life with you and leave you because I am too weak. Each time I close my eyes, I pray to God to give me the strength to wake up the next morning. Just know that I am not doing this because I do not love you; cancer is a monster that I could not defeat.
Today might have been that last time I felt the wind rush off the sweet salty ocean. I cherish each moment I have, especially the ones with you. I hope that you can feel what I feel for you, and I am sorry that I will be leaving you. But when it’s time, just remember me; forgive me.