I only heard from him one more time after that. About two weeks later, I got food poisoning. I went to a local fast food place and had what I thought was one of the most delicious double cheeseburgers with extra pickle. That night I proceeded to vomit almost as much as the night of my engagement party. I ended up going to the hospital and needed fluids and meds. That day I came home and he arrived at the door. He wanted to talk. We sat outside on the patio and discussed that we should get a divorce. He cried. I cried. And yet I knew that was the right decision for both of us. Neither of us could live the way we were and there was no more love between us. A twenty-two year friendship ended that day and I never heard from him again. I went inside, washed his clothes, packed them in tubs and dropped them at his mother’s house, 1 mile away from where we lived. I never ran into him, I never crossed paths with him again. The next time I would see him would be almost a year later at our divorce hearing. My stomach dropped at the sight of him as I felt terrible that so much was lost. Not the marriage or the love, but the friend I had in him. The nights where I could lay on his couch and watch movies, where we could go out and do Karaoke and drink and laugh and be friends as we had always been. I saw him that day and he sued me. Can you believe that! He sued me for health insurance. He didn’t win, but the point was not lost on me, that even after all that, he still wanted me to be taking care of him. And I realized that from now on I was going to have to figure out a way to protect myself better in relationships. What a terrible way to have to think. The worst part of the divorce was that he got all my high school guys friends and I got nothing. I was left losing him and seven other men that I had known and loved for so long. Memories that I had been a part of, they had been at both of my weddings, they had been at the births of my children, they had been at birthday parties and milestones and I had been at theirs. And in this marriage, I lost a large part of my past that I could never get back. And that is something I still regret. It has been four years since that divorce and I have still never laid eyes on him. My twenty year reunion came and went and I didn’t go because seeing all of them would have hurt too much. One day the following summer one of his very best friends showed up at my house. He apologized for not being there during this time for me and how bad he felt for everyone dropping me as they did. It meant the world to me. I hold a special place in my heart for this guy and I cherish the thoughtfulness that he showed me. That winter I got very ill. Everyone was getting colds or the flu, but me being me I do everything to the extreme. I got pleurisy. Who gets pleurisy anymore anyway? It was like I was bringing back diseases from the 19th century. I received a text from him when he found out I was sick. I was laying in the hospital bed where I stayed for 8 days and the text came through asking how I was. He then went on to ask if he should come down to see me and I said “I think it’s better that you don’t” That was the very final thing we ever said to one another. In all of my relationships I have stayed friendly with all of my men. I love them for the part of my life that they represent and I hold them very dear to my heart. Even Gingham and all we went through. I find it hard to believe that he is the only one that I am not close to. He is the only one that has never reached out, who has never tried to contact me and who really honestly has wanted nothing to do with me. He has been a huge lesson in my life. People come into our lives for a reason. We may not know at the time exactly what that reason is. Time does make things better. It makes you realize what is important to you. What I have learned from this is not that I can’t trust my own feelings, not that I am totally and utterly bad at picking men, but that I have done each and every one of these men a disservice. I wasn’t true to myself. I wasn’t being an authentic me. And it would still take me a few more years to realize it.