Relationships, A Series: Part Five — To My Darling Clementine

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HA note: This series is reprinted with permission from Caleigh Royer’s blog, Profligate Truth. Part Five of this series was originally published on June 4, 2013.

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Also in this series: Part One: What Is Courtship? | Part Two: We Were Best Friends | Part Three: The Calm Before The Storm | Part Four: To Lose One’s Best Friend | Part Five: To My Darling Clementine | Part Six: The Storm Starts Brewing | Part Seven: The Five-Year Relationship Plan | Part Eight: The Means To An End | Part Nine: We Made It | Part Ten: I Am A Phoenix | Part Eleven: Conclusion, Don’t Brush Off the Next Generation

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Part Five — To My Darling Clementine

To be perfectly honest, this part of our story is a bit of a blur to me.

There were a few incidents that stood out to me during this time but I just remember an overall feeling of numbness, pain, and the feeling like my heart was constantly being gripped in an iron fist that was squeezing the life out of me. I hated it, I buried myself into my work, and found many nights filled with tears, nightmares, and wondering if this time was ever going to end.

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I wouldn’t have said that I loved this guy.

I don’t think I really could have picked a “feeling” of what love would have been for me.

I knew that I deeply missed Phil, my heart was still in many pieces, and I knew that I was waiting for him, and I knew that God had told me to keep an eye on him. After the parenting seminar, I went home and spent the next few weeks trying to survive. I remember pulling out old emails he had written to me and re-reading them. I remember crying as I read and wishing I could talk to him again. I remember wanting to pick up the phone and call him and hear his voice. I remember something happening that would make me smile and almost immediately feeling punched in the gut when I went to go tell Phil about it.

During the first two months of our separation I didn’t talk about not being able to talk with him. I think only one friend really knew how I was doing, and after the initial first few weeks, I stopped talking about Phil. My parents didn’t seem to care, or give any thought to us, and the friends who were all buzzed about the drama to begin with soon gave up and the story was no longer a new and exciting piece of drama in their dull lives. Only a small handful of people really stuck with me through the entire journey.

This story isn’t just about Phil and I, it is also a sad reminder of all of the friends we lost along the way.

I caught up with a good friend two months after losing Phil’s friendship and I broke down and told her everything. She was shocked, but at the same time some of her first words were “I knew it!” She told me that without knowing anything, she had played a bit of match-maker and had pair us together. (Several people told me the same thing when they found out later that Phil and I were together. They told me I was one of the only girls who was shorter than Phil and we perfectly rounded each other’s personalities out.) We would go on walks and she never seemed tired of hearing what had happened that week or where I was at.

Ironically she was the one who was with me for one of the most difficult situations I found myself in during that horrendous summer.

My best friend’s brother had a surprise birthday party at an ice cream place and I ended up getting invited. I had a feeling Phil would be there, and I was incredibly nervous. I knew he had recently bought himself a sweet car and knowing him, he would be there with it and would be showing it off in his own subtle way. My friend and I drove up to the ice cream place and managed to pull in right when Phil did. My heart stopped when I saw him break into an amazing smile and come charging towards us. He had these glasses on that looked like old fashioned scientist sunglasses. To be honest, I actually did come to like them a lot and they fit his quirky personality, but that’s not what happened this day.

The first words out of my mouth were the ones I wish I could rip back and burn. I told him I hated the glasses.

I told him I didn’t like them on him.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a guy, or any person, deflate that quickly. His shoulders dropped and I almost started sobbing right then and there. My heart broke all over again and I couldn’t think of another thing to say. I just didn’t want to see him so defeated. And it was all my fault. I went for a walk with my friend after the birthday party and I spent the entire time  bouncing back and forth about whether or not I should call him and apologize. I had his number dialed twice and my finger on the send button. I found out later that he was so surprised to hear me say that I hated the glasses and he couldn’t help but see the pain in my eyes. He was more worried about me than hurt by what I said, even though he was hurt, and wouldn’t wear the glasses for quite some time after that.

Oh that is one day I wish I could relive and do it all over again!

Towards the end of the summer, around the end of July, I was in VA for a sewing workshop for some girls. I was teaching them all to make a proper corset and helping them all make their own patterns that would fit them the way the corsets were supposed to fit. I do miss this part of reenacting and I wish we were still in it, but too much went down and it no longer holds the attention for me that it used to. Anyway, at the end of the first day of the class, I found out that Phil was planning on naming his car. I wasn’t too surprised especially since his car was so unique. When I found out the proposed name, I had a very delayed flipping out reaction.

Being surrounded by girls who I was supposed to be a role model for, I didn’t feel like I could really react the way I felt I was reacting inside.

He wanted to name his car Clementine. And in that moment my world stood still; was he waiting for me? Is that why he wanted to chose a name that meant something special to both of us?

Let me explain about Clementine. This is a little known story about us and it is one of my favorites that I hold close to my heart.

About 3 months after I met Phil, he hit a really bad anxiety day and was pretty far down in the dumps. I had already dealt with one of those days before this and I kind of knew what to do to cheer him up but I was still trying to work around his no talking on the phone rule. It’s hard to cheer someone up when you can’t hear them or see them. This time happened the day before his brother got married. They weren’t all that close at that time, but I think that it was hitting him hard that things were changing drastically and he didn’t know how to deal with it.

The first time he hit the wall, I wrote this comical letter that really cheered him up. I wrote the letter as if he had written it to a crazy, wild girl named Clementine. I created this entire persona of a purple haired, red lipped, bubbly girl. So when he needed cheering up again the night before his brother’s wedding, I wrote the second letter to Darling Clementine and it worked exactly how I planned it to work. He told me the next day that he could barely keep from laughing out loud as he read it.

Honestly, those letters are rather strange to read now. They were hilarious back then, but they were a bad memory during that summer and a fond memory now that I can smile about.

When Phil decided to name his car Clementine, I was elated and crushed at the same time.

How dare he name a car something that was uniquely special to us? Does he like me still, is that why he wants to name his car that? And then the thoughts of what if he doesn’t like me anymore came pouring in. By the time I went to bed that night at the people’s house the class was at, I thought I was calm and could handle things. I had also let Phil know my mind and how I didn’t approve of the car name via some tricky commenting strategies on Facebook.

(Really, who am I kidding, I pulled the typical write a comment and then delete it prank. that was back when we got emails about comments left on our walls. so even if I had deleted the comments he still got an email about it.)

I didn’t have that hard of a time falling asleep. One of the girls at the sewing class was in a budding relationship herself, and I was getting the scoop on all of her exciting drama so Phil wasn’t completely at the forefront of my mind. I fell asleep feeling comfortable (which was very rare for me) and I fully expected to actually sleep that night.

I woke up around 3 am sobbing.

Bells were going on in my head as piece after piece of a puzzle I didn’t know I had been trying to solve was put together. I think up to this point I had been denying any other feeling other than that I was waiting for Phil and that was it. For most of the summer I shut down even more emotionally than ever before. When Phil had come into my life I had started very slowly breaking down the walls around my heart. But when he was ripped from me, those walls were reinforced and were even thicker. That’s why that early July morning I was struck breathless as emotions flooded my heart and left me sobbing.

I saw the world through opened eyes and I simply knew I couldn’t live without Phil.

I couldn’t go on living without him by my side.

I truly did love him. 

I needed him.

My heart settled into the greatest peace I had even known.

“I love Phil.”

With one phrase, my world was calm. The chaos was hushed, my sight was clear.

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To be continued.

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