I am a person that finds giving up on a project not very easy even when I finally determine that it is time to cut my losses and move on. It is the way I am with business and the way I am in life. When I dedicate myself to something or someone, then it is both feet in until the end, which is normally too long for me to have held on. This was the way I was with the discount card program and this was the way I was with Priscilla. Although all the signs were there to give up on both of those things it was hard for both my heart and mind to see the truth. As the battle between the actual truth and what my heart wanted to be true raged, more and more anger built up inside me.
The art of letting go and moving on is something that is hard for us all to do. It feels like giving up and all the effort you put in for such a long time was for nothing. I think that is why people decide to stay in unhappy relationships and continue to go to monotonous jobs; the fear of the unknown and the knowledge that no matter how hard you tried it was just not going to happen.
Looking back on the discount card program I had to take the positives from the entire experience. The people I met with whom I still network, the invaluable business lessons learned on what not to do in Costa Rica and how to avoid those pitfalls, the knowledge that the less employees you have to rely on in Costa Rica the better, and, finally, realizing that when you find someone of talent make sure you pay them well and keep them happy. The list goes on and on. Although it was time to give up on the project, letting it go was still hard to do.
While trying to move on professionally and start concentrating on other projects, I was still being haunted emotionally by Priscilla. My heart continued to hold onto the bond that we had developed during her pregnancy and during my recovery. Not being able to speak to her and tell her about my day, or go out and look into her eyes and laugh was tearing me apart inside.
The hardest part was sifting through the drama and not knowing what the truth was and what a lie was. The text messages between us continued but a dark cloud now formed in our communication. Priscilla would tell me how she was unhappy…how she had not slept with him…how she was not moving to the USA to be with him…how she did not want to be called with his last name…each time making me believe that there was hope for her and I, and that one day soon she was going to leave him.
Hindsight is always 20/20 when you are trying to see the truth in any relationship. All of these things were either said to keep me pining and save me as a backup plan or were just lies to try to not hurt me. What hurt the most was the fact that if she had said that she loved him or that she was happy I would have been in pain but it would have given me closure. All I ever asked for was the truth and it was hidden under shadow games. She had her husband for financial backing for herself and child and she had me for emotional support. The only thing that could not happen was to have those two worlds collide.
Priscilla and I went out on 3 more ‘dates’ after the child was born. Both times there were no signs that she had any love for her husband.
A friend of mine and her husband came into Costa Rica for a vacation and wanted to meet up for a nice dinner. Priscilla and I fought through a rain storm to make it to the Hilton. I wanted to make sure she had the perfect night. When she arrived I greeted her with flowers and noticed how beautiful she looked. There was something about her eyes that combined the sadness and joy of an angel. While with her it was always difficult not to reach out and grab her hand. I would just catch myself staring at her and for a moment feel like we were together. Even if it was for just a brief moment it was like I was home. It was a dinner filled with laughter and intelligent conversation. When walking out she thanked me for allowing her to speak because her husband did not allow her to be herself. We held hands the entire way home in silence, both of us knowing that the reality of our situation lay awaiting at the end of that drive.
The second date took us into the mountains of Heredia. Since I had stopped drinking I was very conscious of how shy I was, the thought of rejection or someone laughing at me resided deep inside my soul. When Priscilla said we were going dancing, even though I was quite sure I would feel uncomfortable, I went because I knew dancing was one of her passions. She and I had a couple of drinks as we listened to the romantic music play. When she asked me to dance I could not refuse. Although I managed to step on her feet several times, holding her close to me was all I needed to again fill my heart with hope that these types of nights would be a weekly thing as we grew old together. While driving home we could not keep our hands off of each other and we had to stop the car so we did not have an accident.
The time between the second date and third was a couple of months. This was when the death of our friendship finally occurred. I was now angry that she was not leaving her current situation. Why would you stay with someone that you repeatedly said you did not love? Why would you stay with someone that you said treated you so poorly? Why would you stay with someone that lived 3000 miles away if you did not plan on moving there? Most importantly, why would you act the way you did towards me?
Was it really just because the truth was too embarrassing to admit to? I think if she had just said, “I make about $500 a month after taxes and my mortgage and with my other expenses I really cannot afford to raise a child alone.” I would have been ok with that. But repeatedly she would get angry when I said it is fine that she is staying with him for financial stability. Most people react that way and get defensive when they are confronted with the truth.
The final date that Priscilla and I had was one where I had to beg her to talk to me face to face. I knew that she could not lie to me in person without showing it in her eyes. It was my last ditch effort to show her what she meant to me. We again headed to the Hilton for a dinner by the pool. In my possession were all of the things that I had kept over the months we had developed our friendship.
One by one I pulled the memories out of my bag to give to her; poems that I wrote for her birthday, movie tickets from our first date, and a music CD with songs that reminded me of our times together. As I presented these to her, her eyes began to well up with tears. All of these memories that I presented to her were sentiments being expressed from my heart, but none of them were going to provide the financial needs of her child. The conversation that was once filled with passion and hope only a few months before had turned cold. Although she said that she was going through ‘a process’, I could see in her eyes that she had made her decision. This was going to be our goodbye dinner.
So much had changed in the months since the birth of her baby. The girl I used to know that was filled with life and dreams was disappearing. It was like I did not know her anymore. There was a cold seriousness about her and her smile had vanished. She was not the same girl I had fallen in love with even though she swore to me that she had not changed. The birth of the child and the decision to stay married was firmly implanted in her mind. The life and joy in her soul that had shown me so much compassion and love during my recovery had vanished.
We drove home in silence. This time both of us knew that this was the end. There was not a fairy tale ending where love was enough to hold us together. The reality of life had set in. Her job was to provide for her child and the person that would be able to do that for her had a high paying job in the USA. She had made her decision and determined that giving up her dreams for her child was what she had to do.
While she was letting go of the life she had planned and the dreams she had wanted to chase, I had to let go of her. There was no romantic comedy ending to this real life movie. There was just an ending, fade to black and roll credits.
“Letting go means to come to the realization that some people are a part of your history, but not a part of your destiny.” ― Steve Maraboli
Next up - Picking Up the Pieces & Moving On