Say Goodbye

Heading homeward, but tell me what becomes of us? Last night I said goodbye to The American. We had spoken some words few and far between since the last time I saw him – My friends and others had reiterated to The American that I was a taken woman and my dwindling presence at the gym hinted at a nervous mind and an uneasy heart. I had made up my mind to be with Corporate – and not just anyone, not even this old-school romantic soldier could sway my decision. But I admit there was still something about him that made my breath laboured and my heart beat just a moment faster. I didn’t know what was going to happen when I stepped out of the change room after an hour of choeographed weights with my instructor friend, but as I saw him sitting on the couch waiting to say goodbye I knew that a final conversation was going to be had.

It was a warm evening – (with the exception of the wind) and temperate for this city – so I elected to walk home. In my normal pace on a night where my winter jacket was but a burden on my arm I could have made it home in 15 minutes. However with The American by my side until I said otherwise, we meandered through the city admiring its beauty, knowing that he may never see the city, or me, ever again.

I asked him why he would ever want to move here. Not that I dislike this city – it’s lovely. It is and forever will be my home – or at least, the closest thing to home I’ve ever had. It’s just being an American soldier and having the opportunity to travel to far and distant places to see breathtaking and history-laden sights, why chose just one to remain in for the rest of your life? His response? “I was just always drawn to Canada; and now I know why.”

I didn’t ask for his ‘why’ – not because in my heart of hearts I knew his answer, but because it wasn’t mine to know. The American was leaving for a mission not 2 days long before flying to Europe for a month and then, well, who knows? He was obviously energized and nervous but at the same time sad to leave; after dropping me off he was heading to a local martini bar to say goodbye to other friends he had met in his short time in the city. I wasn’t going – it didn’t seem right. But at the same time not saying goodbye didn’t seem right as well. Without knowing or caring what my past was, The American thought of and treated me like a lady – even when it was evident that he would not get what he wanted from me. So on a park wall 5 blocks away from my apartment, after walking and talking for what seemed like forever, we stopped to speak.

The conversation started as I had imagined: the easy banter between strangers was seguayed by The American mentioning that one day, in the future, I would make one man very lucky and very happy. I dropped my head and looked away, saying thank you but in the middle of my sentence, as if out of a scene from Gone With The Wind, The American lifted me off the ground, effortlessly, and placed me on top of the wall I was leaning against. Startled but grateful that I was able to rest for a while I continued to speak, confiding in The American that Corporate had hurt me in the past. Startled, he asked why I had let him back into my life, and as I began to contemplate my answer he took off his sweater and folded it up and placed it next to me. He mentioned that while he too cared deeply for his ex’s, that he would give her his last dime, it didn’t mean that he would ever think to let her back into his life the way she used to be, let alone his heart. Before I could give him my response – in fact, just as I was about to open my mouth – he placed his arms under my knees and my back and lifted me onto his sweater, mentioning that it was never good to sit on something so cold.

After that gesture of kindness that was as unexpected as it was overwhelming to my heart – I wanted to cry because my answer didn’t change. The American’s ‘dream’ of whisking me away and giving me everything I wanted, all the while being the officer and gentleman I dreamed of as a little girl in my mothers high heels couldn’t remove the face of Corporate that was and is on my heart. I closed my eyes and breathed deeply, and with my hands in my lap and my face to the moon I gave him my answer – one I’ve given many a times to friends and strangers when I let them know that Corporate and I are back together, but until last night did I truly understand the meaning behind the words I speak.

“If I made a mistake like that, and I was truly sorry, I’d want to be forgiven. I can not expect to receive that kind of love, the love that I want, if I am unwilling to give it first.”

The American was silent. I could sense an understanding and a level of respect eminating from him, even before he started to speak. “You have a good heart – too good”, he said, “but you’re a good woman.” He nodded his head as he lifted me off the wall and placed me back on solid ground.

We said goodbye shortly after that. In a final attempt to sway my heart The American proclaimed that if I ever wished to see him again, if there was ever a chance that he could call me his woman, that all I had to do was tell him and he would make it happen. I nodded – and told him to be safe. After a kiss on the forehead and a first and final hug, I walked away from my American soldier without a phone number, an email, or even a last name.

I believe that every person we meet, have met, and will ever meet, has a lesson for us to learn. I had asked The American why he thought he had met me, and although I disagree with his interpretation of the events from this month, I know the lesson that The American taught me. Perhaps it is the offshoot of the Sexual Revolution, but the fact is until now, for 22 years of my life, I had never been treated as well as I was by The American. In his mind a lady deserved to be treated as a lady, no matter how she decides to act. I may disagree with the last part, but thanks to The American I no longer have any reason or excuse to not act, or more importantly treat myself, like a lady. I’m not saying that I wish to convert back to a chauvinistic view of male and female roles, but damn did it ever feel good to be viewed and treated like a lady, and I’d like to keep that feeling going – even if it’s only by myself.

So… While this may not be the happily-ever-after ending I once dreamed about as a little girl in my mothers high heels, but as a 22 year old girl in my own high heels – it’s an ending that I am happy with. And in the end that’s all that matters.

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~ by Carrie on May 1, 2007.

24 Responses to “Say Goodbye”

  1. You can’t choose who you fall in love with but you can choose how you will treat them, if you will stand by them and if you will be true to them. I’m glad you are following your heart and doing what you know is right for you and Vegas.

  2. this is so very well written. such a full, complete story that you’ve given us from the beginning of when you met The American, to your final goodbye. you should put all of these together and keep them to look back on one day. what a good story.

  3. And that’s the whole point, isn’t it? Rewriting the fairy tale so that it suits you.

  4. Carrie,

    This was so well written. You sound much wiser than your years… and what a life lesson. I hope that you will keep this to remind you, when you are thirty, forty, fifty, etc… and with years behind you… how it felt to be treated like this and all that you learned in a short/long month. Good and bad, it is such a memory.

  5. Sad but sweet. I hope the memories of that moment are always good ones. Every woman deserves to have her childhood dreams come true…even if it is just for an hour or two.

  6. Geeezzz…beautiful but so SAD. I’m sitting here about to weep…sigh.

  7. That is such a beautiful and passionate story. I love that you are able to see the positive in the situation and take something away from the experience.

    And even though goodbyes are never easy, at least you left knowing in your heart that you made the right decision.

  8. I agree with your ending and was totally wrapped up in the rest. Nursing and writing well are not two skills one often sees together, but you appear to be making the most of it! As I had said, I agree with your final thoguhts, whih were that ladies should ALWAYS be treated like ladies. Part of me wants to tell the swearing little teens on the bus not to curse when a lady’s present, but I’m not in a black and white movie. You were last night!

  9. It’s true, we really do learn important lessons from people in our lives. I’m glad you see the positive in your relationship with The American. I’m happy you’re happy.

  10. Carrie … everything happens for a reason. Keep the fond memories in your heart forever and enjoy them privately.

    Be well.

  11. You write so well, I love your blog.

    That was like an episode of Sex in the City.

    I’m glad you are okay.

  12. I was wondering how this was all going to end. Although it may not be an outright fairytale, it is a beautiful story and at least you can walk away with happy memories.

  13. you should consider a career in writing, when I read your posts it’s like I’m reading a short story it’s complete and descriptive.

    thanks for sharing

  14. I’m glad you’re happy in your decision to be with Vegas and, for what it’s worth, trial by dashing American seems like it’s pretty much where it’s at! I wish more of the challenges we all faced were along these lines!

  15. I think every person you meet will leave some sort of memory or give meaning to your life…The American showed you chivarly is not dead…and it is good to feel like a lady. I am in the same situation as you…I started talking to my ex that I was with for 10 years…after all the things he did to hurt me…he is stuck in my heart…I just left a man that treated me like gold…but my heart is with someone else. Follow your heart.

  16. @ Ruby – You totally can’t choose who you love, nor can you force or trick yourself or have others force or trick you into choosing who you love. You just do – and I’m glad I’m sticking with Vegas, good and bad!

    @ brookem – Aw thank you! It’s really just me writing and trying to tell what happened, plus a bit of my thoughts here and there. I am def. saving these entries for later on… it’s always fun to look back, especially when there is something like this to remember!

    @ Bre – Exactly! Couldn’t have said it better myself!

    @ The Exception – Wow… thank you very much! It was def. a lesson, this month, but I think I’ve come out of it ok.

  17. @ Mel – That’s exactly what it was like – sweet but sad. I know that when I look back on this I’ll still feel a bit sad, but have a smile on my face. And that’s the best ending I could have hoped for.

    @ LeiselB – Aw why thank you so much! But don’t weep – it’s a happy ending!

    @ Beth – Oh my, if I couldn’t see the positive in this situation I think I’d be crying right now! But again, everything happens for a reason and hopefully it’s a good one!!

    @ Anothertwentysomething – Wow, thank you. I think with nursings’ future I’ll be able to indulge in my enjoyment of writing while maintaining my passion for the profession… I love being in the hospital as much as I love writing. That way I can have both! Just have to manage them. And yes – totally thought I was transplanted into ‘Casablanca’ or something along those lines on Monday night, except instead of the Eifel Tower it was the Peace Tower – which is still beautiful by night.

  18. @ egan – Thank you. I am too – he showed me that there really ARE good men out there despite what my friends and some past experiences have shown me.

    @ George – Oh I def. will. I left out some detail here and there in this post but they are as clear as day in my memory.

    @ Jessica – Thank you darling! And what a compliment! I’m in shock and awe, especially because I love how YOU write!

    @ B – Wow, thank you. I think I recall you being in my future profession as well, and as I said to anothertwentysomething, I think I can balance both with the 30,000 shortage coming up next year. Scary, no?

  19. @ Carla – Thank you – it was beautiful, both during and after. I’m glad I could share it with everyone.

    @ Kyla Bea – Thanks girl! I am happy to be with Vegas but man oh man was it ever tough to say no to The American’s offer to fly me to Europe!

    @ TBone – I find that following your heart can be the bravest thing you can do – and at the same time the scariest. I remember leaving my ex because my heart wasn’t in it, and it was scary for me; both returning to the single life and the fact that he didn’t take me leaving so well… but either way we are slaves to what our hearts want. I hope you’re happy in your decision as well, or at the very least, know that you WILL be happy.

  20. That was so romantic! Oy! Carrie, I love that story! It’s one that must be shared with the grandkids! It actually reminds me of the movie, The Way We Were, in the sense that even though the two main characters are in love, they just cant be for reasons unbeknowest to them…and well, us. It was so sweet and so charming and it leaves you with an ending that has many possibilities, which I really like…BRAVA! BRAVA…

  21. I love how you tell a story. So great and makes me feel like I am there experiencing this transition with you!

  22. Loved this! I’m glad to know that this story had an ending that you could live with- and love.

  23. Goodbye American, goodbye.
    Great post!

  24. @ DT – Thank you! I apologize for getting to these responses so late, but I am glad you enjoyed my (real life) version!

    @ Desiree – Aw.. thank you kindly!

    @ brandy – SO am I… so am I.

    @ MelissaVina – Thank you so much!

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