I couldn’t go back to her. Didn’t know how to. After 47 months of separation from my wife Sue, how could I possibly ask her to take me back? It was comforting to know that she didn’t remarry or get into another relationship but then maybe she didn’t want to. Didn’t need to. Not after I abandoned her and my kids without explanation. How she must hate me!
I knew she was angry. It was obvious from her zillion messages to my inbox back then, that she was seething with anger, which I had ignored. At the time, I dismissed them as the ranting of an angry woman but if I were in her shoes, I’d probably have done much worse.
I noticed the sweat on my palms and my heart racing so I decided to sit, all the while asking myself how on earth I drifted away from those that mattered most to me. It all started with a brief moment of weakness (or lustful greed when I look back now). I tasted infidelity and wanted it over and over again. I couldn’t just stop, the lure was overpowering, uh!
Suddenly the bible story swept through my mind, of Jacob and Esau* and how they became reunited after animosities threw them apart for many years. I’d write her a letter I decided. No emails, no calls, just write. I wanted her to see and feel my regret as she read. I was prepared to do anything to make it up to her, gosh! How had she managed with my littluns all these years? Not even a dime from me in support of their upkeep. And come think of it, she didn’t even take up the case with Child Welfare! “You’re completely useless Istvan,” was all I could say to myself. “Your case is pathetic. How can you throw love like this away?
I waited for 2 long weeks, in the hopes that I’d get a reply to my letter. I was ready for any kind of response, anything at all except silence. But nothing came. So I decided again to write, this time ordering some flowers in accompaniment. Still nothing. I’m not sure how many letters I wrote after that but when I came to my wits end, I knew it was time to do the brave thing – walk up to her door and say how truly sorry I was, for everything. I’d understand if she didn’t want me back but I had to let her know how truly sorry I was.
When I rang the bell, I did not know what sort of reception I would get. It took a while for the door to open but when it did, I saw in an instant all the array of emotions on her face: shock, fear, uncertainty, not so much of joy but I was unsure if there was still some anger lurking somewhere in those glassy eyes. I imagined she would slam the door shut and then reappear within seconds with a glass bottle aimed at my head or even a knife….
Something of a million years passed before I finally picked up the courage to speak. She had grayed a bit, lost some weight too but it was obvious from the wrinkle lines now forming on her face that it was a lot for her to bear. I opened my mouth to speak but nothing came out. I wanted to reach out and comfort this hurting woman but I was just hung…..my voice was heavy. I got on my knees not trusting them to bear my weight any longer…. My body shook in uncontrolled spasms as I just poured out myself, my stupidities, my regrets, everything. Would I ever be able to right the wrongs?
Then I saw her fall on her knees too, right in front of me. She held me, looked into my eyes, her frail gaze holding mine. “I read every one of the letters,” she began, “every one of them; but my heart was too heavy and my hand….. couldn’t hold the weight of a pen…..” This time it was my turn to hold her as she gave way to all emotion. She had every right to, even though by far, she was the stronger one and I was a coward, more than I had cared to admit.
I held her for a long time, knowing from then on, that holding her forever was all I wanted to do.
*The account of Jacob and Esau’s reunion can be found in Genesis Chapter 32:11-20 & Chapter 33:1-11