Friday, February 11, 2011

Burntcore Week 38: Run to the Water


Picture 1

Picture 2

Burntcore's Choice: Picture 2

Run to the Water

Cory had been acting so weird this past week. Not a bad weird, but just weird. I wasn’t worried that he was drinking again. It wasn’t that kind of weird. He was just being different. It almost made me think he was hiding something from me but I couldn’t put my finger on it. My friends were being goofy too, especially Moira. She was always a little kooky, but this was goofy for even her.

I had come home in the early afternoon from the Center to an empty house. Cory’s work shirt was draped over the couch but that was the only sign that he had been home at all. I was hoping to come home and spend the rest of the day with Cory relaxing on our balcony and listening to music. Our work schedules didn’t always mesh so this was going to be a special treat.

It had been about a year since Cory and I moved in together. Instead of him just moving into my place, we chose a new place together, someplace that was new and ours. It was a big step for us. He had been sober for two years by this time. While he would never be free of his alcoholism, he was in control of it.

After that disastrous night out at the bar I insisted that we he drank, we took a step back and re-evaluated how we were treating his illness, or more specifically how I was. I thought that I understood, going to the Al-Anon meetings but it clearly wasn’t enough. I didn’t understand fully the situation with Cory until that night. After that, the meetings and counseling seemed to have deeper meaning. I was finally getting it.

Once that epiphany occurred, things started to go more smoothly. Our relationship seemed to make some real progress. I felt like I could truly trust him. Beforehand, I had kept waiting for that first slip, afraid that when it happened, it would be over. Now that it had happened and we were still together, the fear I had was gone. We’d got through it. We would be able to get through anything.

Since then he had a few close calls where he almost broke down. He called his sponsor and was able to walk away before taking that drink... all except once. Since that night at the bar, he has only had a drink once. I’m not even sure how it happened. He had a bad day at work, I was tired and cranky, which meant we got into an argument. It was over something silly, as they usually tend to be, but it just made the bad day worse. We yelled, we made gestures, we stomped, he left, I cried.

He came home later that night in tears and alcohol on his breath. He begged me not to leave him. He begged me to forgive him. I begged him to believe in himself. After he had calmed down, we both apologized, and I encouraged him to call his sponsor. He would need to know what happened with Cory. Taking his cell phone in his hand, with an expression on his face that looked like his puppy just died, he called his sponsor. I left the room to give him some privacy. This let me collect myself as well.

This time I knew it wasn’t my fault that made him drink, but I still felt bad about the fight. It was stupid. At least it was over and done with. I was shocked that he drank, but I could see that he genuinely felt very guilty about it. We’d get through it just like we had everything else.

And now, after living together for a year, things were good. Things were better than good. Our relationship hadn’t merely started where it left off, but was completely different. We were different. It was like a completely new relationship except we already knew one another.
Which made his behavior this week that much more different. He was definitely up to something. If he didn’t come clean soon, I was going to have to call him out.

As I walked through the apartment, I picked up his work shirt from the couch and carried into the bedroom. I threw it in the hamper by the closet and dug around for a change of clothes for myself. After picking out a comfy pair of jeans and a coupe of layered t-shirts, I disrobed on my way to the bathroom to take a shower.

The soothing water helped settle my disappointment of Cory being gone and my confusion over his behavior in the past week. I decided that if I didn’t hear from him within an hour, I’d call his cell just to make sure he was okay. Stepping out of the shower, I felt much better.

I walked back into our bedroom with just a towel wrapped around me as I hummed to myself. I had just slipped my jeans on when I saw a note taped to the mirror of my dresser.

Meet me at the creek once you read this. Moira told me you only worked a half day I hope I see you soon.

I pulled the letter from the glass and touched it in wonder. The creek? We hadn’t gone down there in some time. It was just getting warm enough to go walking through the woods again. He really was up to something. Smiling hugely, I finished getting dressed and rushed out of the apartment.

The creek was about a block from our apartment, just a few minutes brisk walk in the pleasant but cool spring air. As I walked, my cell phone vibrated in my pocket. I flipped it open and saw a text from Moira.

-Beautiful day today-

Whatever Cory was up to, Moira was definitely in on. I decided to mess with her a little.

-I wish I knew. I’m still stuck at work.-

-Whatever. I just called the Center & they told me you left already.-


-I did, but I have other stuff I’m doing.-

-Like what?-

Figures she would ask. Why does she want to know what I’m doing so badly today?

-Just stuff. Why do you want to know?-

-I was curious what my bestie was up today.-

Hmm. Now I was intrigued.
-I’m out for a walk right now to clear my head. -

-Why? What happened?-

-Cory and I got into a fight again. I think this was it.-

The text was a total and utter lie but I wanted to get her goat. If she was in on Cory’s plan, she’d be going nuts right about now. The entrance to the park was drawing near as I waited for a response from Moira. I nearly dropped the phone when it started ringing. As soon as I answered it, I could hear Moira yelling through the phone.

“What do you mean you got into a fight? It can’t be that bad, can it?”

I had to bite the inside of my cheek to keep from laughing. I took a deep breath before I responded.

“It’s just too much, Moira. I’m tired of the games. All I asked was for honesty and he can’t seem to deliver it.”

I tried to put as much sadness in my voice as I could. I must’ve done a good job based on her reaction.

“Holli, give him a chance. You guys have come so far. I’m sure he has a reason.”

“Oh, really? Like what?”

“Maybe he wants to surprise you.”

“He can surprise me by being honest and not keeping things from me.”

“Holli, listen to me. I can’t tell you how I know, but I know he has a surprise planned for you. Just keep the faith with him, okay?”

“I knew it!” I laughed. “I KNEW you knew what was going on! Ha!”

Moira sputtered on the phone. “What?”

“Moira, Cory and I didn’t get into a fight. I was messing with you. I’m on my way to meet him now. He and you both have been acting weird this week so I figured something was up. If I didn’t know you guys any better, I’d swear you two were seeing each other behind my back.”

“Well played, Holli. Well played,” Moira crowed, laughing.

I giggled along with my friend. “I’m at the park now so I need to go. I’ll call you later, okay?”

“You better. I want to know the details.”

“Ya, ya, ya… bye.”

After hanging up with her, I stuffed my phone in my jeans pocket and walked through the arched entrance to the park where the creek was located. It didn’t take very long before I found Cory standing by the creek bed with his back to me. He stood with one foot resting on a rock and his hands in his pockets. His long sleeved shirt followed the lean lines of his body, covering him but not concealing.

“Hey,” I said softly.

He turned around with a gentle smile on his face. “Hey baby.”

“What’s up?” I asked as I walked up to him and wrapped my arms around him.

Cory kissed the top of my head and pulled me closer. After a few minutes, I pulled away slightly. Cory kept me within the circle of his arms and I kept my hands on his arms.

“I love you, Holli.”

“I love you too, Cory.”

He was being very sweet but I was still puzzled about what was going on.

“Baby, you mean so much to me, you know that?”

I nodded.

He touched my face tenderly, his eyes soft and loving. “I am so thankful every day that you let me back into your life. Thank you for sticking with me through all of this. I don’t know where I’d be without you.”

I ducked my head, embarrassed over his sentiment.

“So what’s with meeting at the creek?” I asked softly.

“I liked the analogy…. That we are like the creek, storms come and the water rises but the creek remains, it continues. I want that for us. We’ve weathered our storms but we remain, we continue.”

Was he saying what I thought he was saying?

Cory dug his hand into his pocket but wouldn’t show me what was in his hand.

“Holli, I have loved you for so long and I don’t want to stop. Please, let me love you for the rest of our lives.”

Slowly, he knelt down and opened his fist. He looked up at me, his eyes full of love and hope and everything in between. I saw my future there. I saw my past and my present, I saw everything.

“Baby, will you marry me?”