On the drive home from the airport, John was all smiles. He kept glancing over at me and saying how much he’d missed me. He was grinning ear to ear, and it was nice to see him happy.
Once home, I invited him to stay and have dinner so we could catch up. He happily grabbed my suitcase with a bounce in his step and said that he would love to stay.
As with so many other times in the past we sat on my deck and shared food, laughs and the things about ourselves we wanted each other to know.
He enjoyed hearing about my time in Mississippi and especially the part about me dancing with my granddaughter. I learned that he had spent some time going through his old notebooks. My heart broke for him when he described finding the journals with the almost manic scribblings he’d written in after his divorce.
He shared that while he was reading those old journals he could feel the pain he’d felt, like it was happening all over again. He had several notebooks filled with sorrow and rejection from a few other relationships, and reading them brought it all back.
When I asked why he kept (and re-read) them, he said he wasn’t sure. He thought perhaps it was so he wouldn’t forget and continue to make the same mistakes.
I had a different idea about those journals.
Once again, I suggested keeping them was holding him in the past. I encouraged him to let them go. When he asked me how, I shared how I’d heard that creating a burning ceremony can help let go of the past.
I suggest that burning those old journals would be a good way to cleanse old hurts and pain.
He looked at me for a moment then got up and went to his truck. When he returned, it was with the journal filled briefcase. He told me he was ready to let go and liked my idea of burning them.
I had a little outdoor fire ring, and together we lit each journal on fire and watched the charred remains fall into the pit.
As each journal went up in smoke, I could sense relief in John.
As we watched the flames die out on the last blackened pages of those heart wrenching journals, John stood up and pulled me up to stand next to him. He smiled down at me and gave me a big hug.
And then he said, “I love you, Loretta.”
I smiled up at him and said, “Yeah, I know.”
We both laughed, and then he told me he knew when he saw me at the airport that he didn’t want to fight it any longer. He wanted to face the future and hoped I’d be there beside him.
I could tell he loved me, but I was wary of the rug getting pulled out from under me again. I knew John’s trial would be coming up soon, and I also knew his attorney was preparing him for the possible outcome.
She informed him that his trial date was set, and the likelihood of jail time was real. Hearing words like “six months in jail” and “get your affairs in order” did not sit easy with either of us.
And I had to wonder if I was one of those affairs.