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Chapter 3

Change does not whisper.

It is not kind or mindful nor is it respectful.

Change is bold and brazen like a bully, inviting itself in unannounced, and like a tsunami it takes out everything in its path.

Alex Winterton

3:54pm August 18th

Hey girl!

One thing I need to really tell you before I continue is that I think your idea of writing a book called The Facebook Diaries is an amazing one. I cannot imagine how many other people have, like us, experienced the magic of a reconnection. Publishing their stories (even if they choose to remain anonymous) would be so exciting, and our story could be threaded in between.

But back to the present.

I am glad I was spot on with what you were feeling and thinking, although it upsets me to think for even one second that you believe you had gone overboard in terms of your reply, because you didn’t.

As for us and where this is all going, I am not sure, but I really love the way we are interacting at the moment together with the depth and intensity of all the things we are sharing.

There is however something that is worrying me, and it unsettles me.

Here goes:

I really hear the things you are telling me about you and Gareth, and I completely understand where you are coming from.

I am about to share something with you that might complicate things even more, but I don’t want to in any way come between what both of you have built up over the last twelve years.

I couldn’t live with myself or accept that.

Claudia, I am being completely honest with you right now as I type this. I can feel the blood rushing around my body and my internal temperature rise because it shakes me to my soul.

You asked me about myself and Christine. Well the truth is that we have sadly come to the end of our journey together. It pains me, even as I type this to you, but it is something I need to, and almost have, come to terms with. I love her very much and she is the only woman I have known for so long but this is where we have both found ourselves.

After knowing each other for close to nine years, and having the most amazing Native American wedding to bond us spiritually, I now dread the day we will be no more. We have spoken many times about where we are at and if we can retain what we have, and the only thing we feel that is left is an intense friendship. And it is that which we are prepared to settle for.

So the next while is going to be very emotional for me. There are so many areas of my life that are strong and successful, but this one is an area of weakness.

You must understand that I have told no one about this and you are therefore the first person, outside of her and me to know this. I am trying to be strong and I am continually working on my strength and I honestly believe that this will be a good time of growth for me and I have started preparing myself mentally and emotionally for it.

So once again, although I have shared this very deep secret with you, it is really important to me that you don’t let any of this cloud your judgment. And knowing where you are (only because the discussions you and Gareth have had sound very similar to the ones that I and Christine have had), I would urge you to sit him down and really get him to understand your feelings and what you really need as both as soul and a woman. Don’t think of giving up too easily. Promise me that: I know what I am talking about. You need to fight hard for the things you believe in and I believe if you want something badly enough, you can have it.

Besides, I am more than happy to wait until you are ninety years old. I haven’t ever really had much of an issue with false teeth, I actually find the whole thing quite sexy, in a (we can share each other’s) kind of way. Besides, by then, there should be some really cool technology around that would make the whole thing VERY INTERESTING for people that age – who knows.

Jokes aside, I mean what I am saying to you – I honestly do.

**************************************************************

Claudia sat rooted to her chair, staring at her laptop screen in utter disbelief. Gareth was playing tennis with a friend and the boys were in the room next door playing PlayStation. She read and reread Alex’s words, desperately trying to comprehend what he had just told her. Suddenly everything had changed. Where an opportunity once before seemed too out of reach to grab on to, it had now moved forward like a knight on a chessboard, leaping over obstacles and taking out everything in its path.

Her world was shifting on its axis and she was powerless to stop it.

Claudia knew that Gareth was going to be returning soon but she wanted to reply to Alex more than anything.

Her mind was in a whirl and she had to hold on to the edge of the table she was sitting at to steady herself. She felt dizzy. Elated. Terrified.

Could this be her chance to escape from her reality for real?

With trembling hands and one eye watching out of the window for Gareth’s return, Claudia quickly typed a reply to Alex.

**************************************************************

Claudia Stevenson

6:04pm August 18th

Oh God Alex! My hands are shaking and my heart is racing. I feel as if I’m about to pass out!

I never thought I was going to hear the things you’ve just said.

I am so grateful that you have shared such intimate details of your soul with me. I wish that I was at the point that you are at with Christine. In a strange way I actually envy you.

This is just totally incredible. I never in my wildest dreams thought a day like this would ever come.

It feels as if the Universe has opened up a path for us to be together.

**************************************************************

Claudia heard the rumble of a car’s engine in the driveway and looked up. It was Gareth. Claudia was still shaking. She quickly closed her laptop and looked up at him and smiled weakly as he walked in through the door carrying a few bags of shopping.

“I’ve invited Grace and Charlie over for dinner tonight,” he said, “I’m going to put the fire on for a barbeque.”

Grace and Claudia had been close friends for many years, and Grace had often been a first-hand witness to Claudia and Alex’s tumultuous relationship. She was the first person that Claudia had called when she had received the “Were we once?” message. She had no idea just how deep the relationship had gone since that day.

As Claudia busied herself by preparing a salad for the evening’s meal, Grace breezed in through the front door carrying a bottle of wine.

“Hey you,” she said smiling while she uncorked the bottle of wine, “Why the serious face?” Claudia took a long sip of wine and breathed in deeply. “Shit, my friend, you have no idea what kind of trouble I’ve gotten myself into.”

“Do you still love Gareth”, Grace asked reflectively after she had listened, wide-eyed, to everything Claudia had revealed, “I mean, if you are still in love with him, it’s one thing, but if you’re not, and you want to get out, then that changes everything.”

**************************************************************

Claudia excused herself from the barbeque later that evening, taking her laptop with her into the bathroom, hoping for something, anything, from Alex. And sure enough, there is was…

**************************************************************

Alex Winterton

8:51pm August 18th

Hey Claudia,

Listen, I need to clear something up: There is nothing to envy about where Christine and I are. It is extremely painful and difficult for both of us, and we are trying so hard to work things out. And once again, just because of where I am, I don’t want this affecting the two of you, or for me to come between you two. Please understand that.

I look forward to your replies later when you have a chance. Please be sure to not cause any unnecessary suspicion, as this won’t be good for either of us right now.

I’ll speak to you again soon.

**************************************************************

Claudia felt overwhelmingly embarrassed. She had let go of her emotions and had come on too strong. In her heart she knew that there was a very strong possibility that she had sent Alex running for the hills.

She had to let him know that she was sorry, that there was still the present to deal with, and that was emotionally upsetting enough without a long lost girlfriend professing her undying love…

**************************************************************

Claudia Stevenson

9:14pm August 18th

Oh Alex, I’m sure you must think that I’m callous and unfeeling, which is totally not the case.

Let me start again.

When I say that I envy your situation, it’s not because I want to be there right now. I envy you because you and Christine have both been mature enough to realise that your relationship is not going anywhere. You have worked hard and put so many years into your marriage, but it takes a strong person to accept that things aren’t working. In my situation, it’s different.

I am nowhere near as happy in my marriage as I want to be, and cannot imagine spending the rest of my life wishing I’d gotten out of the relationship sooner. Gareth and I have tried hard to work things out, but what I keep realising is that if your heart is not in something; it’s never going to work. The situation I find myself in is also extremely painful, and I can sympathise with what you’re going through right now.

It’s not that easy to walk away from, in your case, six years of marriage.

In my situation, Gareth seems to think that things will ultimately work out between us. To be honest it is such a horrible situation. I no longer love him the way I used to, from my side it is more platonic, yet he almost worships the ground I walk on. I need space to grow, whereas he smothers me. I hope you don’t think I’m sounding arrogant, because I’m not; it’s just the way it is. Truthfully, he deserves more than what I am able to offer, I just wish he’d see that. He’s forever telling me how so-and-so does this and how so-and-so does that, and why am I not like that, and why can’t I just change and be the person he wants me to be: the person I was sixteen years ago. I keep telling him that I am not the same person he met all those years ago, insecure with very little self-confidence, confused and alone; I’ve grown up and I’m a very, very different person.

Please don’t think that you are possibly coming in between Gareth and I. It is not the case at all. Things have been messy for over two years now. We struggle to see eye to eye with most things and sometimes I think we’re only together because of the common bond we share, our children.

Whatever path these circumstances are leading us on is ultimately the path that we were supposed to be on all along. I must admit that having you appear out of the woodwork, reading your messages, loving the person you’ve become, reminiscing over our past together, makes me very happy and excited at the possibility of our new found connection.

And as I’ve said before, had my marriage been solid, I would never have said the things to you that I’ve said. Please understand me when I say this.

I know that your heart must be aching and torn between sticking it out, and going it alone. I know that that is something I will have to deal with one day soon too, and it scares the hell out of me. When you build your life with someone and share so much with them, it’s not that easy to just give it all up. Even more so when there are children involved.

My boys love their father dearly and he spoils them rotten, and it breaks my heart to think of the day that I might have to tell them that our family structure is going to be changing. I am trying to be a little bit selfish and not worry about everyone else’s feelings, but it is incredibly hard and I know it is going to take me a long time to come to terms with whatever decision I decide to make.

So just so that you know, I am here for you, more than you know, and I will be travelling along this new path in your life and lifting you up whenever you need me to.

**************************************************************

Claudia clicked on the send button, closed her laptop and quietly opened the bathroom door. She watched Ross’s chest slowly rising and falling as he slept peacefully in front of the television. She covered him with a blanket and walked back outside to join her husband and her friends.

The tsunami had left as quickly as it has entered. Claudia could feel the particles in her life separating and her mind was abuzz with thoughts of what-if’s and what now’s.

It was with peace in her heart and a sense of new found hope that she read Alex’s message to her later that night…

**************************************************************

Alex Winterton

10:32pm August 18th

Claudia, let me start off by saying thank you for your message and for setting the record straight. It is so important to me to know that where you are at has nothing to do with me or what we have found in reconnecting.

When you were telling me how you are not the person you once were (sixteen years before), I have found myself thinking about how different and mature you must be now. I mean you look the same (only WAY hotter – okay, I never said that), but you sound so different from how I remember you.

I am so happy for having made this reconnection with you and to have the chance to get to know you in a way I possibly would never have.

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Sometimes the healing begins when we are able to accept what is and move on. The heart cannot mend until the head is in the right place.

Our path to happiness cannot open up until we clear the brambles out of the road.

Claudia could only hope that when she turned the corner, Alex would still be waiting there for her.

Read Chapter 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Comments

  1. fourinthemorningbook fourinthemorningbook

    Thank you Lauren, that means so much to me!!!

  2. Wow Phillipa, you have me totally captivated and waiting with baited breathe for more! Well done you are an excellent writer xxx

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