We drove up the snowy, winding road towards the cozy A-frame cabin. My stomach was churning and I could hardly think over the sound of my heart beat pounding in my ears.
“Stop here”, I managed to croak through what felt like a mouthful of cotton.
“You don’t have to go up there. I’m begging you, let me do this for you.”
I laugh in spite of myself. My ride or die for more than 20 years, Diana is as fierce an ally and protector as anyone could ever hope for.
“I know. I should. He’d piss his pants to open the door and find you there.”
“You don’t think he will when he sees you?”
“What if he’s just relieved it’s over. Relieved to be done with all of the lying and hiding?”
“Won’t you be”, she asked gently.
“It’s like admitting you don’t believe in Santa Clause. You’ve been suspicious for a while but Christmas Morning is such a thrill. Do you really want to call your parents out for the bicycle box you found in the garage on December 27th? What happens to Christmas once you pull back that curtain?”
They say ignorance is bliss. “They” also say knowledge is power, and love is blind. If the latter is true, and love really is blind, can it survive once clear sight is regained?
I take a deep steadying breath and open the car door. Time to find out.
I walk tentatively up the snow covered drive, more fearful of falling than being seen. As I slink cautiously past his pristine black Lexus SUV, like a tap on the shoulder, something makes me to stop and step back to the passenger door. I see the rear-view mirrors are popped out, not folded in. The doors are unlocked.
I know exactly what I am looking for, so it shouldn’t sting so bad when I open the console and find it sitting there glinting up at me from the hodgepodge of chapstick, change and phone chargers.
I spent months toiling over the decision. He wanted to be surprised so the pressure was really on, and I nailed it.
I gently pick up the sleek, triple banded platinum band and slip it on my thumb. I immediately flash back to the morning I picked it up from the jeweler. I was all aglow with the bliss of a blushing bride to be. It was 3 days before our wedding. It was 3 years ago today.
I squeeze my eyes shut, press my palm hard against my forehead and find my resolve.
Fist closed tight around the ring like a talisman, of strength, I close the passenger door with a soft thud and walk boldly up the drive and onto the stone path leading to the front door.
My stomach lurches and I feel exposed as I pass a large pane window and glimpse movement inside. I catch my breath and remind myself for what must be the 1000th time, “I am not the one doing something wrong. I am not the intruder here .”
She is at the sink, back to the window, long blonde hair streaming down his favorite concert t-shirt. What a romantic scene. Fire crackling in the background while she makes coffee and breakfast, a sweet smile on her sleepy face, no doubt .
A fresh surge of blessed, bolstering rage strengthens and propels me the last 20 feet to the front door.
My hand trembles as I ring the bell and wait.
As the heavy wood door swings open, his face freezes and our eyes lock.
Wordless, I raise my left hand slowly towards him. He reflexively lifts his open hand.
“You wanted to be surprised”, I say flatly as I drop his wedding band into his open palm.