Hope dangles on a string, like slow spinning redemption

Winding in and winding out, the shine of which has caught my eye

Roped me in~ so mesmerizing, so hypnotizing

I am captivated, I am

Vindicated, I am selfish, I am wrong

I am right, I swear I'm right

Swear I knew it all along

I am flwaed, but I am cleaning up so well

I am seeing in me now the things you swore you saw yourself

So clear, like the diamond in your ring

Cut to mirror your intentions

Oversized and overwhelmed, the shine of which has caught my eye

And rendered me so isolated, so motivated

I am certain now that I am


I am selfish, I am wrong

I am right, I swear I'm right, swear I knew it all along

And I am flawed, but I am cleaning up so well

I am seeing in me now the things you swore you saw yourself

So tired

of the corners of your lips, part them and feel my fingertips

Chase the moment for forever

Defense is paper thin, just one touch

and I'd be in too deep now to ever swim

against the current

So let me slip away

Against the current

So let me slip away…

Vindicated, I am selfish I am wrong

But I'm am right, I swear I'm right,

Swear I knew it all along

And I am flawed, but I am cleaning up so well

I am seeing in me now the things you swore you saw yourself

Like hope

Dangles on a string

Like slow spinning redemption…

~"Vindicated" by Dashboard Confessional

You ever feel like you get pulled into a loop from the past when you hear a song? This song does this to me every single time that I hear it. It broke my heart the first time because it reminded me of a man I loved so much and considered marrying at one time, but I was so damn scared that I ran away instead. I couldn't trust, couldn't believe that anyone could love me as much as he did.

Years later, during the beginning of my husband and I's split, I contacted him. He had never left my thoughts, and I always wondered ifI had made a huge mistake. He lived in North Carolina, and I in Florida, but I have family in the Blue Ridge Mountains, so I made a solo trip up there and stayed with them for a week. I was so sick, so messed up, and so broken-hearted about how my marriage was falling apart that I needed time away from it all. And I needed to see this man, (we'll call him J for now) to know if what I was feeling was real or a fantasy in my head that I had created to escape to when things were bad or I was unhappy, which was a lot of the time.

J and I had known each other since I was 12, and he was a few years older than me. I didn't realize until I was15 that I was in love with him~ he had always been the friend I could run to and talk about anything with. He was so different than most guys~ a great listener, a wonderful writer and artist in his own right, and he GOT me, unlike most people. But he left for college that year, and I was a freshman in High School.

I didn't tell him how I felt, but we sent letters back and forth a few times each semester. It was stiff and false, trying to make light of the situation on both sides. I saw him briefly at Winter Break, but there was a barrier there between us now. My heart ached in ways I had never imagined were possible. I loved him so much, but I couldn't bring myself to tell him. So I let it lie.

He left again, and the letters became sparse. More and more distant each time. I felt like a huge fist had reached into my chest and ripped out a huge chunk of me. Anytime I thought of him, which was often, it broke the dam open all over again. I missed him so much.

Summer came, and he came home for a week. He surprised me by coming by and picking me up to go spend the afternoon together watching the fireworks and festivities over the river. I was thrilled and terrified. It was a wonderful evening, but sad for me in many ways. The year before the 4th of July had been spent spreading my grandfather's ashes in that very same river as the fireworks sparkled in the distance.

Later that evening I ended up visiting my Dad (he got me every other weekend). He lived on the riverside, and he and I went out on the dock and sat and talked for a long time. Later on, he noticed headlights coming down the drive, and he stretched and knowingly smiled and said, " I think I'll go in now. Don't be up too late", and winked at me.

The car belonged to J, and he had come down to hang out with me. We sat together on that dock for hours laughing and talking like we used to do, and he told me all about how college was going and how difficult it had been for him to deal with the changes, which is why he became distant.

I leaned my head on his shoulder, and he took my hand in his. I closed my eyes, terrified of my pounding heart and what was happening. He grew very quiet and said," You kow, it's kinda funny, this would be romantic if it were different circumstances".

Suddenly he stood up and announced that he should go, it was really late, and my heart hurt so much. So I said okay, and went to hug him goodbye. Somehow my lips brushed his cheek and all of a sudden we were kissing, trembling at what was finally being unleashed, being allowed to happen between us. I don't know how long it lasted, those moments on that dock, but I've never forgotten it. It was the first time he told me that he loved me, and vice versa.

Over the years the distance made things hard. We never managed to be a couple, and a lot of times we dated other people and tried to forget about each other. But the love never went away. Numerous times we'd find ourselves together for only a few hours, and it was always right back to where we had beenon that dock years before.

At one point he told me he wanted to forget about it, he had wished that it had never happened because of what it had done to us…and he left.

I couldn't forgive his words, his callousness at my love for him. I decided that I would move on, find someone who could love me and be there.

About a year later, I met Aaron, my husband. And I tried very hard not to look back. He made me happy and I was very much in love with him. We were inseperable most of the time.

But in my college years my illness started becoming a real problem and I started having flashbacks from my rape. Aaron was angry and was in another state because he had gone the military route, so he couldn't really help me. And he resented that all of a sudden I had become this different person.

Timing was everything. Oddly enough, J's mom emailed me because she had heard that we had gotten engaged and wanted to congratulate me. She also mentioned that J wanted permission to email me too, if it was okay with me. I told her that was fine. I didn't think anything of it.

It was the perfect opening. We started talking again via email and IM and before I knew it I was in the middle of a mess. I never thought it was possible to love more than one person at a time. I learned otherwise.

Eventually I separated from Aaron, telling him I needed to figure things out and wanted the option to see other people. I was so confused and lost. J was there for me, talking with me for hours every night on the phone or IM and helping me get through the really bad times. I could always depend on him to be there. We finally decided it was time to see where our relationship would go. We were adults now and maybe could handle things better.

I closed my eyes and made the jump. It was some of the most wonderful times in my life. I spent a week with him in North Carolina enjoying the snow and the cold. I met his friends and staked my space at his place. We got drunk and had a hilarious time just goofing off at his apartment, and several days we were snowed in. We were fine with that.

When I flew back to Florida I felt like I had left a big part of me behind.

Over the next few months I spent feuding with myself about Aaron's continued phone calls and unwillingness to let me go. He never gave up~ never accused or argued or cursed me out, just continued to remind me of how much he loved me and wanted me as his wife.

I look back now and realize what a true gift he was to me~ a man that refused to let go because he knew we were supposed to be together, and that I had unfinished business that needed to be tended to before I could move forward.

Eventually a really big fight between J and I ended things. I was already in a place where I was thinking of ending it because of the inability to trust because of our past history~ it was too big a hurdle for me to get over.

And so as time passed Aaron and I slowly came back to one another, or should I say I came back to him. I was full of guilt and sadness at what I had put him through. He was definitely hurt by it, but loved me enough to realize it was tied into who I was and closing doors.

But back to my trip to the Blue Ridge with my family. I was in contact with J, but I already knew that we would not get back together. He was in a really good relationship and didn't want to jeopardize it by seeing me. I told him I wanted to see him not to convince him to leave his girlfriend, but because I had things that I needed to say and felt he needed to hear. The day before I went home, he agreed to it.

I met him at a beautiful park on the Blue Ridge Parkway overlooking a lake and the surrounding mountains. To see him again was so strange, I knew we were not the same people we used to be. We were older, we both had changed emotionally and physically and I knew right away that whatever we had been was gone. We sat under the eaves of the lodge and talked, and I apologized for all the things that I had done to hurt him in the past. I told him that I was happy for him that he had found healthy love and I wanted only the best for him. I told him I loved him, but in a way that was tied with him being so much of who I became. We parted on good terms, and I cried as I hugged him goodbye, knowing it was probably final. One small kiss on his cheek, and I strode off and didn't look back. I cried for hours as I drove towards home, and finally had to get a motel room because my head hurt so much and I needed to sleep. I think I slept from 4 in the afternoon until 8 the next morning, and I was completely numb.

It took me weeks to get past what happened, because I was mourning losing someone who had been such a huge part of my life. But I knew it was right. I recently discovered that he married her, and while it stung a little, it made me smile that he had found happiness.

As for this fourth of July, I will be doing the same thing as I did that fourth of July so long ago. I will be spreading my grandmother's ashes in that same river, at the same spot that I let my grandfather go. It will hurt like hell, and I will cry over her and losing her, but I know the circle will have been completed. She's with him now, and that's what she wanted more than anything. And in celebration of that the fireworks will light the sky.

  1. landscaper 9 years ago

    i am sorry for everything you have gone through.i will be thinking of you on the 4th,my friend. big (((hugs)))…

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  2. Aswa 9 years ago

    There is loving in the letting go. I identified with your story, alot!  You write beautifully, like a poetess.  Peace, Aswa.


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