By Mary McLaurine
It took some time for me to realize you were only in my care temporarily. God, I loved you so much. You filled me with a light so bright I no longer hid beneath the crippling veil of darkness I was so accustomed to wearing.
You seemed so certain our love was well-grounded and blessed by the gods that I felt foolish doubting your confidence. Was this finally my chance to experience what I had only read about in novels and witnessed in movies? Was there such a thing as a “soulmate?” Bliss surpassing bliss, Juliet awakening moments before Romeo’s lips taste poison, fire and water coalescing into an aqueous inferno—these are the things soulmates were made of.
When our forces merged, I knew. You knew. There was no turning back.
Forward was our only path and each footfall landed more absolute than the last. We conquered new territories together overcoming every obstacle in our path—the eviscerating final words spoken to past lovers, the haunting guilt from long-held secrets, the painful confessions of indiscretions and the shame of inflicting intentional wounds on undeserving hearts. We saw each other in our own reflection and were able to love what was staring back.
Years passed and with time came wisdom, a deep and healing wisdom. I was able to finally trust someone, not only with my feelings but with my body. My abusive past always told on me when I was unable to surrender to a caring touch when sick or a gentle hand wiping my tears of grief. These were things I did on my own. I took care of me. Somehow, I don’t know when exactly, I allowed you into my inner sanctum.
Soon, you were walking freely in my sanctuary, not in front, not behind—just with. The realization there was room for two of us was a life-changing experience for me, second only to the fact you understood the significance and magnitude of the moment.
Your transformation was equally remarkable. Your family, once held in great disdain by you became a source of strength and happiness and your eyes now smiled with affection at the sight of your mother tending her garden. Our visits there were no longer out of obligation but of desire. Your hammer swung not because her roof was leaking, but because you didn’t want her to suffer winter’s unyielding cold. It was a beautiful sight to behold: you stepping over the threshold of forgiveness into a house once filled with hopelessness and despair. The warmth of your newfound light drew your family close again.
Your mother noticed me watching you from her kitchen and asked what had me so deep in thought. I turned my head away from the table you sat at with your brothers and faced her, my tears catching her off guard. We stood quietly and I said, “You know I’m just here to help him become his best self, preparing him for the love of his life, don’t you?”
At that moment, you glanced up from the table to acknowledge me with a wink and returned to your conversation. “Oh, honey, he loves you! I have never seen him this happy. What on earth are you talking about?” I gave her a reassuring smile as I opened the screen door and motioned to you that I’d be outside.
I walked through the woods behind your parents’ house on the trail we ambled so often and was overwhelmed with a sense of peace. I loved you so much; the thought of you, happy and content, enveloped in another woman’s grace both wounded and healed me simultaneously. I saw it all in front of me—a vision revealing your destiny to my heart and I knew then it was just a matter of acceptance.
We grew large, you and I, but like a once thriving plant confined by a pot far too small, I came to the crushing realization we would have to separate to flourish.
Our roots eventually began to strangle one another in our crowded little pot. Although we tried to untangle them gently upon my departure, many were damaged and torn. Despite the pain, it took three years and two futile attempts at rearranging our roots in the same old pot before we could separate completely.
I left in November, five long years ago.
In our last friendly check-in with each other, I heard it in your voice. My pulse quickened while trying to process the words you were speaking. I broke a little with each one that sank in—she, happy, together, home, Kate—yet with each fracture came an instant healing as if I were in possession of some sort of super-power. And there it was again, that anomaly of soulmate force; a force that can only defy logic and universal law when combined with the singular element in this realm of love that recognizes it. Love can be selfish, unwilling to relent to a higher form of itself, afraid of growth and change.
Love for a soulmate transcends boundaries of the heart with the knowledge that what nurtures one soul, will in turn, nurture the other no matter how far apart. With a strong foundation of roots now in the ground, Kate will behold your beautiful transformation from foliage to flower. Somehow, my soul will recognize and embrace the fragrance as its own.
These are the things soulmates are made of.
I thought of you today as I separated my Angel Wing Begonia, the one I slipped from a leaf once belonging to the plant that bloomed so prolifically in our bedroom. I gently and with great care separated the roots, trying as best I could not to cause any damage. Now there are two.
Much like the care of your heart has been entrusted to Kate, I entrusted the newly potted begonia to a friend in whose tender care I know it will thrive. My only condition was that she plant it outside in her garden with boundless space to grow and flourish.
Mary McLaurine is a writer residing in Frederick, MD. She blogs at The Heart of Sassy Lassie trying to find strength and humor in all of life’s ups and downs. She has been published on Washington Post, Huffington Post, The Good Men Project, First Day Press and several other sites.