We glide right then turn left, taking our time, careful not to ‘push it.’ We talk as we ride, well, I talk and mostly, he responds. “It’s time to reinvent ourselves.’
Another one of my ‘hail Mary’ moments. A moment of courage – an attempt to set things straight. It started with an appointment for us both to get an oil change. Well, not us, our cars. I woke early, clear on my purpose for the day – do things differently – make a change. Today, I would suggest loading our bikes into his truck so we can ride while our vehicles are being serviced. I’m a bit nervous, afraid he’ll say no. Disappointment is not something I deal well with. To my surprise, he agrees and we’re off.
I’m excited, I have an idea, a vision of the way things should be. This will ultimately be my downfall, the expectation of it all, setting me up once again. As we ride I’m reminded of a time that seems so distant now. A moment of sweet bliss in Big Sky country. Fuchsia skies and snow-topped mountain highs a dozen years passed. Three of us, ‘the little family that could,’ making a life 3,000 miles from ‘home.’ As quick as the memory comes it is gone, but not before I can share it.
I’m desperate to connect, to get him to see me, to hear me. ‘Oh my, can you remember when we used to ride in Montana?’ He smiles and nods, and I see the sparkle in his eyes. We briefly share a moment of recognition as we peddle on. We ride side by side at first, casually traversing the easy streets of downtown. Old Florida homes, manicured lawns, and American flags flying high. I imagine a life where we can spend time doing things like this. A life where we leave behind the ‘children’ of the past and allow ourselves to grow into and embrace the life we were meant to live.
‘Reinvent’ flashing desperately in my head. Not me, I’ve done it, ‘him’ – ‘us.’ Something has to change. He must see it. No doubt, he feels it. I’m awake – no longer sleeping at the wheel. I cannot unlearn what I’ve learned. I can’t un-see what I’ve seen. We spend our lives distracting ourselves from the discomfort of it all. Booze. Drugs. Food. Work. Fitness. Obsession. Distraction. We are all guilty of avoiding the discomfort of life. We do it for different reasons and at different levels, but we all do it.
I’ve seen behind the curtain, making every attempt to share what I’ve seen with those I love. Like my husband, the diabetic of nearly ten years who is at least 80lbs overweight. The man who has one kidney, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. For nearly three years he has watched, listened and learned from my journey. A year of weight loss followed by a year of fitness and healthy living. His reaction? Every January he asks for help, and every January I agree. Three months, this is the maximum amount of time he will commit to any type of mindful living. Smirking and scoffing at my attempts to beg for healthier choices.
We make our way back, an hour ride, breakfast, and dessert, and we’re done. Bikes loaded, one by one we make our way home. I’m bursting with anticipation and contentment, imagining a new beginning. A Life of smarter choices, a life of purpose lived on purpose. I imagine finally connecting as a grown-up couple, a pair of adults free from dysfunction and distraction. Full-color pictures of the way things could be flashing in my sensitive mind. I should have known, I should have felt the high, the dangerous build-up of anticipation and expectation. I should have known better.
Less than a week later; the bike was returned to the store – ‘I’ll never ride it’ he announced. The sparkle in his eyes gone, I knew there was no point in discussing it. I swallowed my disappointment, and the walls raised once again.
Photo by Eduard Militaru