Colten’s Story (Cousin)

Just a few more minutes.  You can do it, hold it in for a few more minutes.  Just long enough to park in the drive way, walk through the side door to the garage, into the house, past the kitchen, down the stairs and you got a straight shot to your room.  You can’t let them see the emotions waiting to burst forth, exposing your heartache to an outsider. Please don’t let them see me.  Please.

He was missing her again.

He wanted nothing more as he drove home from work then to be back in their 3rd floor apartment, cuddled up close under a blanket.  Their two four-legged fur ball ‘kids’ purring in their laps, enjoying the warmth and comfort their parents offered up lovingly.  Movie night.

Barely making it through the house and down the stairs before letting a small whimper choke out, he was thankful one of the longest 20 second journeys of his life towards his room had drawn close to its end.  As he reached the bottom of the stairs he couldn’t hold up much longer;  his vision started filling with a watery haze.  At last minute he pushed through towards the mini fridge with the Bud Light and the bottle of Yagermeister he’d purchased a couple of weeks back.

What’re you doing?  You’ve never had a desire to drink in this state, let alone by yourself.

Bottle in hand, he reverted back to his original path and ultimately reached his room, hurrying the door shut behind him.  Crashing to his knees and landing face first on his bed – it all came out.  He only vaguely realizes he’s bawling harder than he’s bawled before as he remembers something she recently told him.

Visions of the statement rush through him, like a searing hot knife through his chest.  Causing him physical pain, he imagines her lying in that familiar, warm, comfortable bed sleeping soundly.  She’s so gorgeous when she sleeps, with no worries to mask her natural beauty.  Peaceful and serene, she mumbles something barely audible as she gently reaches her right leg towards mine for comfort in the night; a soft gesture to express love, and remind herself that she’s not alone – except this time he’s not there.  She finds an empty void, and is jolted awake.  As she realizes where she is, who’s not with her, she feels her heart drop – that’s when the sobbing returns, with no end in feasible sight.

Why can’t she just understand why?  Can’t she believe that my love for her is deeper than any before her?  Does she honestly think that I’m doing this to myself, to us, so that I can live frivolously?

His senses remind him of the bottle in his hand.

I might as well.  If I’m going to be blamed for it, I may as well reap what little temporary benefit it has to offer.  Why not?  It’ll numb this pain. . . at least for tonight.

Laying there on his bed with red puffy eyes, a fresh stream of tears silently gushes down his temples and into his hair as he stares at the ceiling, his thoughts continue their torture.

Maybe I should just keep pretending.  If I keep pretending, we can be together.  And then maybe I’ll find some truth to the whole “fake it ‘til you make it” motto. I can do that, right?  Attend a church that gives me a gut-wrenching feeling every time I’m there, perform cultish ordinances in a temple I don’t believe is necessary to my eternal family, and sing praises to a man who I’m supposing to believe restored the one true church on this earth?  Shouldn’t be too hard.

His mind flashes back to that same 3rd floor apartment.  He’s doing homework on his new macbook at the kitchen table, while he can hear and smell his favorite dish cooking just behind him.  She always knew how to make him happy with her cooking, though she’d never acknowledge her own skill.  She didn’t always know how amazing she was.  He gets up from his homework, looks at her from behind as she works casually over the stove.  Suddenly, his hands slip from the sides of her hips, to pass one another as he gently curls her into him from behind.  He leans his face toward her shoulder as he gently leans in to kiss her softly on the neck just before whispering “I love you” sweetly into her ear.  His favorite thing was feeling her ears go up as part of her reactive smile. . . she leans the side of her head against his forehead and they both enjoy the brief, tender moment of bliss.

What’s the point, he thinks to himself, lying there with dried tears down the side of his face, drinking’s not going to do anything for the pain.  It never was.  I never thought it would.  But seriously, why wouldn’t I do the very thing that’s apparently taking all the credit for my leaving not only the church, but the woman I loved more than anything?  Why would I put myself through this hell? I’ve been lying to myself – and others – for too long.  I know I did the right thing by giving both of us a second chance at the life we each deserve. . . I just wish it wasn’t so fucking difficult.

As he sits up in his bed, he looks over at the unopened bottle.  Slowly, he stands up and submits himself to braving the journey to the mini-fridge just outside his room, to return the supposed culprit to its home.

(read Colten’s blog here)

(read more stories here)


3 thoughts on “Colten’s Story (Cousin)

  1. Thank you for sharing that, Colten. I understand you a little bit better because of it. David and I have found a way to live very peaceably together, even though he is a believer and I am not; but we are older, and I am not certain that would be possible if we were your age and facing an entire lifetime together, I am sorry for the loss of your marriage. I sincerely wish we could’ve all found a way to stay… without giving up our integrity.

  2. I really like getting a peek into the WHY of some of the family members that have left. Thank you all for sharing. I am sorry for all of the pain it caused you. That is part of why I am curious, because while there were painful moments for me, I was not tortured by my deciosion to leave. Probably because I was never very invested in the church in the first place and I always had issues with what I was being taught. Thanks, Jeff, for putting these stories to good use.

  3. OMGosh! You guys have all written such moving stories with such a plethora of rollercoaster-ing emotions and am grateful you have shared with us. I am so sorry for your grief and the heartache that accompanied your choice but it takes a lot to love someone so much you feel the best thing for each other is not each other. I can’t imagine the strength it would take to understand and realize that. I hope you can at least carry the good with you and with time the pain will subside. Thank you for sharing!

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