Sanctuary for the Abused
Thursday, April 27, 2006
WHEN GOODBYE IS NEVER SPOKEN
As night settled into its soggy wet blanket, the pooch and I went for a walk. The rain beat a sibilant hiss upon the shiny black road, the streetlights glowed iridescently, casting golden orbs of light, punctuating holes into the dark shadows of the night. I was wrapped in the misty blanket of a rainy west coast evening, my skin moistened by the water-laden air, my breath a frosty vapor leading me silently forward. The pooch pranced happily by my side, her tail a constant metronome displaying the tempo of her happiness as we journeyed forth into the dark.
It was a mystical, magical evening. A night for quiet thoughts that drifted through my mind as effortlessly as the raindrops falling one-by-one from the pearl clad branches all around me.
I thought of love found and love lost and moving on. Of new relationships and old. New found love and love that never fulfills its promise by growing old. Of promises made and promises broken. Journeys taken and voyages lost because the voyageur could not see by the light of the moon and lost his way among the stars. And I thought of my brother to whom I had never said good-bye. And the Psychopath to whom good-bye was just another word for the door is always open until I say so.
For such a little word, good-bye carries a mighty wallop.
Good-bye can mean, see you in a while, or see you in a year. It can carry us into the night on the hope of tomorrow or it can sweep all hope away as we look back and see there will never be a next time, another day, or a new tomorrow.
For those who have journeyed into the valley of the Narcissist or Psychopath, good-bye is a word fraught with the fear that once spoken it can never be returned. It lays frozen upon our tongues, our minds numb in the fear it might slide out on a breath of air and change our lives forever. Terrified we might slip, we pack our hopes and dreams into that one little word and stuff our pride and dignity into the cracks of our pain seeping in beneath the door held fast against our fear. And all the while, we search for the perfect last words that will either make it all right or make him hear us, just this once, before he slithers off into the dark from whence he came.
And as we flounder in the depths of empty words and promises, we pray that there will never be a time to say good-bye but rather welcome back, I've missed you. Spiraling into the darkness of the painfully long good-bye they began when they said, hello, we silently hold onto the word that will set us free and stumble through the words of begging them to please not say it.
But destiny waits for no man, and the door we thought we held so firmly closed is always open, until, eventually we must face the reality that we will never have the chance to say our fond farewells. They have already left. Gone in search of new tomorrows. Of some other happily ever after.
In their passing, we are left holding the shreds of our battered hearts in the basket of our dreams, frozen in time. Alone, forlorn, we whisper, good-bye, into the empty space that lays before us, hoping they will hear the soft promise of our hopes they will find out there, that which they could never find in us. We peer into the darkness of the lengthening shadows, our tears puddling around our feet, forming a river into which we fall, in fear of drowning as we cry out for one last chance to say good-bye.
It’s such a little word but it keeps us stuck on the dream of wanting them back so that we can say, Good-bye.
In the end, the best good-bye is the one we tell ourselves as we pick at the scab of our wounds that never seem to heal.
We will never find the key that will unlock the secret door to their understanding. It resides somewhere in the dark, beyond the edges of the light. But, beneath the scabby, jagged-edge scar of our disbelief, new skin is forming. If we leave it alone long enough to heal from the inside out, we will understand that it was only our shadow we feared. And then, one day, we lift our heads and see, the sun is shining. As it beckons, we step into the light of finally knowing, the only way to say good- bye to what never was, is to accept it never will be.
Written by: M.L. Gallagher