Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Sad Toenails

I had thought today's posting would be different. I already planned, in my head, what I was going to write, what the title would be. I planned who I would call first, whom second. What I would wear. What I would say. How I would react.

Today, D. and I were supposed to announce our engagement.

After more than 2 very rocky years, 26 months of on and off dating, of loving, of fighting, and mostly of D. telling me "Its not that I don't want to marry you, it's just that I'm not ready yet". Today D. told me the truth.

Things have been going swimmingly. He's been very attentive, very commitment-y. A few weeks ago he told me, "I'm ready to get married". So I told him, Great! Let's announce our engagement. He said he wanted to wait til he bought a ring, til he "proposed" properly. Two weeks ago he said "What about March for our wedding?" I reminded him I'd be finishing up finals then. So he said, "So then we'll do it in January, before exams."

We started talking about dates, places, where we would buy an apartment. We planned on having an engagement party during Chol Hamoed Sukkot.

This Saturday night D. asked me if I would have dinner with him Tuesday night. We would meet at this Indian restaurant I love near his army base. Last night he asked me to meet him at his base instead. He took my ID number, so he could get security clearance for me to enter. He was very specific. He wanted me there at 4:30 pm, exactly. Clearly, something was up. I knew he'd be proposing today. No one gets security clearance to enter the base. Last night he told me "You'll have an early birthday present tomorrow."

I was up all night, tossing and turning. Wondering, would D. come through this time? And if he did, was I making the right decision by saying yes?

The past 2 years ran through my head. Of D.'s infinite patience. And of the time when I had a suspicious tumor in my breast, and he refused to come with me to the hospital for a biopsy. Of the wonder in his eyes when Sharona, our dog, gave birth to her puppies. Of the sadness in mine when he told me "I'm just not ready yet."

Eventually I got up. I was conscious of my mother's sagely (experienced) warning, not to be too hopeful, since D. has disappointed me before. I told no one of D.'s plans/my suspicions that he'd be proposing today. Last night a few friends asked me how things were going with D. I simply said "Well".

I wasn't sure what to do today. I wanted to dress up, to prettify myself. I wanted to look gorgeous when D. asked me to spend my life with him. On the other hand, if he didn't ask me, if my suspicions were incorrect, I'd feel foolish. And disappointed. So I didn't want to prepare too much. I didn't want to get my hopes up.

I waited til about 1 pm to glam up. If he hadn't called to cancel by then, I figured I was safe. I did my toenails in bright red. I painted my fingernails a demure ivory. I knew people would be looking at my hand to see the ring. I agonized over my outfit. Do I wear a skirt to feel girly? Or do I wear jeans to be myself?

By about 2 pm, I headed over to my parents house, to drop off the dog. I need to be at the bus station by about 3 in order to be at D.'s base by his 4:30 meeting time. At 2:41 I headed out the door. Just then my cellphone rang.

I didn't have to look, didn't have to answer, I knew it was D. And it was. As soon as he said "Hello", I knew. I knew I had painted my nails in vain. Knew it didn't make a difference what outfit I'd chosen. Knew that instead of going through my pre-arranged list of friends to call to share the good news, I'd be calling friends to cry on their shoulder.

He told me "Today was supposed to be the day. I have a ring in my hand. But I can't go through with it. It doesn't feel right all the time. I can't do it, not now, not ever."

I cried, I told him he had hurt me for the last time. He said "I know. I know this is it, and that's what I'm calling to say."

He sounded sad, but resolute. Just like last night. When he'd sounded thrilled, excited and resolute.

And now I know that everyone was right. My mother, my friends, my coworkers. Everyone knew he'd never marry me. That he was just lying. He told me, "I'm sorry I lied to you. I lied to myself too."

It was just me out there. In love and willing to believe D., even though history had shown me that was a foolish thing.

And I stare down at my bright red toenails, which now match the rims around my eyes, and the look sad to me. They are evidence that I believed and got hurt and that a man, no a boy, broke my heart and I believed him anyway. I think my toenails are crying too.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Noa --

Nothing I could say could possibly heal what you're feeling, but I just want you to know that you have many friends for support, even ones literally halfway around the world. I don't have anything to make you feel better, but I share the pain you are feeling, in truth.

May this New Year be a time of great growth, healing, and tremendously fulfilling and beautiful love for you. Gmar Chatimah Tovah. :-)

JH in LA

6:49 PM  
Blogger Adam Ragil said...

Oh Noa, I feel so terrible for you, and I feel foolish saying that because you're a complete and utter stranger to me, but there it is. I feel terrible for you.

The only thing I can think to say is something my father once told me... better a broken engagment, than a broken marriage, and better no engagament that a broken one. Small comfort, I know, I know.

I hope you have a strong, trustworthy shoulder to cry on, and I hope you bounce back quickly.
Gemar Chatima Tova, Noa.

Adam Ragil

11:41 PM  
Blogger MoChassid said...

Noa, what Adam says.

I pray that one day soon you will look back at this day not as a sad day but as your day of redemption.

Be strong and May Hashem bless you with a gmar chasimah tova.

11:50 PM  
Blogger Esther Kustanowitz said...

Oh, how horrible. I'd be a fool not to agree with the people who said it's for the best. But I know that doesn't help. All that will help is time, looking good, and moving on with your life to find happiness elsewhere. I have a few friends who are divorcing and it's an ugly business. Life's too precious to waste it on people who don't appreciate us. You have sisters- (and brothers-) in-arms around the world, even those of us for whom this is our first glimpse of you. But you're articulate and sensitive, and undoubtedly, deserve much better.

A new year, fresh starts, new chances for happiness. I wish you a shanah tovah umetukah.

Your new friend,

2:53 AM  
Blogger Adrian said...

I am so sorry to hear that and to hear your crying. All I can offer is a metaphorical hug.

2:51 PM  
Blogger annabel lee said...

I'm so sorry. That's a rotten start to a New Year, but I hope and pray that 5765 will bring you only goodness and hope and joy and comfort and love. I've never met you -- I've never even read your blog until today -- but my heart aches for you, and I hope that these comments froms friends and strangers can bring you some small measure of comfort and strength.

7:45 PM  
Blogger Noa said...

Joel - Thanks for the cross-global love. I appreciate it! When you coming out for a visit?

Adam - I'll add one on to your dad's saying. Better a divorce (or a broken engagement or a broekn heart) than an unhappy marriage. Which is probably exactly what I would have been. Marryind Dave would have been a pyrrhic victory at best.

MOchassid - How was the bike ride? And let's hope the really bad first week of this year will be a kapparah for the rest of it.

Esther - thanks. I need all the friends I can find! Look forward to getting to "know you" better.

Annabel Lee and Adrian - Yup, its peeps like you that make me think "I'm not so bad". Thanks for the wishes

9:40 AM  
Blogger Shoshana said...

Your story made me cry for you. I could say the same things everyone has already said - that you are better off, whatever, but right now, I know that it doesn't help that much.

Time will help. Right now just know that it is okay and completely normal to be sad and upset and eat lots of chocolate and cry whenever you want.

I hope this new year brings you healing and many positive developments into your life.

2:30 PM  
Blogger singlegalnyc said...

Hi Noa,
I'd like to add my good wishes for a year of health, happiness, success and much more suitable suitors in the coming year. I felt terrible to read your story and you definitely deserve a man (not a boy, you are right) who will treat you like gold. Hang in there and remember that things can only get better (as they slowly are for me, if you read my blog.) It was great to read your blog - also for the first time today - and I will link to you.
Best wishes and have a meaningful fast!

2:01 PM  
Blogger PepGiraffe said...

Just wanted you to know that someone else is out here thinking about you and wishing you well. I thought I'd be married now, too. Moved way 'cross the country to be with someone I loved and who loved me. Someone whose letters promised me that I would never have to feel alone again because our souls had found one another.

But now I am alone and it took me a very long time not weep at the unexpectedness of it all. Yes, I am now in a place and time where, in spite of this, I am twelve times happier than I ever would have been if I hadn't moved. Still, one by one, friends get married, pair off, find the one in whom their soul delights and almost all of them are younger than I am. And as happy as I am for them - and I am - sometimes I feel imprisoned by self-pity and, I can't help it, self-hate.

So you are not alone. Maybe knowing this doesn't help. Maybe it does. I hope so. And I hated When Harry Met Sally, specifically because that scene upsets me so much.

12:28 AM  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

I am sorry to hear this. I hope things go much better for you and that your toenails will be happy again.

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