February 16th, 1958
I went to see Helen O'Conner in Oklahoma! with Bobby yesterday. Helen played Ado Annie and she was fabulous; it was really a break out roll for her. Bobby and I had a rollicking time; I had forgotten how amusing he could be when he wants to be. And, of course, he's so caring. He listened to me blather on about Aaron again, but though I tried to keep it to a minimum this visit- a large feat considering the holiday of the two days ago…
Valentine's Day was Friday, and I couldn't stop thinking about Aaron. Every year when we were married he would bring me a dozen red and white roses and leave them somewhere in the townhouse for me to find. I didn't tell Bobby that I spent all of Friday after leaving work sobbing on the couch, imagining that I would find the roses hidden in every corner of the apartment, Aaron's broad smile greeting me from around the doorway, waiting to see my expression…
Of course his smile's gone now. He's gone. I must keep reminding myself that I was the one who ended it; I was the one who put it to a stop. I should be feeling relieved, I should be moving on, I shouldn't feel like every breath I take doesn't give me enough air, because he's not in the room- because he doesn't love me.
All I can think about is the expression on his face when he got the divorce papers. Those eyes, so lost, so hopeless, broke my heart into a thousand pieces.
But I had to stick to my reasons. Bobby was absolutely right. I couldn't be drawn in by a piteous look and a few empty apologies. Aaron took me for granted, and I had to stand up for myself. I am a modern woman; after all, it's 1958, and spouting out encouragement and praise without anything in return is not what a modern woman deserves.
Of course I understand his continuous concentration on his music. I write the same songs; I should be able to understand his obsession with his work better than anyone. But every evening, there was another re-write, another frustrated groan as he tossed an entire composition out the window. It just grew tiring; always trying to boost his confidence, help him out, when he was shutting me out. Didn't he understand that he needed me? That I needed him?
That I need him.
I still need him. The longer we are apart, the stronger it grows. My chest aches from the emptiness. There is a void that only he can fill that burns me in his absence. I have tried to move on, I swear that I have. I took a job at Father's company filing papers before I figure out what's next for me in life. I never want to leave the theater business, but how can I continue when every song reminds me of him, every accompanist looks like him, every lyric I write is about him? Why am I always thinking about him?
I say I have tried to move on; Bobby in particular encourages it, but I cannot. Bobby is always there for advice; he's been with me through all the ups and downs, the lows and the highs. I'm so grateful for it. I don't think I could have survived this without him.
But Bobby will always be just a friend, and friends cannot fill the gap, the hole, that used to be my life with Aaron. Nothing can fill the gap. Nothing but him.
I wish I were stronger.
I wish I could go up to Aaron and tell him exactly what he's missing.
I wish I could shout at him every reason that I left so that he would finally get it through his cursedly beautiful head that there are two people in a marriage, not one.
I wish that, when I saw Aaron with Barbara last year, I had walked right up to her and slapped her in the face. I wish that I had dragged him off with me and showed him what he had been missing when he took me for granted.
But of course I didn't. What did I do? I ran out the door and didn't look back. I got the papers drawn up for our divorce, and mailed them to him. I didn't even have the nerve to give them to him in person. I am such a coward!
It was Valentine's Day on Friday. Of course I didn't think about the hurt he caused me, the painful neglect I felt, or the resentment that burned deep down. Oh, no, I only thought of his broad smile, loving eyes, soft lips, melodic voice… and the dozen red and white roses I will never receive again.