On February 1, 2007, Juan and I met for dinner at Lebanese Taverna.  It was one of our favorite places.  In better days we would go to the fancy restaurant in downtown DC to celebrate special occasions–our anniversary, my birthday, a promotion.  By the time the owners had decided to open this casual cafe within walking distance of our home our relationship was already falling apart.  We would not eat together in the cafe ever on happy occasions but in those bitter two years of our first separation, we went there alot. It was a resting place, neutral ground, a connection to our better days–just not the same.

That night, sitting at a table, our falafel finished, a cup of strong coffee shared between us, we agreed that after almost 2 years of separation, after 3 years of a marriage on the rocks, after over 10 years of being together, it was time to let go.  That night we negotiated the terms that would be our separation/divorce agreement.  That agreement would take months to draft.  It would be September before it was signed, but that night it was born.  It became real.  We held hands one last time and finally let go.

That night I came home and cried for 24 hours straight.  I mourned the loss of everything that was good about us.  I mourned everything that we could have been if only…I grieved for Max and I grieved for us, for the possibility that was lost that night.

It was not that long ago when we were sure we would make it through anything.  We used to sit on our couch, snuggled up and smug, and talk about friends of ours who’s marriages were struggling.  We would be different we said.  We were unique.  We were strong and connected.  But now we were broken, just like them.  We were no different. We too had failed each other.   

That night I was inconsolable, as sad as I had been since the day Juan told me he was leaving me.  Everywhere I looked I saw his ghost and the ghost of the happy family we had once been.  It was a cruel home-movie playing over and over in my head, right in front of my eyes. 

 The only thing that kept me together for the next 24 hours was Dagoba Xocolatl chocolate, Chai tea by the pot and this song, play by these musicians.    And breathing.  Lots of deep breathing. 

All night while Max slept, all the next morning while he went to school and I moped around in my pjs, I played this video over and over again, like a lovesick teenager.  It made me sob but it also stirred something in me, gave me great hope.  I listened to this sweet cover and recognized that even though I felt real intensely horrible pain, that beauty, music, and love were ever-present.  That all I had to do was reach out and touch it.  It was a balm that soothed the rawest wounds deep in my heart. 

For two years there had been little music in our house.  The only CD’s that were played were Max’s.  Children’s music. My ipod was stuck in a drawer.  I didn’t want to sing.  I didn’t want to dance.  Those were things that only happy people did.   But 24 hours of tears finally washed my wounds clean, and I was ready for music again.

The next day  I went out and bought speakers for my ipod.  I dug all my old cds out of my closet.  I bought a few more.  I turned up the music loud and sang my heart out every day.  And I started to let myself finally heal.

As the weather grows chilly and I reach for the Chai, I instinctively reach for the Roses (Cousins and Polenzani). Let us all sing along with a heart wide open. For I love it when you sing to me.