Two weeks after my meltdown, I was feeling better, calmer, almost as if it were my normal state, except I now had these pills to take every day, Paxil, diazepam in the morning, zopiclone at night. Combined with the twice a day anti-hypertension meds, I sometimes found I had to concentrate on what I was doing. I reflected on the confusion elderly patients must have with their handfuls of meds. I found it depressing to think maybe I was now an elderly patient myself.
I was sleeping through the night now, though felt hung-over till noon. I was beginning to feel steadier, more positive. My thoughts would drift to Emily from time to time but the frantic feeling had ebbed. However, my mood was also flatter. The mania had stopped, but the manuscript lay untouched on my desk. I wondered if people with true bi-polar disease felt like this.
I spent a very pleasant week with daughter Shannon and her family at their rental cottage in Cordova. Swimming, reading, feasting, walking to the newspaper box with my granddaughter each day, were greatly therapeutic.
Thursday evening, as I was preparing to return to the city the next day, a text appeared on my i-Phone from that old familiar number. The message the familiar, <Hi>.
My heart skipped a beat, and I wondered what I should do. I went to my room and closed the door.
We exchanged small talk for a bit. Emily mentioned that she was going away for the long mid-summer weekend with family and friends to ‘the cottage’. It struck me it was only twleve months ago that I first heard of ‘the cottage’. I shrugged to myself.
<Why did you text me Emily?>
<Can I send you a YouTube video I’ve been listening to?> she asked.
I listened to an Air Supply tune from the 90’s, not exactly my genre: ‘Having you near me, Holding you near me, To stay and never go away.’
I texted her, <that’s very nice>.
Emily replied:<I’ve been listening to it over and over again, and crying and crying.
<I’m imagining you are singing it to me.>
I texted back: <Why are you crying?>
But she didn’t answer the question.
We texted well into the night. I told her about my melt down. She said she knew about it from Isabella. I told her about my granddaughter not having the courage to jump off the old Preston Road trestle bridge into the Crowe River.
<That’s me on that bridge!> Emily exclaimed.
<You should just push me.>
I could feel the emotion welling up in me, despite the meds.
<I’m not going to push you.> I texted.
<You have to jump yourself. But I’ll jump with you. I’ll hold your hand.>
I drove back to Ottawa the next day. She called me at four o’clock. We talked for two hours. The upshot of the whole conversation was simple.
‘I’ll jump with you.’
‘Okay,’ I said, ‘We’ll jump together.’
Saturday I ordered a bouquet of flowers to be delivered to her house the following Tuesday. Tuesday morning I called her. I asked her to go to dinner with me the next evening, August 8, and I wanted her answer before she got the flowers.
‘It would be my 49th Wedding Anniversary with Marlene on Wednesday and I want to acknowledge it somehow. Would you come to dinner with me? It will be very gentle. We don’t have to talk about anything.’
‘Yes,’ she said, ‘I would be honoured.’
Dinner was a confusing jumble of emotions. I was calm and somewhat detached, evaluating and savouring the evening. ‘Must be the meds’, I thought to myself. Emily was jumpy, couldn’t sit still. Emily paid one last visit to the washroom as I paid the bill. I explained to the staff that the reason Emily was so animated was because we were going to get married in November. Emily appeared at this point and laughed as I recounted the tale.
‘Not likely,’ she said.
We tumbled onto the street. Emily kicked off her sandals and walked barefoot to the car. I opened the door and she climbed into it, and just as quickly popped back out again. She threw her arms around my neck and kissed me, strongly, ‘I love you so much!’
‘I am so happy,’ I said. ‘I can’t believe you have come back to me.’
‘If you hadn’t been so rush and plushy, I wouldn’t be here,’ she said with a big grin.
‘I have to tell Rick tomorrow what I’ve decided.’
I sent her an encouraging text during the day and true to her word she called me around 4:30.
‘I told him it was over between us. He said he was very confused, he wanted to know why, but I couldn’t tell him. I just said I didn’t have feelings for him.’
She paused for a few moments.
‘I’m very tired now. I need to deal with my sister.
‘Please give me some space while I fix things with her.
‘I’ll see you on your birthday, okay? Then I will jump with you in September.’
‘But for now, please give me some space.’
I said, ‘Okay, honey. You’ve been very brave.’ But deep down I was worried. This was going to be a very long two weeks.
The next day I went to Isabella’s house for dinner and told her what had happened. Isabella was pleased with this development and very happy for Emily.
‘Now you have to marry her. And give her a baby!
‘But first you have to do what she says, she needs to have some space.’
I wasn’t so sure. Giving her space hadn’t worked before.
Over the week I sent her some gentle texts. She didn’t reply.
Then came the fateful text message.
<During the last two weeks, I’ve thought a lot a mo vito my life, and I feel that it would be better for me to not be involved in your life.
<I’m not going to take the time to explain all the reasons why.
<I just want to move forward with my life.
<Do not call me, text me or send me any more letters
<I am going to block you from replying
<RESPECT MY DECISION
<My decision is final and you need to move on with your life.>
I was devastated, yet somehow this was not unexpected. But I was crushed by the way she had done it, by text, by the cold, heartless tone of the text, and the fact that she gave no reasons why. And on the anniversary of Marlene’s death, and a week before my birthday.
I tried to reach her but true to her statement, she blocked me on her i-Phone.
For the next two weeks I brooded and processed, trying to put this latest blow in its final place. The Saturday following Marlene’s birthday I felt the panic and despair returning, the shaking and uncontrollable sobbing. I had to leave the house. I drove around aimlessly, thinking I should get some groceries and supplies for the dogs. But I found myself at Emily’s apartment. I called the intercom. Her sister answered. When she had realized it was me, she said Emily was not at home. I struggled to drive myself home.
I had another full-blown melt-down. In desperation I called Isabella. ‘Do you want me to come over there?’ she asked, alarmed.
Isabella had to call Emily for my address. She asked her to call me. Emily told Isabella she would, but she never did.
‘Doug,’ Isabella told him, ‘let her go. Get yourself well and let her go!’
I paused and turned to her with an anguished look on my face.
‘Why?, Isabella, why?’
‘I don’t know Doug. She is very unhappy. We never talk now.
‘I asked her if she was back with Rick again. She said she was ‘but that is not the point. I can’t live the life Mr. D wants me to live.’’
‘I think you are making a big mistake,’ Isabella had said to her.
‘‘Well if I am I will just have to live with it.’’
But, how was I going to live with it?