Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Moving on Toward Happiness

"Maybe it's time to move on," Tanya thought to herself.  Although she knew she loved Jim, she also knew that more often than not she felt completely and absolutely drained by the relationship.

"Perhaps it would be easier if we could be together," she thought.  She understood the warnings that people had given about the hardship of maintaining a long distance relationship.  All they could do was talk on the phone; no date nights, no sitting in front of the TV, no kisses or hugs.  Just words.  It seemed that lately Jim overanalyzed every sentence she spoke.  Her words were taken out of context and used against her.  Tanya felt that either Jim didn't love her or that he loved her too much, in some weird possessive way that made her uncomfortable.  

Sure, she went out with friends and, sure, some were men. But they travelled in groups and everything was completely innocent.  She had no interest in other men, no interest in flirting or pursuing any romantic relationship.  All of her friendships were completely platonic, so why didn't Jim trust her?  

She understood some of his reasoning, of course. She had lied to him once but that was long ago, and she was only telling him what he wanted, or needed to hear. She didn't mean to betray his trust.  Rather, she was trying to protect his feelings.  And, in a way, trying to protect herself. Tanya knew that she was wrong, but it hadn't seemed like that big a deal at the time. Apparently it was, at least to Jim.

And now, because they weren't together physically, she had no way to prove that she was being truthful.  He doubted everything--every friendship she told him about, every outing she enjoyed without him.  What was she supposed to do--sit alone in front of the TV every night?

For a few days Tanya had even considered giving up her career and relocating just to be with him.  She believed that being together would solve everything.  

"We love each other; surely we can fix these problems," they both believed. But that was several weeks and countless arguments ago. Tanya no longer believed that now.  

"Will tonight's call turn into another shouting match?"  she wondered.  "Will he yell at me again about what a liar I am?  I don 't want to hear those ugly names he calls me.  Maybe I just won't answer the phone."  

And yet, she still held on to the dream of love that they once shared.  So when the phone rang, Tanya answered out of curiosity, hoping that maybe this time would be different.  Accepting the call, her confidence deflated as Jim spoke.  Nothing had changed for him.  It was clear to Tanya:  she could not continue; it was time for both of them to find some peace in moving on.

Tanya decided then and there.  She blocked his emails and subscribed to caller I.D., enabling her to ignore his attempts at communication.  She loved Jim and always would. She had grown in this relationship and she hoped to remember the good times they shared.  But right now Tanya needed to take care of herself.  Moving on was the only way for her to renew her sense of worth.  Her happiness depended on it.


Lin said...

Stale relationships are far too common as people would rather suffer than to be alone. Hooray for your heroine, that she walked away from something that didn't make herself feel good. Nice story. Brave ending.

Tao Master said...

I like your story but I believe that there are two things I would like to know more about 1) the lie that she told - flesh this out and your readers will love you for that, For example: "I guess I should have told him about Steve and that night we met to share 'the good old days' but I knew Larry would not understand and get jealous. I mean who doesn't wonder about what might have happened. Still that was five years ago, she thought, could larry still be holding that against her ?

The second thing I would like to know is - what is their relationship ? Are they lovers or are they living together or are they married ? In other words, how hard will it be for the main character to end this relationship ?
It is more than blocking emails and caller id, he knows where she lives and can send letters. Or does he own this house and there is a divorce coming ?
Once again I would say flesh this out, give us the readers more details, draw us into this world, make us care about this wooman. Also give us a clue as to how hard it is to walk away from this relationship - what was so good about it ? Physical relations ? Overall I think this is a good start. Keep writing on it and bring the new version to class.

Tao Master said...

Sorry I think I referred to Jim as Larry. Oh well. Another question is - why are they apart ? You said his job but what is his job ? Is it more important than Tanya ? What does she think ? What is her job ? Is it more important than Jim ?
I think I have about a bazzillion questions about this story. How old is Tanya ? Did she once need a man to protect her ? Has she grown and no longer needs ? Does the physical distance between them reflect the emotional distance between them ? Could she call him back and say it is over ? Is she afraid of what he would do ? What do her friends think ? Is she a democrat and he a republican ? Or vice versa ? If he was so possessive of her, why did he leave her behind ? Is he a momma's boy ? Does he drink a lot ? How does she suport herself ? well, good enough or barely ? What are the things that she does that upset him ? Bowling ? Opera ? Race car driving ? Can you think of any questions ?
Later - Frank