This story is a part of The Black Snob’s two-week series, “Doomed Romance,” tales of love lost and love gone wrong. Aug. 19 we examined just the beginning of my own doomed relationship with my ex-husband.
Absence may make the heart grow fonder, but it can also cause the heart to wander. Our first contributor to “Doomed Romance,” The Drifter, found love but let it go. Maybe it was too far, too fast, too soon. But as they gave each other space to work out their apprehensions they pushed their love right out of the picture.
I will admit that my romance with a US Peace Corps volunteer was doomed. We met in the West Indies, me a teacher, and him working with the corps. We dated for a while. I was black, he was white, and although he was the second white man I dallied with, he was the first man with whom I fell in love with.
Dating him was a trip, because “H” really made me laugh just by being. He liked Ernest Shackleton, believed that optimism was the greatest moral courage, liked short stories and yo-yos. H was a great guy, but we thought we were getting serious too quickly, so we took a step back, and another and another… and ended the relationship, no hard feelings. I’d say that H has taught me that love is love, race and culture be damned.
Even though he was from Riverside, Calif. and I hailed from Kingston, Jamaica, we bonded over bad jokes, sibling rivalries, living through bad parental marriages and ska. Being with him, I learned that in order to make a relationship work, you have to throw your heart into it, and not to hold everything back. I stepped back because I was scared that H would thwart my future plans, because I’d throw away everything to be with him. I think H was frightened that we were moving so far so fast, and he needed to breathe. Whatever it was – we both saw the escape route and grabbed at it – something that I’ve regretted ever since.
When H and I were drifting apart, and trying to get the strength to break off the relationship, I met (my now) husband, “W.” W liked me from the get go, he really did, but I was truthful and told him that I was trying to reconcile my feelings with someone else. W allowed me the space to do so, to let H go, to sit down and decide if I wanted a relationship with him so soon after my relationship with H broke down.
Long story short, we got married and we are happy eight years later.
But sometimes, I will admit, that when I see a man of H’s height (6 ft) colouring (reddish-blonde hair and blue eyes), I do pause. Just a bit, then I nod to myself and remember him and that year – for a moment. It happens less and less now as I get older, but I’ll never forget H. My relationship right now, is one that I’ve decided to stick through for better or worse (within reason!), because love requires you to be brave and to commit.