“Okay…so you spent all of these years focusing on self-punishment, which really got you nowhere. I’d say you put enough time and energy into that, wouldn’t you? It’s time to find your inner-strength—we all have it. Sometimes, it gets buried by fear, depression…all the negative stuff. It’s time to focus your energy instead on getting your life back—getting Sevin back—if that’s what you want.”
“Of course, it’s what I want. How do I do it, though, if I’ve shattered his trust?”
“You don’t do it by sitting around focusing on guilt and shaming yourself, baby girl. He needs to know that you’re strong, here for the long haul, that even when he’s trying so hard to punish you with distance, that you’ll be waiting for him when he’s ready.”
“But what if he can never forgive me for giving Rose away?”
“It took two people to create that precious baby. Don’t undermine his own sense of responsibility in all this. Yes, he’s mad that you made a decision without including him, but he’s also angry at himself. He’s admitted that he feels guilty for not being more careful with you, for getting you into that predicament in the first place. I can’t guarantee you that he can get over it completely. Sometimes, we don’t get over painful things, we just learn to live with them.”
Addy was so wise. She always made me see things in a different light.
“Okay, so if I want to earn back his trust…where do I start?”
“You start with you. I think you need to talk to someone other than me—a professional—to come to terms with the guilt first. Only then will you regain the strength you need to fight for Sevin.”
I ended up taking her advice and booking an appointment with a local therapist, Dr. Zinger. It took a while to get in to see him, since there weren’t many practices taking new patients locally.
After several sessions, he’d helped talk me through the subjects that I’d been avoiding the most. Nestled into his tweed loveseat while overlooking the oak tree outside his office window, I’d opened up about the most upsetting things, like Sevin’s intimacy with Elle, the circumstances of her death and giving up Rose. Lots of tears were shed on that couch. Facing those tough topics wasn’t easy, but it was necessary to my eventual recovery. Dr. Zinger’s goals for me were a lot like the serenity prayer: gaining the strength to change the things I could and to accept the things I couldn’t.
Sevin was making it extremely clear that the ball was in my court. He hadn’t come around except on the shop’s reopening day. I’d catch him sneaking looks at me while I was working, but he avoided conversation and never stayed for the celebratory supper that night.
One of the realizations I’d come to through my sessions with Dr. Zinger was that Sevin had always been the fighter when it came to us. Even in the early days, he was always the one so sure and confident in what we had. He always maintained that nothing could break us, as long as we stuck together. I was always the one who ran. Not anymore. It was my time to step up to the plate, prove my love to him—run to him, not away from him.
I’d rehashed what I planned to say over and over during the drive to Sevin’s that night. He’d recently moved out of the guesthouse and purchased a small two bedroom home on the outskirts of Dodge City. It was further away from everyone and in my mind, the move represented his alienating himself from us.
I double checked the address written down on a slip of paper to make sure I was pulling up to the right place. When I confirmed Sevin’s house number, all of the practiced words in my head seemed to evaporate when I spotted a familiar beige Toyota parked out front.
What was she doing here?
The old Evangeline might have turned right back around and returned to Addy’s. Instead, with my heart palpitating, I got out and slammed the door to the used Chevy that I’d recently purchased, unintentionally closing it on the skirt of my dress.
Overcome by a feeling of wild possession, I marched to his door and knocked hard. My breath was visible in the cold night air as I exhaled.
I was not going to lose him now.
When he appeared at the door, relief washed over me upon the realization that he was fully clothed. She was sitting at the kitchen counter.
Sevin looked shocked to see me. “Evangeline…”
“What is she doing here?” I asked.
“Nancy was just visiting.”
Stepping down from the stool, she said, “I’d better leave…”
“Yes. You should,” I retorted.
Sevin lifted his brow at me, his mouth curving into an unexpectedly amused smile in reaction to my blatant jealousy.
“I’m sorry, Nance. Thank you for coming by.”
“Of course.” She forced a smile at him. Without looking at me further, she grabbed her brown leather satchel.
He walked her to the door, and she whispered something to him before lightly kissing him on the cheek. I knew I had no right to feel this way, but I was burning with jealousy. I’d been working so hard to get myself to a place where I could muster up the courage to see him, and her presence was a really unwelcome surprise.
After she left, his stare was penetrating, even though his expression still reflected a slight amusement. “Well, that was rude.”
“I don’t want you with her.”
“I’m not with her. She came by to check on me. I told her about Rose. You’re seriously jealous after everything you’ve put me through?”