Precious Stones

I thought my husband was so sexy. I told him often that I loved his legs and I loved his shoulders and the back of his arms. I loved his sense of humor. It was like my little secret. In public he was super quiet, but as soon as we were alone, man, he was hilarious! And we had fun together. I remember one day maybe in 2016 or 2017, we were in our closet. We actually hung out in there a lot. In the closet, he started talking about how far he could jump. I said show me, and he just started jumping over and over. Going farther each time. I cheered him on with the same excitement one would show for an Olympic athlete.

Thirty six years of knowing him; 31 years of friendship; almost thirty years in a romantic relationship. You can imagine, there are so many of those kind of stories. It took many years of arguments, laughs, threats to leave, professions to stay, lack of money, an abundance of money, illnesses, good medical reports, children born, children miscarried, embarrassing moments, and triumphant victories to create the book called "The Burtons". We were crushed, refined, and beautified under pressure for all those years. When he left, I felt I lost a gem.

But I had some digging to do- some mining if you will- to change my perspective. My first mining spot was with my friend Anice. I nicknamed her my blunt friend because she is, well, so blunt. She was the first to clue me in on the truth. When she did, I was angry with her for saying it. Here's what happened. I called her about two weeks after he left. As soon as I said it, she said, "Forgive me, but good. He was holding you back. When I first met you, I always thought you were in a different league." I didn't talk to her for months after that.

My next clue was when I spoke to a mutual friend. I called them in a craze to be honest. I misjudged a letter I received and thought it was a taunt. After I explained my hysteria, they said, "You know he has always been weak. He was led around by his first girlfriend and you know how his mom controls him, and admit it Ree, you have a strong personality."

Next up, I talked to a friend from high school. I told her the whole story, showed her the website, and told her about the book. I asked her what she thought of it all. She said, "His problem is he knows he was never in your league."

Finally, I went digging back at that statement he once made to me. Thinking of his blank face as I remembered his statement, I felt I was looking the horse right in his mouth. He told me he always thought if he ever left me, I would lose all the weight, all the men would then want me, and he'd never be able to get me back. I think his real fear was that if I lost all that weight, I would finally remember who I was and want myself more.

I finally see this through the right lens. I didn't lose a gem, I uncovered a diamond. I uncovered myself.

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