Hey there. My essay below is in the Spring 2021 edition of Ruminate Magazine. The theme is”What Remains.” Great publication. I’m honored.

It was too soon to date again when I met my now-husband. I should have been ready, but I wasn’t and never thought I would be. Coming out of my first marriage’s twisted wreckage, I wasn’t sure there was much left of me. I wasn’t the same person that went into it. The girl who believed in happily ever after, she didn’t exist anymore. I mourned for her innocence but valued my strength. I wore armor now, and it was tough to get through. I already had an edge being from the city; now, I was bulletproof. I wasn’t sure who’d want to be with me, angry and afraid. I barely could be with myself as the bitterness and resentment flowed through me with a burning sting some days, I could almost taste.

Work boots stepped down from the truck in the driveway. I looked at them as I planted my last tulip. My eyes followed up his legs to his face. He was here. My date, the country boy I met online. I’d never had any luck with online dating. I didn’t particularly appreciate dating in general, but my sister encouraged me to try again.

He was early, or I was late; I almost forgot he was coming. I was aloof, and he was interested. He seemed simple and kind. I was suspicious, and he eased my mind. I tried not to be, but he saw my sadness; he attempted to make me smile. One night he told me he loved me, and I struggled to understand. I felt I hadn’t given anything; I believed I had nothing left to give. This man who loved me had only the remains of the old me and the baggage of the new woman I’d become. And that was enough. I’d never felt more beautiful.