After months of therapy, it was time to move on. My heart wrenching, middle of the night prayers for God to bring Judy back to me, had not been answered. Friends were worried about my mental state. I had lost weight, looked terrible and was still battling depression. I took a second part time job and buried myself in work. But I was still painfully lonely. Once again I joined the telephone dating service that I had met Judy on, thinking there might be the remotest of chances that she would be there looking for her perfect soul mate. I searched all the profiles in her age group. She wasn’t among them. No, I was sure she was happy with P and maybe even enjoying wedded bliss. To this day I would rather not know. I want to remember the Judy I loved. Who told me over and over that I was taken and no other woman could have me. The young, single Judy who had at one time needed me.
I spoke with some very nice women but couldn’t hit it off with any of them. Then one day I starting chatting with Jean. I don’t remember how it got started. Who was the first to contact the other, but we were destined to meet. She was much older than me. A petite, shapely brunette who dyed her hair and looked years younger. We wanted only a friendship. Like me, she was suffering from unrequited love. In our own personal pain we sought much needed support from the other. For Jean, it had become an obsession far worse than mine. I had left Judy completely alone. Refusing to check on her or drive by her house, although the temptation was there. Jean, on the other hand, drove by Tony’s place of business as well as his home several times a day. He was a much younger man, single, an auto mechanic with whom she was deeply in love. Tony would get annoyed with her snooping. Her calling him at all hours, begging for a little time together. They had occasional sex and not much else. She joined the same health club he did so that she could work out in the gym with him. For Jean, the obsession was wrecking her emotional health. She thought about him constantly. Poured her heart out to me on the phone. Our friendship blossomed quickly. We were two of a kind. Riding on the same boat, struggling to stay above water. We talked daily about our lost loves. We reminisced. We shared out loud our thoughts of what had gone wrong. But Jean was far luckier than I. She still had Tony in her life. Was still making love with him even though he wouldn’t give his heart. None of it was healthy. She was drowning and she knew it. It was all so desperate. So sad. She knew it was unfair, to pursue him so fiercely. Calling herself a cradle robber because she was already beyond child bearing. I told her she needed Jesus. The funny thing is she often said she prayed for me, although she had no religious beliefs beyond the existence of a God. She needed to find a church. For Jean and I it was free therapy. We were each others counselor. This was how we got through the day. We would meet at her favorite hamburger joint after I got out of work and talk for hours in a back room that was usually nearly empty.
Then there was Hope. Not hope as in faith, hope and charity. But Hope as in a female.