It started in January of 2006. Half frozen and tired of student life, we left Winnipeg, our first abusive love, seeking sunlight and a well-paying job. We'd been beaten by hail and sleet and snow for years. We packed our bags, said good-bye to our beautiful friends and went looking for a new, warmer beau.
We started dating Regina,SK and were grateful for a committed relationship. Over time we began to fall in love with it's personality and good looks (affordable housing, homeschool delights--science center, museum, art gallery, children's library, alternative school-- and kindred spirits). All this considered, we turned the other cheek when he smacked us with snow and -25 in October. We knew it wouldn't happen again.
We began to feel resentful. We were spending entire evenings shoveling snow and an hour each morning chipping ice off the windshield.
The relationship soured.
The confusingly cold, 7 month long winter sent us into the corner of our 850 sq. ft house. We rocked back and forth chanting "Regina still loves me. I still love Regina." We yearned for spring. On those winter days we left only to buy groceries- painful though it was to push a cart through ice and snow ruts to the car.
Family members expressed concern.
We were going to end the relationship. No question. We were moving.
But then spring came.
Strangers smiled at each other. Grass began to grow. Our frost bitten ear tips healed and we frolicked outside once again. Summer came blazing in. Hot, dry and glorious. We forgot all about the dark days of winter. We stayed, sure the good times would last.
But winter came. Every year.
And every winter we swore we'd leave.
The cycle continued for 5 and a half years.
We've been gone for several months now and the wounds are still healing.
Mike gets panicky when there is a nice day. He hoards them for fear it will be his last one. He looks over his shoulder and calls out "we need to get outside and enjoy this- right now." He took the children for a 5 hour walk last week. He checks the forecast and shows cautious giddiness with any temp above 0.
I have been sporting my arctic, down-to-the-knees parka everywhere I go, suspiciously eying the neighbours in their spring garb. In the name of February and winter I just don't trust these "above average" goings on. My past home sweet homes have been unstable, harsh and cruel. I have my guard up- even here in sunnier Southern Ontario.
Although we ended the relationship, truth be told, we kind of want to go back. In our moments of loneliness, we miss our old abuser. The good times were, well, good and at least we had love...some of the time.
But at the end of it all, we have sworn never to put our trust in so fickle a fellow again.
So for better or for worse, we stay away.
In the meantime, here's Olive and I roaming the trails.. in February!