Single Again… In The Distance

By Kenneth Stepp

It’s 4:30 AM, I’m alone in my den, in the distance, I can hear the train rushing by my neighborhood. It’s dark, maybe a chill in the air, but none of that touches me. I’m inside with my light on and the temperature in my house is whatever I want it to be. I know the train is there, I know because I can hear it. But I cannot see it or touch it.

The train, the darkness, and the chill in the air has reminded me of love, or at least, the love my heart has searched for, for so many years. I know it’s there, I can feel it or I am aware of it, because one or more of my senses have discovered it. But I cannot touch it, I cannot feel it. I know she’s there, I can’t see her yet. She’s a shadow, a sound, a feeling. Yet she’s the most important person in my life.

As I reread the last paragraph, I wonder what others will think of my words. How can a dream, a thought, or even a memory be so meaningful to someone? Is this obsession? Madness? I hope not. I believe most of us were created to be a partner for another human being. Because of this, there will always be something missing, and our hearts, my heart knows this and will constantly scan the environment for her.

I’ve changed. I’d like to think I’m a better man than I was a little over 6 years ago when I became single again. After 24 years with my wife, I was alone, cold, and naked in the middle of nowhere. Ok, not literally, but that’s what it felt like. No longer a partner, no longer part of an intact family, and no longer needed. It was a stark change indeed.

It’s 6:05 AM now, no train, still dark, and I’m still in my den waiting for another train to pass in the distance. What’s funny, or odd is that I love hearing the whistle from my den, I love knowing the train is there. But when I get stuck at a train track, in my head, I resent that the train is there. Is it only that I enjoy my train from a distance? Is love the same way? I hope not.

I have loved 3 women in my life. I’ve heard it romanticized that you only have one true love in your life. I would disagree with that. Our hearts have an amazing capacity to love. When I think of these three amazing women, my heart almost melts. One thing that hits me hard though, is that they are all in the distance now. Do I enjoy their memory but not their presence? Are they no different than the train that passes by in the dark?

One was my ex wife. We tried to keep “us” together and failed. The regrets I have are too many to write into words. She was my world, now she is a flood of memories that come and go. One of my loves was the impetus to my writing. I began writing after our breakup and that has changed my life. Because of this, she will always be with me on some level. The last one is my best friend. I think I’ll leave that thought right there.

Although these three wonderful women are amazing, something happened that caused us to be apart. I believe with two of them, we were simply too different. With the other, life wore us down. We had a magical life for years and one day, it vanished and we had to try to navigate waters we were never taught to navigate. We lost “us” in the process.

My forever love is out there. In my mind, she’s looking for me too. One day we will meet, one day we will know. One day… In the meantime, I sit in my den, in the dark, tapping out words that mean more to me than anyone else, waiting as long as it takes, waiting to hear that whistle in the distance once more.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs”