Carrie came over to my hotel room and let me cry my way through a box of tissues as I recounted the whole painful evening. She didn’t say much until I was hiccupping and quieter.
“Heather, you took it too fast.” She sat beside me and rubbed my back. “So did he. Serious relationships take time. He isn’t the right type of person for a one-week fling.”
“I didn’t want a one-week fling!” I sobbed, trying to keep the tears from flowing again. “I wanted a serious relationship with him. I didn’t mean to end up in the bedroom so quickly and it never occurred to me that he wouldn’t be able to function. I guess in my mind, I thought we would have to do it differently, like he has to do so many other things differently, not that he wouldn’t be able to do it at all. I have really screwed up, Carrie. I lost him.”
“I’m sorry. I know you were really interested in him.” She squeezed my shoulder. “Your work life is going to be hell for awhile.”
I wiped my eyes with a balled-up tissue. “I know.”
“Will you be okay here tonight or do you want to come home with me?”
“I will be okay. But I want to go get some Javachip ice cream and eat until I puke.”
She smiled. “I will drive.”
When I got back to the hotel, I put on my pj’s and dug into my Javachip, sitting tailor-fashion in the middle of the king size bed, staring mindlessly at whatever was on the TV. I replayed everything in my mind’s eye, every contact I had with Kellan this week, trying to decide what I could have done differently, trying to figure out what I could have done to prevent him shutting me out so quickly. I had to ask myself some hard questions, like the one he had asked me on Monday night at dinner. If I had known nothing about him before I saw him the first time, would my reaction have been different? The answer was yes. Would I have been interested in him if I hadn’t had the chance to get to know him before I learned that he was disabled? The answer there was no. I would have been afraid to approach him. And that truth bothered me. The fact still remained that I had fallen for him. For all the right reasons. I was interested in him. I wanted to be with him. I just had to figure out how, figure out what it all meant.
I started doing research on the Internet, looking for anything I could find on spinal cord injuries. I could have saved myself a lot of trouble had I done that research first. I found medical sites, informational sites, personal sites, devotee sites. The web world for SCI was much larger than I imagined.
I had failed myself as project manager. I know to always do my research first before starting anything new. Now I needed a good project plan. And by 3:00 a.m., I had it. By 4:00, I was asleep, having typed out what the next steps of my life would be.
To be continued...