My first thanksgiving in Colorado Springs nearly proved the end of my relationship with Sully before it even began.
The children and I had just returned from Boston where I had gone to tend to my mother who had been ill. My sister had wired me that mother was on her deathbed, and so despite my fear of returning ‘home’ Mathew, Brian, Colleen and I set off for Boston. Upon arriving we found mother confined to bed having been given a virtual ‘death sentence’ by her physician, Dr. Hanson, a pompous man who clearly had no respect for a 'woman doctor. Over his objections, I had examined mother myself and had determined that her malady was not life threatening, but instead a severe bout of hepatitis brought on by her proclivity for oysters. With the aid of an Indian remedy, which William, Dr. Hanson’s young assistant, and I, quietly administered to her, mother had recovered and the children and I had found ourselves settling into life in Boston; well except for Matthew, who hadn't wanted to come with us in the first place. But I had needed him to help with the younger children and sometimes, as I told him, 'we need to do things we don't want to do."
The lure of Boston was strong, Sully says, where you are born always has a place in your heart. There were times when I even contemplated not returning to Colorado. How much simpler my life would be if we stayed in Boston. And then there was William who had made no secret of the fact that he was fond of me and that he hoped that I would remain in Boston, in fact, he had proposed a partnership. Dr. William Burke had been mother’s physician’s assistant until he had chosen to help me save my mother’s life without his senior partner’s knowledge. He had been fired for that act of insubordination and was planning on opening his own practice- he needed a partner, he said’ the right partner”. William respected me as a professional colleague and as a woman. I had left Boston, because I had lost that when my father died, now I was being offered a chance to start over, to live the life that would have been mine, had I never left. And I would be with my family again, mother was ecstatic at the possibility. And then, suddenly, Sully appeared one evening at dinner and nothing was simple anymore.Mother, bless her heart handled Sully’s presence with dignity and generosity. She immediately invited him to join us at dinner and of course to stay at our home. But why had he come? I believe now that there was a part of me that must have known the answer to that, but at the time, I was too frightened by what it might mean.
Sully's presence was unsettling, he seemed so out of place in Boston. Or was I the one out of place now? Suddenly I wasn't sure of anything anymore! Although I must admit I was a bit flattered by the attention paid to me by both Sully and William during the ensuing weeks, I was also incredibly torn. It was as if I were being forced to choose between two worlds. One, a world in which I knew what was expected of me- where I would be ‘safe’. And the other-far more dangerous, one I wasn’t sure if I had the courage to enter. I knew only one thing, from the intensity in those blue eyes when they asked, “aren’t you glad to see me?” Sully’s world would be anything but ‘safe. At least the differences between Sully and William were clear- again I was wrong.
Sully it seemed had made the decision to show me that he could, if necessary, fit into my world. “When in Boston,do as the romans do” he announced one evening at dinner, appearing in a stylish Boston outfit much to my surprise. He looked so incredibly handsome – so almost ‘Boston’! I couldn’t tell if mother was impressed by Sully’s new attire or resented it somehow- she had the most curious expression on her face when Sully said that. And then came an invitation to ‘dinner and dancing’ and to my great delight even the opera! Before, the distinction between William and Sully was obvious- but now it was beginning to blur. Still, there was something different about Sully, something not even his proper Boston suit and sudden penchant for eating snails, could conceal. It was what had drawn me to him in Colorado and yet at the same time frightened me. Could I ever be what he wanted me to be or was this where I truly belonged?
When William suddenly proposed marriage after a lecture at which he without warning presented me to his colleagues to give a lecture on the benefits of the tea I had used to save mother’s life, I was thrown into even more confusion. What I hadn’t realized was that Sully had overheard William’s proposal.
Sully confronted me after the lecture and asked me if I planned to marry William. It was clear he had violated my privacy and had been listening to my private conversation with William, I reacted angrily. I told him it was none of his business. I didn’t mean that, I believe deep down, I wanted him to tell me why he felt that it ‘was’ his business. But Sully didn’t reply and merely stalked off. That was his way though when upset, I was used to that, we would discuss it later when we had both cooled off. I returned home to the accusatory glares of my three children, who informed me that Sully had left to return to Colorado Springs. At that moment I finally allowed myself to feel what I had been trying so desperately to ignore. I was in love with Sully- The question was did his appearance here in Boston mean that he returned my love? I had to know. Sully's train was about to pull out when I reached the station. Franctically I searched the compartments until I found him. I accused him of leaving without saying goodbye, I asked him why he had even come at all? And then, he said the words that I secretly had been longing to hear without even realizing it until that moment- "Because I love you". The train was pulling out,with all my heart, I wanted to stay with him, but the children were at mother's, I had to return.
And when days later we finally returned to Colorado Springs, Sully was standing there. My heart stopped. He held out his arms and I simply ran to him, not caring that the entire town was witnessing our reunion. We loved each other, that was all that
mattered. Wasnt it?