"Tell me, Dearest," began my mother. "How is your Hartley? I have heard little from you of him since the day of that dinner."
I sighed, setting myself in the nearest seat. Mother edged closer in her own chair in anticipation of my next words. "I am really not sure, Mother," I started myself. "He has not been his self since that evening. He does not listen to me. His mind is elsewhere, and yet, when I inquired of him yesterday morning, he fails to elaborate. Could it be his heart? Could his heart be elsewhere? I do not know with any certitude that ... he loves me. Could he have entertained my prospect, and, on further investigation, was dissatisfied? But does he still feel a commitment to me, even if he desires another? It has been nearly a week since the dinner, and a week of this unusual behavior."
"Breathe a moment, Darling," she said. She thought on my words, allowing for a pause before she continued, "Do you truly believe he has lost interest in you? After that dinner? I could clearly see that evening that the both of you were infatuated with one another, particularly him of you.
"But I will never succeed in understanding the complexities of the masculine sex - women go in and out of fashion so easily for them, for reasons I could never, and can never, fully understand. A motive may seem so blatant, only to be overtaken by another," She said. "Now, one as stable as your father, considerably mature in years and mind as he was when we married - at that point there was no doubt in our love and propriety of our union. But still there is a lack of understanding of his own, and even Fred's, nature that forever proves strange to me."
"I wouldn't think of Henry as such a man to interchange women on a whim of fashion or style." I frowned. "Unless he has discovered something about me that doesn't suit his taste. Did I say anything of harm at dinner? Did any of us?"
My mother moved closer, putting a firm, supporting hand at my arm, "If he does not find you to his taste, he either has a bad taste in women or an unrealistic taste that will never be satisfied. If he believes you are not worthy of his affections, than he is not worthy of your attention."
"Then why does he come to me even after discovering I am not satisfactory to his expectations, whatever they may be and why?"
"You said it yourself, Dear. He may feel he started a relationship which he cannot leave from because of its commitment."
"And now he regrets entering into such a relationship, miserable that any way out would damage his honor? Does he find the only option is to make me similarly miserable so that the relationship will finally be broken jointly?" I stressed. "Am I overreacting to something trivial? Perhaps I am reading him wrong, but even then, is this the man, this new Henry, I love? That I can commit to spending the rest of my life with?"
I stood and paced around the room feverishly. Why was love, so simplistically beautiful of a subject, so complex? Wasn't it as easy as loving one another, or not? What was this wicked game of shifting feelings, of fluctuating romance?
Mother stood and came to my side, holding at me with her calming touch once again. "You still love him, and you should allow time for him. It may pass. If he only continues to bring you pain and unhappiness, you both are wasting your time. Should he not have the strength to break the relationship, then you shall, knowing that you gave him every chance at your heart and he failed himself."