2 bed.Big yard. Jan 1. That’s one thing off my list.
This is real.
Part of me wakes up each morning and thinks, briefly, that I can just reach over and touch him and it will be as it was, his arms welcoming and warm. That I’ll go downstairs and feed the girls and smile at the thought of him, of seeing him later, and we’ll be happy our hands linked, fingers entwined, skin burnished by each other.
But the fog lifts from my head, the tiny insects of futures past buzzing out from me, a moving halo. Much as when my mother died, and I watched her body let her go, he has left. In his head, his heart, he is long gone, even if his body and voice remain with me for now. My husband is leaving me. My husband doesn’t love me anymore. My husband, who once looked at me with lust in his heart and care in his words, has lost the pulse, let go perhaps, and the eyes are cool.
I’ve started calling him my ex, the words stumbling off my lips awkwardly, but yet not. In my dreams he’s still my husband, my lover, my alternate. In the waking land he’s yesterday, he’s what was, he’s fading, much like my dreams. Standing still in the dark morning, breathing deeply, I miss him. I miss us. I miss that foggy dream.
I warn Vivian’s teacher, about the impending conversation, and she touches my arm with such concern that I find myself near tears, surrounded by schoolchildren and mothers. I tell her it’s fine, it’s for the best my worry, my only worry right now are those little girls and please, be gentle if she’s not herself for awhile.
I think back a year, a little more, standing there with him, and I wonder where our strength has gone. How I’ve gone from worrying about my first born, my baby going to school, to wondering how to break her parent’s divorce to her with as little trauma as possible. How did we get here? How did I get here?
Why can’t I wake up from this nightmare?
I’m more than a little toasted on a large friendly bottle of Pinot Grigio, and we share joking texts about when I’m coming home and how the stairs aren’t my drunken buddy. I’m warm inside, missing this calm friendship we’ve always had, that we had first. I don’t want to lose it. I want the father of my children to be my friend, to share a joke, once the smoke clears. I don’t want to lose him completely.
And I realize, through the damped fire of my anger and fear, that I need this too. I want this too. There’s a weight lifted from my chest, an effort I was so tired of making, the dank pea soup of two people trapped against each other, the oppressive daily unhappiness that had become us. I’ve missed whomever I’ve been, so wrapped in bondage to this thing we called a marriage.
I feared no one loving me. But now that it’s here, the ache is less than when I tried to force a reluctant hand.
Breathe. I can breathe.