This weekend he leaves.
The past few weeks have been filled with the slow file and purge of his stuff, garbage bags filled with the crap I begged him to toss for years, piles of things in boxes he wishes to keep, memories for me to flip through, to find my own, to take my records, to read again letters from friends on the occasion of our marriage.
Him, packed into 20 or so boxes and bins, stacked drums and equipment. My former husband, in piles.
My heart coughs, my eyes fill unbidden and my breath becomes hot and laboured. How did I get here? How will I move on, the empty space in my house matched, in degrees in my chest?
It strikes me, asking to borrow a few bucks for cat food since I forgot to get the BIG bag for the little gluttons, that it’s not as it was. Before, I would have said “We need cat food-grab some?” via text, shuttling between work and home, thoughts muddled with the should do’s and what to make for dinner.
Now it’s-can I borrow? Can you help?, the requests you make of a friend, unwillingly in need, detached, no longer a pair or a team but two people. Certainly two people who want to help, who want the other to succeed and feed the cats. But two completely separate people, revolving in their own worlds.
I find myself blinded, clipped almost by these small thing, the loss of that small shoulder to rely on, the devotion of the tiny pieces of a marriage, the non worry afforded by a partner, the relief of knowing there’s two of you responsible for the detritus of adulthood-children, houses, dental work. The reality of those boxes is that no matter how friendly and helpful we are, as friends, I am ultimately at odds and alone with this, my life.
It hurts in its sad way, the loss of this, of the pairing, of the safety and security. Not because I don’t think I can do it, but because I prefer the sharing, not just the problem of cat food, but the life shared, the house, the future shared. And it’s odd, imagining no one behind me, just being there, even in the cold way as it’s been for so long.
Alone with children, with my own flighty, ofttimes fragile self. It’s terrifying. The thought-this is all the money I have, the two dollars I scammed from my father for coffee and didn’t use-this is what I have.
I haven’t been that completely untethered since I was a teenager. I don’t mind it for myself-but with children, it fills me with a cold hollowness, a fear I don’t recognize, or rather, I do too closely. The intimate knowledge that you are never far from everything going terribly wrong.
It’s not that dramatic. I still have access to all the tools and credit I personally did before. But now, it’s all on me, this house, or at least it feels that way. Now, it impacts more on my own than it ever did couple wise. I feel that last kick in the arse into adulthood, a sad kick, yet a necessary one.
Packed in a box it wasn’t, but from one it comes.