It’s all in one corner.
I spent my day off cleaning my spare room, what used to be “his” room, another emblem in the constant unbalanced act that was our marriage. His ROOM, compared with my desk crammed in a corner of the bedroom. HIS space. A wall against me, wielded as a sword or at the very least, as a silencer.
Since he left in January, since the day we moved into this house together, 6 years back from now, this last pile of crap sat in the corner, growing dust. I let it stay, and let it stay, and mentioned it, and got bitched at, and mentioned it again and told I’m a naggy bitch and it’s his house too.
But it’s never been his house. It never was, and it never could be. These bricks, this mortar, the shitty crumbling walls and the 6 layers of paint on the sills-they’re mine. The dreams I cooked while a child rested under my heart. The places we’d go, the people we’d be, knotted into these walls. But he never fit, instead cramped into a room full of dusty boxes of words and songs from a lifetime ago. He wasn’t here, in this place.
I sit where he spent nights away from me. But now the floor is clean, subdued, my books and words surround me. I sat and threw out the memories I had kept, the candy boxes from that first year together, a time that wafted around us and disappeared like smoke on our tongues. Held in my hand briefly , cradled, but no magic was left in that cardboard. No pain, no pull.
A sigh. The closing of a book, heard from a distance.
Piled neatly it all waits, his last moments in my life, foreign as jungle to me now, the he who was.
It gives me such a headache, all of it.
The breaking free of each other has been easy. He pulled away years before leaving, leaving me the defective, the dreamer. I wanted family, I wanted the car ride through the woods, the hot cider after skating. Arguments about paint colors and curry. I wanted a home and a story to carry.
But the detritus of married life, the mortgage and the credit and the custody-the tethers you still are indebted too even after, the choices which aren’t so simple anymore. The staggering weight of alone, after days and years of at least believing you were in it together. The bills, the planning, the dentist and the vet. All such things you once spoke of, together, the commonality in the banal.
It whispers at night to me, the protection that marriage pretended at. Shakes me awake with the reminder that doing it alone together was worse than trying by myself. The deep night hugs me to it, alone in a too big bed, embers of a life where alone meant wondering at 4am if he might ever come to bed. A mortgage paid in brick, stolen in storm and fear.
I crave simple answers. I crave a bare wood floor of nothing, walls of stark grey, a quiet porch in a summer wind. I want to pack it all up in a corner, this house, this dream, this life, and leave it for someone else’s hands. I want the newness, a memory built fresh in bare walls and strong arms. I want better.
I’m starting over, but patience has never been my strong point. If I had my way, that past would be folded crane like into my palms, and tucked in the corner of an old moving box, kissed on the road out the door.
I would be clean of it, 3 times over.
I might sigh heavily and say I regret it, all of it. I might mourn the 20 something I never really was, the wife I couldn’t be, the woman I only dreamed of. I might blame him, I might blame myself. I might say I don’t believe in second chances.
But I’d be lying. I’d be lying if I didn’t still believe, oddly, that this was still always the right road after all.