Since my divorce, I have cried many times. I have cried for Olympia, the only town I’ve ever felt at home in. I’ve cried for the loss of independence that came with moving in with my parents. The prospects of being a single mom, the friends I’ve left, and being “stuck” (for lack of a better term) in North Carolina have all brought tears streaming forth from my eyes. But I have never cried for my ex. For most people, this wouldn’t come as a surprise. I’ve not made a secret about how screwed up our relationship was in the end.
I won’t lie. It’s easy to paint myself with all these bright colors, or worse, put on a victim’s mask and pretend that I was wronged over and over while trying to be an angel. I was no more an angel than Paul a saint.
Yeah, he always had some well-rehearsed excuse for not working full time or losing a job or not keeping up with the house. He carried on with at least two women that I suspect he had affairs with. And he said he wanted music over his son.
But I can be a fairly demanding bitch. I want an equal partnership. I’m not interested in carrying other people and I don’t really know better ways to tell someone this than to get all drill instructor on his ass when he falls out of line. And, while I never cheated, I certainly entertained the idea on two separate occasions (an eye for an eye, maybe). Sometimes, I wonder what my life would be like had I escaped with the one that asked me. I wonder now and I wondered many a night after that one left my life. No, I am not an angel.
I tried, though. I really, honestly, can say that I wanted our relationship to work. I wanted to be married to Paul until my dying day. Even when I knew I wouldn’t be- long before we announced our divorce- I never stopped wanting a different reality than the one we lived. Even as we watched our relationship nose dive into the oceans of divorce, I kept praying for some sort of miraculous recovery that never came. I loved the man and I wanted that back. I lost good friends defending him when they said things I already knew. I didn’t want the resentment which, I think, ultimately was the final push that ripped us apart. But reality is what it is and what we had is gone.
So, today; nine months after I left Washington; I asked a coworker for a friendly cup of coffee. “No pressure” I said with a smile. He agreed.
And that was that. I cried on the way home. I pulled over into a cemetery parking lot (how melodramatic) and balled my eyes out. I cried because, even though I’ve intellectually known we have been over for about a year now, this felt like the final nail emotionally. I cried because I’m still hurt by the divorce. Because up until the divorce, I had a partner every day of my life since I was sixteen, one lined up right behind the other (I’ve met my next boyfriend while dating my current each time but never cheated), and I don’t have that safety net any longer. I cried because I’m lonely. I cried because I am acutely aware of the walls I’ve built around myself all my life and now I simultaneously want to break them down and hide further within them.
I cried the way a newborn does when air fills its lungs for the first time.