Three years after I’d chosen life for my youngest son.
Three years of paying for doing so.
On the outside, we had it all. On the inside, we were a war zone.
We had accrued two new vehicles, purchased a beautiful home, gotten our daughter safe with us, attended church, earned job promotions, and then some.
We were an attractive couple with smart and lively and beautiful children.
We planted flowers in our front yard and hung pretty wreaths on our door.
We posted all the right pics on social media of our holiday outfits and weekend adventures and family vacations.
He’d run 5K’s and I’d stand at the end cheering him on and applaud him.
I’d put on a spectacular concerts with my students and he’d bring me flowers and tell everyone how lucky he was to have me.
We had it all.
We had nothing.
On the cracked foundation of our relationship, I was constantly trying to construct a life for us that would make him happy. But for every beam I’d place, two would come falling down. An endless dance of appeasement, failure, exhaustion, and loss.
I had a two week window to rest and recuperate before the insanity of the spring semester began. And what should have been a time of rest, relaxation, and enjoying my family was in reality the complete opposite.
“I found an apartment and I’m moving out.”
I stared at him blankly.
Before I would have crumpled. Cried. Begged him not to go. Lamented. Reminded him that we had promised each other never to use the D word (divorce).
But I just stared as secretly the relief washed through my limbs and hope lifted its head a little.
I shrugged my shoulders and said, “okay”.
He did not expect this. This passive and unangered and unreactive response. I did not care if he left. I had no energy to apply to even pretending to care. The threat of divorce no longer carried any weight with me. Just go.
The days came and went in a cycle of isolation, covert demands, body and mind constantly on edge, dark stares, sadness. I waited for him to pack his bags. He never did.
Time passed and he never left. Instead he came to me with compromise. I remember there were five of them. Five things he was going to do to make us work. Sad thing is, I don’t even remember what they are anymore… proof that they weren’t genuine or what was really needed.
For the next two months or so, the guise of things getting better was in place but I knew better than to believe it. I’d seen this before. It felt off. Something was off. My husband was wining and dining me. Holding my hand everywhere we went. Cuddling. Constantly wanting to be affectionate. To the point of too much. To the point of it feeling like it wasn’t about me at all. To the point of me knowing it was not about me. To the point of smothering me.
Unbeknownst to me, my time of living a “normal” life was coming to an end and I would never be a part of the masses again. I was about to be set apart. My eyes were about to be opened. My winter had arrived.