This could break my heart or save me.
until you let go completely...
And I don't know,
I could crash and burn, but maybe
At the end of this road
I might catch a glimpse of me...
Kelly Clarkson, "Sober"
I'm pulling out of the driveway on a Saturday morning, on my way to work, when my husband sticks his head out of the front door. He hollers for me to take his truck to work that day, as he wants to take mine to get a much-needed oil change. That's nice of him, I think. Considering.
For the past few days we have been trying to work out a time to Talk. I was unexpectedly called into work last night and we'd had to reschedule for tonight. I dread it. Our "talks" to date have been less than satisfying, always ending when neither of us can pull the trigger and say it's over. It's been a year and a half of aruging about it... and then pretending everything would be fine, him telling me he'd end it with her, me pretending to believe him. Our marriage has been a disaster, but something-- fear, insecurity, inertia-- has kept me in it. I don't know why he hasn't left yet, but he's always only said he wants to be with me. He's never once said he wants to leave me. Never once said he wants to be with her. Why should he, really. He's having his cake and eating her too.
After my shift ends I'm heading back home. Tired. Nervous. Wondering if I, if either of us, will have the guts to say what we both know needs to be said. We've run this thing, this marriage, into the ground and there's no saving it now. It's too late to quit while we're ahead, but at least we can quit while we're still breathing. At the same time... I don't know how to end it. Not only do I not know how to tell him it's over, I don't know how to tell my family and friends that I've been lying to them for so long every time I didn't say how things really were. I especially don't know how to walk away after I've put up with so much for so long... I feel it's like staying in a fight til the tenth round only to give up.
When I round the corner and the house is in sight, I see that my truck is not in the driveway. "Bastard." I mumble. "He's at the gym or something." Or more likely, he's with her... either way, it's not the plan.
I push my way through the door to the greetings of the dog. But something is weird. Something is off. Something is definitely not right.
I immediately notice the absence of the painting that faces the front door. I glance to my right and two chairs and a small table are missing. As I look around, I realize that at least half of our belongings are gone. In the time it took me to work one eight-hour shift, he has packed half of our house AND moved it out without a trace.
I look, but I don't find a note.
Seriously? SERIOUSLY?! No Talk. Nothing. No fight. No yelling, screaming, cussing. Just emptiness.
I wander around the house, noticing which things he's taken. I leave him a voice mail (he doesn't answer his phone, the chicken shit) listing the things that he needs to return. The Christmas movies and Grey's Anatomy DVDs. My Pampered Chef cookware I owned before our marriage. The dressing table my step-father built for me. Anything else I think I have to right to bitch about (it's only later, at bedtime, I realize he has taken the only tube of toothpaste).
Few tears come. Mostly I feel incredible relief. The long charade is over. The lies can stop. The fear I had that I wouldn't be strong enough to walk away is eased; he has saved me the trouble.
I kiss the dog and get back into his truck (which has significantly higher payments and will later be traded back for my own when he is feeling guilty) and drive back to the club where I work. I walk in the door to the surprise of my friend who has the evening shift.
"Why are you back?" she asks.
And that is the first time I say it. The first time I acknowledge it the words that have been floating close to the surface since I walked in my front door. The first time I put out there in reality the true factual state of my marriage. Most importantly, it's the first time I realize that I am grateful for the truth of the words.
"My husband. He left me."
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