It's like any normal morning. I'm sitting and writing with a cup of coffee next to the laptop and a couple smokes in me to get the blood running. Except half my furniture is sitting in the hallway. X is running around humming merrily to herself, a new and disconcerting habit, as if she's on her way to paradise instead of a dingy brown two-bedroom in a pre-fab suburb.
I took this momentous day off from work, ostensibly so we can go separate all our finances at the bank, but also because I knew I didn't want to be stressed out, rushing from the bank to daycare to work. I want to relax today. And I'm gonna.
I've mentioned before that I've never lived alone. I've always had roommates. I'm a social being. I like telling people things. I like sitting around and laughing with others. So this is gonna be different. And not only in a negative way. I've plenty of experience in the kitchen, as a bachelor, and for half of each week, I'm my own master again. That's a bit liberating. I have some new goals for this unexpected free time and am looking forward to their pursuit.
A lot of people have asked how I'm feeling and it's difficult for me to say. Relatively-speaking, I'm doing fucking awesome. Just six weeks after my world changed forever, I'd put myself in the top 99th acceptance percentile of "Guys Who Found Out the Love of Their Life Cheated On Them and is Leaving" demographic. In relation to the whole of the population however, I'm probably just below average. I'm not sad. I'm not angry. I'm just dulled. I can laugh easily enough. Tilty moments are shorter and less invasive.
One of the most frustrating aspects was helplessness, since I was convicted on all counts without benefit of a trial. I did not get my day in court with X. I'm a guy who fixes things and I never had the chance here. One of the most remarkable conversations we had was 10 days ago. It was my last meltdown, where I sobbed all day at my desk and sobbed harder when I came home. I could barely get two words out before having to blow my nose. I wanted to know why. How she could do THIS? Why THIS WAY? Why didn't she come to me when there was a chance we could work everything out? She couldn't--or wouldn't--tell me. And when I got to the end of the interrogation, when it was all laid out, she didn't exactly say she was wrong. What she said was, "What do you want me to do about it now?"
And that's where it clicked. The past is gone. Time to look forward. Time to work on getting beyond all of this.
Someone asked me yesterday if I was still in love with her. The person loading my bed into a rental truck right now? Most definitely not. But I'll always be in love with the notion of her, me and AJ growing older together, an idealized version of events. While, at the same time, I acknowledge that's fantasy, a ghost. We were happy once. Very happy. And I will always be of the belief that that happiness was sustainable, was recoverable. I also know I was the only one of us who believed that, the only one of us who was committed to doing everything possible to hold our lives together.
Am I in love with her? Right now, on the spot, under the bright light...no. My perception of her has been altered to such a high degree that I am certain I could never get past this incident. It will always exist between us, serving as a defense against the love we once shared. All that went before has been tainted. The cowardice she exhibited did not just occur in her. It's been there a long time. She's withheld her deepest feelings from me almost from the moment we married. It's the way she is, she says. I never knew, never REALLY knew, the depth of her secrets. Until now. And I know nothing could ever be fulfilling between us if she holds fast to that trait.
I've written all of the above without the slightest hint of emotion. That's new. As I said, I'm dulled. I'm going to go out and enjoy the day. I've got an extra walk-in closet now, so maybe I'll expand my already impressive wardrobe, buy myself sumpin' purty. I'm gonna come home later and sling virtual chips with my friends in the latest DADI event. I know I'd be nowhere near my present--mostly positive--state of mind without the embraces of this community and others. Y'all have given me a rock to lean on, carried me at times, and I'm so thankful. Everyone should be so lucky to know this bunch of degenerates.
And tonight, alone in my bed--which is now just a mattress--I'll hear the usual creaks and groans from the house. They won't signal AJ padding down the hallway to join us in bed, nor X getting up for a toilet run. Just the house, settling, shifting. There are no ghosts.
I need to remember that.