Today, when Kylie and her new(er) boyfriend left, I wanted to have my husband, Will, next to me to share in that sense of loss and sorrow that arises in the wake of her leaving. I want her to leave, don’t get me wrong. She’s doing better about cleaning up after herself when she’s here, although she still has to be reminded. She goes to bed really late, though. I end up having to wake her up at eleven in the morning, which makes me resentful, since I’ve already been up hours by then caring for her daughter. I will have to set firm boundaries when she’s next here. I’m also relieved that I can stop worrying about locking my valuables in my bedroom or what she’s doing when she leaves the house during her visits.
But Faith cries, and I’m trying to comfort her on my own. I don’t know exactly where Kylie will go. She says she is staying with a friend. I, also, don’t know that she’s safe or healthy. No one really knows that about their young adult child who is attempting, however poorly, to live independently, but a child who is addicted to heroin and likely to be tossed on the street really brings this home.
I miss my husband. I wanted him to leave, don’t get me wrong on that, either. There’s just too much hurt between us and too little trust. I read Cheryl Strayed’s collection of essays from her book, Tiny Beautiful Things. She talks a lot about that voice that some people hear whispering “Go” and about how no person should ignore it. I heard that voice many times over the course of many years. At first, there were so many more voices whispering “Stay” that it was difficult to hear the lone voice telling me to leave. Gradually, some of those voices whispering “Stay” instead began singing “Go” until I was finally left with only one voice echoing on every register. And it was telling me to go. So, I’m going. I filed for divorce a month ago, and my husband moved out that night. He says he didn’t want a divorce, but his actions for years prior indicate otherwise. It’s only lately that I’ve wondered whether he had a voice whispering for him to go, but he just wasn’t courageous enough to do it before he caused so much harm.
One thing that helps me is imagining myself on a long walk. As I have done many times, I pick up something wild while I study and hold it. Eventually, it wiggles and gets so distressed that I place it back on the ground or branch or leaf. We both then continue on our separate paths, with myself a little richer for the experience and the creature no worse for wear. That is the goal I imagine and am trying to pursue for myself over the course of our divorce and beyond. I don’t want to become a bitter person, and I would prefer that he didn’t think too badly of me. I’ve avoided blaming him outright even though I know he blames himself, anyway, and I will try not to speak badly of him to our children. This is a lot easier to do when we’re not still together, and I think the only way for me to really forgive him is to not live with him so I don’t have to play any part in his deceptions.
I miss my husband, but every time I think of trying to continue in our marriage, I picture myself as a cartoon character who is slogging through a large pit of mud and shit. It gets deeper and deeper and hardens around me until eventually, I cannot take one more step forward and can’t even move my limbs. I’m sort of a frozen-in-motion Wylie Coyote. The only way I can move at all is to move in a different direction, and I must move forward at all costs.