I am a fool for having loved you and a fool for loving you still.
This would be much easier if it were going on like television divorces. There has been no throwing of dishes or plates of food or malicious attacks of character, no serving of papers, no sitting across from each other in a conference room fighting over the turkey platter which was used once in ten years.
In fact, tears blinded my sight as I signed the acknowledgement of divorce. I am the plaintiff, you are the defendant, and you will sign the paperwork tomorrow. It will then cross someone’s desk and we will be nothing but a case number …and a statistic. The lawyer spoke plainly as I sat there listening to the explanation of paperwork and trying desperately to hold it together until I got back to the car, my car.
“My” car… you signed the car title over to me. We got the car back when we were young and arrogant. I remember pulling into the dealership knowing you told them to pull one in every color to the front of the lot so that I could just pick my favorite. They did and I did and now it’s a reflection of our marriage… many, many miles, a few scratches and one big dent that can’t be denied or unseen.
I can’t un-know what you did and you can’t undo the chain of events that have since followed. Has it really just been eighteen days? It only takes twenty-one to form a habit. When I looked back over the phone text logs after D-day, your new habit formed in much less time. And now, you will start your new life with a new car and a new girl, both shiny and new, and I will be left with a ding that can’t be denied.
The more I see that ding in the car’s bumper, the less severe it becomes and I wonder the same of me. Each day that I’m further removed from D-day becomes a bit easier and I wonder if you will slowly start to fade from my memory. We talk now as if we will be in each other’s lives for years but I can’t help but wonder if that is wise. I look back to the model that your family provides… a collection of broken relationships that gather each year at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Friendly enough but the occasional dig comes out and I don’t want that to be us. I told you on D-Day that forgiveness meant I wouldn’t hold this over your head. I’m not sure I’m strong enough yet to keep that promise, as evidenced by our conversation with the lawyer last week.
Our life together ends much like it started… with me working days and you working nights. It’s funny how that seems to be the pattern that starts off your relationships. Relationship – is that what you have with her? It still makes me nauseous. I told you on D-day that if you left you would never, ever come back to me and that I would never look back. Well, we know that the second part is not true. I have told you I would look back and that I will remember, both the good and the bad. However, the first part is very true and I will hold to it tightly. You will not come back to me.
I’m only now realize that might include friendship. Your life will one day lead you to know that you did have a good thing in me and that the only reason you find it easy to say that you are now sorry is because of the certainty that this chapter of your life is over. You crave being the hero – having the final say. Even that night, you tried to minimize the situation. You were unprepared for my response because you believed that by telling me that you had an affair, it would make it easier for me to tell you that I wanted out. You told me you felt like you were holding me back and that I couldn’t tell you that I wanted out. If you felt like you were holding me back then you should have stepped up and encouraged me to be more.
Thinking back to the ding in the car, you talked about getting it fixed but never did. Again, another reminder of how it is like our marriage. You saw something that needed to be taken care but instead of fixing it, you chose to ignore it. Yes, my ding may be here for awhile, but it can be restored and the part the replaces it will be stronger and more resilient. You see that is my new life – it may not be shiny and new but it will be stronger and more resilient.