Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019 @ 3:28 pm
I wake up in the hotel room sick. My head a clouded, aching mess. I pack my bags and send him a text: "I'm sick and need to come home." He replies that he's booked a flight and will be gone for a week.
I work through half of the day. There is a Valentine's pancake breakfast, and the warm food is like a hug for my soul. I have been travelling for three weeks, and I'm grateful for the homemade meal shared with others. Strawberries, raspberries, so far out of season. Bacon. Whipped cream from a can. I sit at a table covered in pink tissue paper and talk with some folks. It's nice. It's so nice. I linger talking with a man. He's so kind. I'd told him the night before when I was at work late and we crossed paths in the dimly lit office. He sits with me after breakfast, as the others fold up and stack the chairs around us. He sits close to me, and I feel cared for. His kindness. I realize how lonely I've been.
I reach my limit shortly after lunch. I walk back to the hotel, dig out the car, and start the long drive back into the mountains, the flowers once again strapped in beside me on the passenger seat. I've grown attached to the slowly-wilting spray of pink and purple lilies, mums, and carnations. Appreciating the delicate arrangement, the textures and colours. Watching their slow decay.
I arrive home at dusk. The house feels wrong. I can smell him and his misery. I crawl up into my attic and draw the blinds and pray for sleep.
In the following days, I exorcise his energy. I find myself out back chopping a season's worth of kindling, stripped down to a tank-top, the air heady with the neighbour's pot smoke that drifts over the fence. I find myself washing out the inside of the microwave with a soapy sponge. I make a batch of oatmeal cookies and watch a chicken carcass simmering into broth in the slow cooker. I groom the snow on the driveway and jump up and down to flatten a ruley patch. The boys next door are working on their snow fort. Snow sheds from the roof in great heaving whoomps.
I send him a message to find out when he plans to return. I need to coordinate my exit; my time here is borrowed at best.
His reply horrifies me. He's gotten into a disagreement with his parents, and there was swearing and accusations and confrontations, and he had to leave. To quote, "I just wrecked my relationship with them." His parents.
I watch him move around the suburb on my phone. I'm overcome with worry. Now he has nobody. I follow him to the drug store, to the grocery store, and to a coffee shop. Later, I see that he's at his sister's house, the one that sent me a kind message of support when she first heard. I am relieved and can finally turn away from my phone.
I wonder what his parents said to him. I wonder if they are 'taking my side', so to speak. In the last decade, I am the one to send the birthday cards, to bring gifts for the boys at Christmas. Last year, they all gave me gifts but not him. He sat there looking angry but without valid cause for complaint. And then I think about a parent that swears at their child in their time of crisis. This is all a part of the same thing. I don't know it all - he's never fully opened up to me about it - but I can tell that this is an important part of how he acts in relationships.
I made the right decision. Every day I see things more clearly. Every day I become more confident in my decision.
I realize that I feel less alone now than before my leap into the abyss. And know that you are a part of that.