Thursday, Jul. 25, 2019 @ 12:05 am
In the background of everything, over the last few months, I shudder and heave my way through the drafting of a separation agreement. I talk on the phone with lawyers; I research legal precedent. I email him an offer and he responds with incoherent babble, faulty logic, and disconcerting venom.
Two weeks ago, we reached what I thought was a final agreement, one which was in his favour, which included me giving him the car. And then, after I drafted the wording and sent it to him for review, he pulled a figurative switchblade from his hip pocket and shoved it into me, describing why I should pay all of the realtor fees on the house sale.
I read that email and was instantly angry. I sat there for a minute and thought about my reaction and realized that in that very moment, I discovered one of my boundaries: I discovered the limit of my generosity.
I committed to approaching the separation with generosity, but this was too much. I was already giving him car*, and he earns more money than I do, and he is a white male, and why the fuck should I pay the realtor fees on the house. I waited twenty-four hours and then calmly replied that his suggestion was not going to work for me and that the last offer was my final offer and that I was going on a ten-day trip and would not be responding to emails for two weeks.
A week later, he responds:
You can just sign the separation agreement and send it to ____ and copy me. I’m not going to argue or dispute this anymore over a minor amount. I just didn’t want to let go.
I hope you’re doing ok. I decided to go travelling on my own but all it is doing is reminding me of all the times we travelled together and it’s made me miserably sad and lonely. I don’t know why I’m telling you this, something compelled me to. Maybe just so that you know I still and will always miss your company and sharing experiences with you, despite everything else.
I signed the agreement and received notice this morning that he also signed it and that it has been filed with the lawyers. I’m waiting for a wall of emotion to hit me, but so far nothing.
After work, I cycle to the beach to meet Russell, Anna, and Holly. I whipped up a jar of carrot top pesto and packed it into my pannier with seedy crackers, goat cheese, and smoked salmon. I also brought gin. And soda. And lime. And ice. They all love the pesto and half the jar disappears quickly. Anna queues up some Norwegian hip hop on Russell’s speaker, and I drink quickly and purposefully, wanting to feel the alcohol, wanting to let loose the emotions that must surround this monumental day.
Eventually, I go out swimming alone. I dive under the water over and over. I find a blade of kelp and use it like a gymnastic ribbon, casting it out in circles around me. I lay on my back in the warm top layer of water and allow myself to rise and fall with each passing wave. I dive down and run my hands along the rippled grey-brown sand.
Alone in the water, the finality of the separation begins to hit me. But the feeling is not exactly what I expected. It’s a calm, blue feeling. I am alone; I am free. The most outstanding sensation is that of quiet. The stillness that follows catastrophe. The careful examination of one’s body for wounds. To sit around and dwell is to take time away from things that bring me joy.
I wade back to the shore, dry off my skin, and sit down next to Russell, tuck under his arm, and lean back against the warm log to watch the sunset.
Night arrives, and we pack up to go home. Russell and I cycle to the place where we part, and we stand straddling our bikes in the dark.
“Congratulations,” he says. I’d told him earlier in the day that it was all final.
I respond and open up the conversation. I express appreciation for his patience. He describes his uncertainty around my readiness for a relationship, about my understanding of what I am looking for.
“I know what I am looking for. I am looking for…” I look off into the forest.
“You don’t need to answer that. It wasn’t meant as a question,” he interjects.
“I am looking for a best friend. An activity partner. Someone who is empathic, generous, and kind-hearted. You are all of these things.” I look up at him to see his response.
“I also realized some time ago that I am looking for someone to love. I have all of this capacity within me, and I wish to love someone and see them be happy. To see someone be happy with my love - that would bring me so much joy. I think that I’ve been ready for a new relationship for a long time. Years, to be honest. I feel very ready to love.”
I study his face. This moment of vulnerability. Cracking things wide open.
“You do make me happy. I hope you know that. Very happy.”
*A Subaru Crosstrek worth $25,000. Which leaves me with no car.