How do you say goodbye to your sweetest hello?
When the woman you wake up to every morning, serving as an affirmation that all is well in your world, no longer shares your bed..or your life?
How do you maintain your balance when the center of your equilibrium in a world already spinning on a shaky spindle, says, “I love you, but I want a divorce?”
How do you formulate words with any meaning when the one person who truly understands you no longer wants to hear the sound of your voice?
You simply get up, put one foot in front of the other, and hope, with every fiber of your being that today, you will survive, you will move forward. Whether you believe it or not. Hope that you don’t stumble and fall into a crumbling heap. Hope that your sense of purpose and direction will one day return.
The next 24 hours will be crucial. We have been living together for the past 3 weeks, ever since she decided it was best that we don’t. We have been loving and supportive and oh, so much in denial. We thought that through maturity and feigned patience that we could forestall the inevitable…the crushing and the shredding of our 18 years together, without too much drama, without too much pain. But as I stand here, packing my bags, whispering tender goodbyes to our dog, the pain and the anguish are mercilessly pounding at the door. They demand an audience.
It is too late to correct our course…things have been put into irreversible motion. The families have been gathered and informed. Friends have been brought up to speed. Luggage has been bought and sadly packed. Her Facebook status has been updated, even before I leave the house. It was so fucking important that the world knows she would soon be rid of me.
I bought a used car to facilitate my exit. It, like me, is creaky and worn and dangerously close to its final days here on this earth. We deserve one another. As I drive off, quickly glancing once more at a lifetime of love and memories fading in the rear view mirror, me and my broken down car will try to nurse our way down the highways of life. We may not make it very far, but we won’t be here anymore.
How do I say goodbye? “See you later” seems altogether absurd and insufficient. “I love you…take care of yourself” sounds seditious and false. “Be well”…perhaps, but I know she won’t be. Not for awhile. And a tight hug would only mock our separation. I’m afraid I’d embarrass the both of us by not letting go.
No, the best I can come up with is to quietly slip away while she is otherwise distracted posting updates of my departure with her faceless friends on Facebook. The non-people of cyberspace who seem to bring her more joy and comfort than an actual husband. Unlike me, she can pour out her heart to these faceless creatures who offer her false comfort and advice. They share memes to bolster her decision to quit this marriage, as though they are writing her name on some imaginary wall of support that disappears when she powers down for the night. I “unlike” you all. You inglorious bastards.
How do I let go, one last time?
By simply…letting go. And not looking in that rear view mirror.