By April I knew the year was over

August 14th, 2012, 7pm

By April I knew the year was over.

No matter what came from then on, there was nothing that would stop me from toasting, once again, on New Year’s Eve to good riddance to the previous year.

My wife had. Well, she had. Left me. She left me.

God, I hate that phrase. What do you call it? Giving something awful a good name. Sugar-coating or something.

Our boys would learn that year what they never did in history class: a date to go with an action that’s personally relevant. I knew before they did that they’d resent me once for being weak, and twice for being strong. For letting it happen, and then staying gone. Two justifications for the same emotion.

I don’t blame them. But I do wish there were some way to explain in ways that didn’t sound like excuses or tired clichés:

One day you’ll understand.

I’ve been so unhappy for so long, but I’m finally admitting it.

It’s not your faults. It was never your faults.

I love your mother. I do.

People grow.

I wanted to believe those things, too. I still do, and sometimes they comfort me.

The reason I hate that phrase—Alicia leaving me—is because it captures the most anticlimactic moment in a long, awful series of events. And washes over all the times that I could have left. And times that I did, but came back.

When it was over, ironically, it was me who left. I packed bags at night, put them into the car and tried to close the trunk as softly as possible so as not to wake the neighbors, or our sons. Our. And then I left for work.

Again, knowing what my boys didn’t. Looking at them before I started looking for a hotel.

The funny thing, though? It was bad, and I knew it was bad. And I had no idea what was ahead. But for some reason I never thought it was permanent, or even really real. I always thought I’d go back, like inertia just spinning me around in orbit before I lined up again with my family’s planets. Or moons, I guess. I’m trying to be philosophical tonight.

But I was there for several weeks. The hotel. Stopped going to work consistently, and believing there too that no one would notice or care enough to disrupt my life’s natural flow. Because my flow was their flow, I thought.

I had been reading some self-help books about ecological living back then. It was all a pond, or a wetland, and I was just a frog but we were all connected by the water and the lily pads and fish and everything.

See, I did try.

I saw a doctor. Multiple doctors. Tried jogging. Took antidepressants with my blood meds. Tried eating more vegetables. Rented an apartment. Only temporary. Tried breathing to ten and believing in the best in people. I tried.

But, that’s the thing that really kills me now. Was it all too late even when I started? Did I actually have a chance? Was Alicia’s encouragement—when she’d let me back into the house, but only let me occupy our living room while monitored; me just swallowing my resentment at that, looking for signs of new life in the house—really just a way of preparing a wounded animal to re-enter the wild all the while I thought she thought we were repairing ourselves?

I’m tired. The groceries on the table and I’m too tired to even put them away in these rented cabinets, rented couch, rented life.

I want to wake up tomorrow. I want to wake up and this is all over. I don’t want to endure or change. I don’t want these four remaining months to go till this gets put behind.

I knew the year was over. I know it is.

Sanna, David Wade and Christine said thanks.

Share this moment


I don't get out much

Create a free account

Have an account? Sign in.

Sign up with Facebook