Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Peering Through the Cracks

Tonight, when making dinner, I had an intense moment of déjà vu.

Tired after my gym workout, and freshly showered, and more than a little hungry, I meandered into the kitchen, with the intent of frying up an egg and making a fruit smoothie. And before I could go about whipping up this sustenance, I was transported back to the last time I came from the gym and made such a meal.

Silently, contemplatively, I cracked an egg on the edge of the frying pan. Then I moved to the blender, and tossed in some fruit, some yogurt--before I could pour in some juice,  Mr. Melissa came up behind me and kissed my neck. 

Resentfully I shrugged him off.

"Don't you love me anymore?" he asked, as he sometimes did. Before, I would feel guilty. But not anymore. 

His words cracked my facade as easily as I had just cracked the egg now sizzling in the pan.
"You know what?" I said quietly, realizing, as I did, that I was Over It. Over Everything. "Just...you know what, Mr. Melissa? I know that you and _____ are having a thing. So don't try that 'don't you love me anymore' crap."

With those words, I cracked through the crust of civility, of half-truths and whole-lies and diplomatic acceptance and avoidance that has formed over my marriage in the last three years. I drilled through that crust and got to the truth, which was maybe a lot less ugly than I feared, and definitely more freeing.

I never got around to eating my egg that night.

Eventually, tiredly, I tossed it into the garbage, too wrung-out to even feel the slightest bit of hunger anymore. I hadn't planned to confront Mr. Melissa that night, but pretending and keeping quiet have never been strong points of mine, and it was twisting me up inside. But what was also keeping me up at night was a truth I hadn't expected to uncover: in accepting that my marriage would eventually end, I realized that I will be free to return home. And the thought of that elated me--it still does--beyond belief. That truth--or at least the possibility of it--left me weeping with joy more than a few times. In a few years, I am going to have the chance to move home, to Indiana or at least the Midwest.

It's sad to know that my marriage has failed. It's sad to know that this marriage--begun hastily, but with hope and love--is for the next one or three or five years being kept alive on the life support of kindness and friendship and history and cooperation and acceptance. But I've been around the block enough times to know that the fact that I am not more sad, or at all jealous or enraged or vengeful, indicates a lot about my own feelings, and the role that I have played in steering our marriage to this place.

All of this is sad. And the old born-again Christian me would be appalled by my blase attitude toward the institution of marriage, and the 29-year-old desperate not to be an old maid me would be appalled that I am eventually walking away from what I once couldn't wait to have. It's twelve kinds of fucked-up. This world that I built up--I cracked open almost impulsively last month.

But through the cracks shine some rays of hope.

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