Days Creep

When your marriage ends you look within. You struggle, you grieve, you mourn what you thought you had and then you mourn that you never did. Days creep, creep by — every minute drips with heaviness. Once there was never enough time — now the days are long, the nights longer and sleep is something that happens for other people. You awake at 3 a.m., 4 a.m., rise and pad through the rooms of your home. You stop in your boys’ bedroom doorway and listen to their gentle snores.

You cry a lot and often.

You stop eating. You lose an unbelievable 20 pounds without even trying. You can’t even cheer the silver lining of misery. The long days stretch to weeks and then months. You are in the thick of it and it is crazy time. CRAZY time.

Then one morning, so many months later (eleven!), you wake up and the clock says 7:10. You are sleeping again and the first thought that assaults you is not the shock, not the sadness, not the pain — finally. Instead you think about the day ahead, lunch you’ll have with a dear friend, a walk in the park. And even though you are still in the thick of it and will be in the thick of it until you are pronounced Done, you get on with it and you thank your lucky stars that at least you are alone, at least you are no longer a bit player on the stage of a lie.

You are done being a puppet in his drama. You are like a bird with a broken wing — you can’t yet fly, but at least you are intact.

Surely the end of every marriage that ends is unique. Obviously none of it is pain-free. Holy fuck, is there pain. But some people drift apart, some people are on the same page, some people see it coming.

You were blindsided. The truth you uncover is unfathomable, impossible, and flies in the face of every I love you. You remember the day you took vows in front of everyone you loved and while marriage is hard, no doubt, you worked at it and assumed the man you chose, who chose you, would work at it too. You assumed because you trusted. You did not know, how could you? — that your trust was simply his carte blanche.

Along the way to this morning — this morning when you awake to sun pouring in your window at 7:10 — you will learn many things, not the least of which is that some people deserve an Academy Award. They’ve charmed their way through life; taking, always taking, because it’s easy and they can.

You vow never ever to trust like that again. More than a decade of deceit, of platitudes and false moments. How you loathe the fact that this will always be part of your story. You are hurt and you are mad and you ache for your kids whose lives will forever be altered by these events.

But most of all, you are strong. You always were. And in the way that counts most, you are free.

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