My husband has packed his things and they are taking over the living room, a space that will be entirely mine by the week’s end. He decided he wanted out of our marriage and I decided I wanted him out of the house, a tit for tat, the score is tied, and neither of us will emerge the victor.
It’s not like I didn’t know this was coming. What I didn’t know was how I would feel about it. After spending weeks feeling nothing but anger toward him, I had forgotten that I was capable of feeling anything else. I forgot that this is the man I love. I didn’t know that watching him pack up his belongings would fill me with such an urgent need and desperation for him. And even though neither of us wants this undone, I had no idea I would be fighting the urge to run to him, begging, “Please, let’s stop this. Please, hold me once more, I didn’t know the last time was the last.”
A few days after he said the word “divorce” I dreamed of us together, in a car, driving through an unknown neighborhood. Although it was summer, we kept driving past homes with Christmas decorations, all with Santa’s image removed. We stopped at a garage sale where we purchased our own Christmas tapestry, also missing Santa. We shoved it into a bag, and when we went to pick it up, we realized it was too heavy. We refused help, insistent that we carry it ourselves. We struggled to make it to the car, and once there, we quickly stuffed it into the trunk before firmly slamming it shut.
I wonder now, was I once naïve enough to think marriage would always be like Christmas morning? Did my younger self believe in something that wasn’t actually there? I don’t remember what I thought all of those years ago, but I know I didn’t foresee this ending: our relationship now so small, so devoid of its own magic and wonder, it may as well be on someone’s yard sale table. It has, indeed, become too heavy to carry.