24 Hours

It has been 24 hours since he left me without saying goodbye. Actually, that is being a tad generous considering there were two small boys that he also left behind. He must hate me. It becomes my mantra. He must hate me so, so much to rip our lives apart like this, especially our babies. The snippets of conversation from him that I am actually privy to seem to confirm this. It is too late, he tells me. Our time for talking is through. My dignity fails me and I find myself begging; imploring him to see that the past 9.6 years of our marriage can outweigh what he might be feeling now. But his answer slays me: I just feel like I have wasted the past ten years of my life on you. I understand that message loud and clear, like a lightening bolt through my soul. It is over. There is no coming back from this. My self loathing is now around 99% complete. I feel like death would be preferable, but alas, there is no time for such hysterics: all that is in my immediate view are two small, beautiful boys who cannot understand where, how and why their daddy has gone. 

Is this like a game? I see their faces desperately trying to ask me. The question behind the question. The need for knowing without being able to understand. It makes my heart ache beyond anything I ever thought possible. I want to tell them the truth but the truth just reads like a terribly maudlin and messed up Dr Suess story: “Daddy loves you, right, but he just ran away to somewhere else, which is a terribly unloving thing to do, sure, but you haven’t done anything wrong. It doesn’t sound like he will ever live here anymore because he clearly doesn’t love Mummy and more but hey, it will be like one big party when you get to visit Daddy again, as soon as he feels like talking to Mummy about that!” No. The truth isn’t really a complete option so I find myself thrown into a crash course in swallowing my feelings and my pride and becoming my husband’s (ex-husband’s?) greatest cheerleader. Daddy loves you so much. Daddy will always love you. You haven’t done anything wrong. Sometimes Daddies just need some space, and you will see him really, really soon. It hits me that I shouldn’t have been the one explaining this. That this isn’t us, we were always going to be a family no matter what. I rage inside at the powerlessness that I feel, that I had no choice in the way mine and my children’s futures are now going to go. I try and think of the last time I ate. I can’t remember but it does momentarily distract me. My big boy only wants to sleep in my bed. I don’t even think twice: there is a lot more room now. For a moment I am floored at how this was even an issue when we all went to bed last night, battling our son to stay in his own bed, to encourage his independence and to give us parents some space, physically and figuratively. All we need now is the comfort of each other; such noble quests for growing up seem superfluous and ridiculous now. 

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