Exactly a week after my husband has walked out on us, we are meeting to discuss All The Things. It is cold, detached and formal, and I am struggling to believe that our life together boils down to this. This stilted bargaining for things that no longer hold any meaning for me while I desperately search his face for any trace of the man I once knew. I am denied any semblance of familiarity; it has all been replaced by clipped professionalism that I do not recognize. I ask him why he couldn’t have stayed, why we couldn’t have worked this out for the sake of the children. He looks at me somewhat incredulously and tersely explains that the last few years have been for the sake of the children, he hasn’t been happy for a long time. I quickly realize that I am the whale and he is the hunter, far from bringing any kind of closure, answers are merely harpoons in his hands, and my heart is being brutally ripped apart. I stumble on, regardless, desperately sifting among the ashes for something, anything, that might be salvageable. I implore him for some way back, some way of fixing this, of getting some help. In return I get a blithe Uhhh, no. A jolt of recognition comes to me, finally. This is the same way he had always ended any argument when he thought I was being completely ridiculous. It was his final word, conversation over.
Yes, there had been arguments, and I am the first to admit that I had my own faults. Most recently, I had been consumed by the trial by fire that comes with the first few years of motherhood. With two under two for a while, it had, at times, been overwhelming. So yes, there had been fights. But there had also been as many apologies and promises to do better next time and hopes for the future. There had been weekends away, and hands held and love made. There had been happiness, and laughter and hours of fun with our dynamic and endlessly entertaining boys. For him to sit there and make statements about how he should have had the guts to leave years ago feels completely disingenuous. Mind you, there is nothing about this entire process that doesn’t feel disingenuous.
He is reiterating the importance of me transferring the power account into my name. It is risky, he laments, to keep it in my name when you could rack up a huge bill and not pay it and then run away. Then it would be my credit rating that gets affected. I’m too distracted to be outraged. Incredulous at his priorities. I know we have been tip-toeing around the most important issue and I am trying to prepare myself for what is coming. But when it comes up, I am both relieved and surprised. We make mutually agreeable arrangements for the boys swiftly and without fanfare. He then leaves swiftly and covertly while the boys are distracted. That’s it then. Just like that. We have now sorted All The Things.