The gloom precedes him when he comes around; he blows in like an unwelcome and sudden storm fixated upon its path to the detriment of all else. He is a whirlwind of packing and loading and sorting and disposing. A force that literally cannot be talked down nor reckoned with. The work sounds difficult, there is banging and crashing and cursing and dragging of heavy things…an atmosphere of stress that only adds to the gloom cloud, making the conditions perfect for an electrical storm.
The intensity is frightening when it comes though, and I still find myself caught off guard. I find myself searching desperately for an anchor to hold onto, but there is nothing in my life left to cling to….I lost my certainty about everything the moment he left and now the waves wash over me in violent tirades, nothing to stop the jarring impact of being tossed upon the rocky shore. It is a shock to me how familiar this feels, and for the first time I find myself questioning how safe I ever was with him. And then as violently and sudden as it began, it stops. He is gone again.
It takes me a long time to go downstairs. I try to steel myself before I make my way down…but the barrenness that greets me is still shattering in its intensity. It is a wasteland, a bare, invisible monument to all that once stood there. I mentally fill in the blanks: the bookcase full of the manuals he used to fix anything and everything, especially anything mechanical…the garage workbench, filled with half completed projects and dreams not one hour before. It’s gone. Just gone. The plans, the hopes, the dreams, the future. The things that meant so much to him. Everything that showed he was ever here, ever a part of us. Our family. He has left his role, his place….I choke back tears, my heart aching for him…for the man who felt that disassembling his entire life, piece by piece, was somehow easier than fighting for us. For me. It is an insipid, unsettling feeling: to consider the fact that I had caused somebody, anybody, such unhappiness that they have had no choice but to destroy the life that they have built. Their home. Their family.
I move around the house with the distinct feeling of having broken into someone else’s life and that it is due to come to swift end at any moment once I get caught out. But there is no one to intervene, no one to come and clear up the confusion and mix up that has occurred. This is it now. This is me, this hollow shell shuffling around, a zombie craving food and sleep but with a body that seems unwilling to comply with its need for either. I stare blankly in the mirror, wistfully longing for some recognition of who I am now, but all I see is someone else. The one who was left. The one left behind.