“Who is it?” Nothing else made sense.

“What are you talking about? This has just been a long time coming. There isn’t someone else, Emily.” He avoided eye contact, inched toward the door. 

“You can tell me straight to my face, like a man. Or I can find out on my own. If you have any respect for me, you will tell me yourself, Demetrius. I may have made a million mistakes with Norman, but at least I had the decency to tell him the truth about you when I left.” There’s no honor among thieves. 

“There’s no one.” The most painful dichotomy–hearing words you wish were truth versus your heart-twisting in pain, your gut tightening in self-pity, your mind racing…knowing it’s all lies. 

“I’ve seen other women get obsessed in this position…combing through phone records, flipping out over every little thing. Just tell me upfront. That’s fair. That way I can begin the healing process and keep what dignity I have left in tact. I don’t want to put myself through the insanity of trying to figure it out. I don’t want to do that.” But I did it.

“Emily. There’s not someone else. Why can’t you just accept the fact that I’m done with you?”

“Because it doesn’t add up. Yeah we fight–that’s married life. I haven’t done anything so awful that I deserve to be left. For better or for worse, it’s a gamble. I guess you think you ended up with worse, but you took those odds.” I held Clara on my hip and followed him around as he packed things. None of this made sense. 

He was loading his tv and xbox into his truck. Did he just need a break from it all? This isn’t real. If I just sit home and pray and cry, it will all fix itself. If I don’t tell anyone, it isn’t really true. 

“Are you wearing your ring?” I tapped on the window of his truck. He rolled it down. 

“Let me see your left hand.” He held it up. No ring. “Why aren’t you wearing your ring?”

“Why would I?” I couldn’t see his eyes because he had sunglasses on. But I saw an unmistakeable flicker of a grin on the corners of his mouth. 

“I’m going to keep wearing mine.” I held up my left hand.  I stood there like a pathetic moron as he drove off. 

I don’t know you anymore. And the new you isn’t an improvement. Don’t be this person. You have a choice. 

________________________________

Your life is a delicate, exotic, intricately  blown-glass chandelier, hanging from a precarious thread over a cold, pristine marble floor. Sometimes someone will cut that thread, and walk away before it hits the floor. It may be someone who made you promises; it may be someone you laughed with and called a friend. Your spouse and one of your friends may cut it together, double betrayal. It will probably be someone you love dearly, passionately, truly. 

Some fools even cut the thread themselves. I’ve been the thread-cutting fool, and I’ve been the one left with the shards. 

Clean it up, box it up, throw it all away–these are all dignified ways to handle the shards of glass. People will politely look away long enough for you to sweep up your mess. Some will even murmur that maybe you should’ve made a rod iron chandelier in the first place. 

Under no circumstances should you ever sit and stare at the mess or try to organize it in piles of colors that make sense to you. People will assure you that’s a waste of your time and heart. But remember it’s YOUR mess. You can do what you want with the shards. You can slowly pick up each piece and create a mosaic if you want to.

This photo was taken in our driveway, on the day I asked about his ring. We don’t usually know the pain and stories behind a simple, beautiful photo. 

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