Worth: a melody is like a memory

Worth: a melody is like a memory

December 17, 2016…

“Go inside!” The sky shoots tiny knives of sleet at us. Keith runs to the back of my van to get my groceries out and carry them inside. 

“I can get some of these.” I start to reach for the bags. 

“No. I got it. Get the baby and get inside.” He’s not even wearing a coat. Will I go soft and forget how to take care of myself? I obey him. 

If you don’t know what it feels like to be an ordinary girl in sweatpants with your hair wadded on your head, and have a man fall over himself to treat you like you’re a celebrity beauty queen…I hope one day you get to know that feeling. 

Everyone deserves to feel that. Don’t settle for being treated like you are only ordinary…because someone will see your royalty.

________________________

January, February, March 2015 (right before I met keith, some of my old sad bastard Facebook statuses italicized)

Oh bills and laundry! You are so loyal and steadfast. You will never leave me. Always home waiting on me, no matter how much I neglect you and curse you. You are so true and dedicated to me. Forever.

__________________________

All vices are chains. And no person quite fits in the heart hole. So go ahead and trade one set of chains for another set, and choose to never see that. Stand still alone, breathe slowly, have the discipline to choose no excess, then every bullet will hit the force field and clink to the floor. It’s not a sad realization, it’s not angry, it’s not ignorance. I see it, and I do care. Always see, always hear, always care, probably too much. But no bullet can actually reach me or hurt me. Fill that hole with God, and that’s the only, only, only true freedom. Chains drop.

__________________________

Dear God…please help me keep my skin tough, heart soft, mind sharp, eyes open, spirit strong, and mouth shut.

____________________________

I’m having one of those days where you like…you think about the night before, and remember how you drank a huge bottle of wine and made some hilarious jokes that you don’t remember, and then you wake up and get to your step study Bible group at 8:30am. And you think about how many times you’ve drastically contradicted yourself in the past week, and then you feel the need to let the world know…yeah, I need to handle my shit. 


Don’t be hypocrites and act like you don’t all do this too. See you at church. See YOU at the club.

_____________________________

Dropping bombs in groundhog holes. I am the sun, no shadows for anyone. In good news–Full moon in Leo tonight. We run this. I can have fun in the cold.

______________________________

Cheers to you,Taylor Swift, lyrical genius, mind-reader, blaring you now. Push the clean laundry off the bed and onto the floor, eat Skittles for supper. I’m an adult. Buy cheap, one-ply toilet paper because I like it, put the silverware in the dishwasher handles up because I don’t want a fork to poke me, leave every light on, buy ungrated cheese because it tastes better, never lock doors, throw away every twist tie and every lid to everything because it makes life faster. My ways have always been better. 

#feelsawesome

____________________________

You are so lonely. Be honest. It’s eleven on a Saturday, and you’re scrolling through the newsfeed liking everything and smiling about every friend. You played a game where you had to post a picture of a baby animal. Who does that?

You looked up the setlist for Garth’s Tulsa concert and had your own little concert of one. But only played the gut-wrenching ones, no fast ones. You wiped snot on your jeans more than once. Admit it. 

Your toes are going numb. You should put socks on. But who cares? There is no one in this bed to be bothered by these cold feet.

You’re not the boss of God. And you can tell him exactly what he needs to make happen in your life, but he knows better than you what lessons you need. So accept them. Don’t wish today away. Embrace your now.

Or what? Trip over all the sad suitcases in your past? Hold hope for the future? If I just knew some of the keypoints, God, I could endure all this much better. How does it end up?

Someone needs you now. Most of them call you Mom. No, not you. Me.

I am lonely, but I’m not vulnerable. I hold a hand that no one sees. But you all do see. Take this paltry patchwork. It doesn’t have to make sense to you. It’s the scraps pieced together.

___________________________

“God doesn’t exist to help our lives turn out the way WE want. He exists to help US turn out the way HE wants.” (Celebrate Recovery last night) #WORKinPROGRESS #LIFEisMESSY #GODisGOOD

_____________________________

I need a man to take out the trash; I need a man who wants to talk to me all day long; I need a man who wants to wash my car; I need a man who makes me laugh; I need a man who mows my lawn; I need a man who is smart and keeps me on my toes; I need a man who is athletic with me. Annnnd it’s really probably best if all these guys don’t know about each other.

____________________________

If you’re married or in a serious relationship, be so proud of that. Hold onto her with all your might, only think of her good qualities and your faults; it’ll keep you thankful and humble. 

Post a profile pic of you two having a nice time; that means sooooo much to girls. Never private message another female; there’s rarely a reason a married or involved man ever needs one private word with a woman he’s not married or related to, be respectable.

 Never do or say one thing you wouldn’t if she was right with you, have integrity. Want to stand out as an awesome guy? Treat your woman like a queen, not many guys do. Praise publicly, pray privately for the changes you would love to see.

Be so, so careful with every thought and word and action. I’ve been on just about every road a person can be on. Adulterers are a dime a dozen. Loveless lust is cheap and common and nothing at all special. A man (or woman) with a pure heart and mind…that’s a rare treasure.

And single people, try your best not to behave as a stumbling block. When I trip up, which happens a lot, I have about 4-5 different friends who will text me and tell me that it looks like I’m seeking the wrong kind of attention. Sitcoms lie. Being single sucks. It’s boring and lonely. But it’s only right for all of us to behave respectably too.

And if someone saunters into your personal space, and you’re a taken man/woman…run away. You’re not special and she’s not either. Put your arms around your woman as tight as you can. 

It doesn’t matter how big your muscles are or how toned your legs are; if you wrap them around the wrong person, you aren’t special.

If you’re thinking or saying or doing something you know is wrong, just stop. That’s all. Just stop. 

I’m awfully bossy tonight. And every night. 

#beRARE #beingSINGLEisNOTglamorous #dontLOSEaDIAMONDchasingGLITTER #takeANhonestLOOKatYOURSELF #HUGyourSPOUSEforPUTTINGupWITHyou

__________________________

God sees your worth. 🙂

A well known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $20 bill. In the room of 200, he asked. “Who would like this $20 bill?”
Hands started going up. He said, “I am going to give this $20 to one of you – but first, let me do this.” 

He proceeded to crumple the 20 dollar note up. He then asked. “Who still wants it?” Still the hands were up in the air.

“Well,” he replied, “what if I do this?” He dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe. He picked it up, now crumpled and dirty. “Now, who still wants it?”

Still the hands went into the air.
“My friends, you have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20.”

Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We feel as though we are worthless; but no matter what happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value. 

Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless to those who love you. The worth of our lives comes, not in what we do or who we know, but by …WHO WE ARE.

You are special – don’t ever forget it. 😉
_________________________

Shovel the ice from my driveway, shovel the ice off my heart. Oh, hm…too much too soon for you? Go away then. I’m feeling…not enough, not soon enough.

I am not filling a void. I filled that heart hole with the only thing that fits and fills it the right way–love for my God. So anything I have to offer is all overflow now. I am a whole, complete person, and I take each step with a careful wisdom that I’ve never known til now.

I didn’t know what I wanted or needed. I knew what I didn’t want or need. It is possible to have an Inception-esque, exponential level of connection and possible to cover 8 years of conversation topics in 2 weeks. That’s possible. That is happening. 

Buckle up. Hold on.





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Ripple

Ripple

Even a pebble makes ripples, Dad says.  But I didn’t drop a pebble in the pond, did I, Dad? It wasn’t a pebble. 

It was a boulder, wasn’t it? It was two boulders, maybe. It was…a landslide. And the water may never be still again. 

Our life was a series of pedestals, and we tiptoed around on them. I guess I never did belong up there, trying hard to balance precariously alongside people who proudly live on pedestals, who look down at people below who never deserved to be up there. 

Who is a good person? Who? Who has a good heart? The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it? Only God. Not any person on any worldly pedestal. 

We were kids, 17 and 16. I remember well. Funny, smart, hardworking kids. Making bagels. Scrimping. Making plans. Listening to Radiohead. Thought we had the bull by the horns, maybe we did for a while, but no. I guess we caught the tiger by the tail instead.

People like wrapping loss up in little justification packages–

The problem is…I married an asshole. The problem is…she turned out to be crazy. We just, we didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into…

Bullshit. 

You know it is, and I know it is. 

There was love. There was more than one betrayal from both of us. There was forgiveness. There were hurts. There was a lot of interference from people who didn’t belong between us. People I let in; people you let in.  There was apathy. There was triumph. There were so many laughs. There were cries. Sure. 

Every marriage is two sinners who buckle down and refuse to give up on each other, against whatever odds they have both brought to the table. And we did that. For 15 years, we did that. 

I cannot tell you how many inaccurate, blatantly ignorant comments have been made to me over the years by so-called friends regarding my first marriage. 

“I think maybe you just never loved him.” “I didn’t know your marriage was a facade.” “Don’t say hi to me in public, Emily, because I’m not ready for that; I know what’s really going on.”

Oh do you? You all knew the intimate intricacies of my own marriage better than I did? Interesting. 

Where were you when we decorated our first apartment? Where were you when we took care of each other when we were sick? Where were you when I cried about his betrayals? Where were you when we held hands as I pushed our daughters into the world? Where were you when he forgave me for my betrayals? Because I don’t remember any of you being there for any of it. So you go ahead and believe your shallow lies. 

We became the ending only.

If every marriage is a refusal to give up, then every divorce is…giving up on each other. We did that, too. And none of you were a part of any of it. 

 “I will kill every feeling I have for you. You will mean nothing to me. Nothing.” You said it. And you meant it. And you live it. Fifteen years of mostly good memories, but none of it will matter. 

Used to was: I could do no wrong in your eyes, even at times when I knew I was so wrong.

“Emily, I’ve always been on your side. Even when no one else was. It was me. I was. You know that’s true. Even when we separated, people would tell me how it looked, what you were probably up to…and that’s never how I saw it. Not my Emily. No. ” He loosened his tie and unbuttoned his collar. Choked it back. Not one to cry.

But now. It seems I can’t do anything right. Every way that I handle things, you have a judgment, a criticism, a remark, a request. You see me through crap-tinted glasses. Everything about me is shit now. Okay.

I became the ending. The fleeting backstage deceit made the spotlight years a lie to you. My name becomes a knell that few dare to toll in your presence. Or maybe a joke…Yeah, probably a joke. 

I did do lots of wrong. And I’m sorry. Do you even know that I’m so sorry? I’ve said it, but you aren’t one to acknowledge any emotion. I remember your brother sobbing at your grandfather’s funeral. And you leaned over to him, “You don’t have to think about anything sad, and then you won’t cry.” Your solutions. 

Would it make me a better person to pretend my heart never loved you before? I don’t really trust people who do that. To turn every speck of love into loathing? Erase every photo. Block every memory. Never happened.

Should I pretend we don’t know each other? Maybe we don’t anymore. But we did. 

Tell it however you want to. No, you will choose to say nothing. You do that. I will keep the photos and memories and stories.

If I die first, don’t worry, no one expects you to cry. But when you die, I will quietly sit on a back row at your funeral. And I will cry. I’ll remember the full story. And I will cry.

Velcro, Snaps, Ash

Velcro, Snaps, Ash

We were friends.

Was that true?

I think we were friends. 

I remember.

Weren’t we friends?

I was your friend.

Weren’t you m…

I remember spotting you doing pull-ups… 

“Gross. I need gloves. Do you ever shave?” I rub the gross off my hands. 

“Stubble grips my pants in place like Velcro.” Kareequa falls off the bar, shrugs unapologetically. 

“Oh is that it? I thought you were trying to get out of doing your pull-ups by grossing me out…thinking there’s no way she can touch these legs for a full 10. Sucky for you–I can’t be grossed out!” Was there ever a time we weren’t laughing?

“I want to get down to your size.” Kareequa faces the gym mirror and pulls her shirt up, pinching and jabbing at her smooth tan stomach. 

“You look good. I like your shape. Shit, you’re smaller than me now! You don’t want all THIS.” She had probably lost 60-70lbs, lots of hard work training with me and on her own. I pull up my own shirt and start tugging on my love handles. 

“Yeah but look at you from the side. Your stomach is so flat. Mine is huge, and I got this fupa.” She sticks her gut out exaggeratedly and rubs it like a pregnant belly. 

“Fupa? What the hell’s a fupa? I had a tummy tuck after Audrey. That makes it flat in front. So then when I gain, it all goes to the love handles. Cruel.” I flop my love handles out and teeter around like a little teapot. 

“Fat Upper Pubic Area…don’t Google images.” Some guy we don’t know pokes his head in the room we are standing in at the gym; he pivots out quickly. 

And we’re standing there with our flabs hanging out like…what? Come on in. 

______________________

“Make me pretty.” I flop into Kareequa’s salon chair. Always a mess, I’ve never sat in her chair looking even halfway decent. 

“Let me guess…you didn’t wash or brush your hair.” She popped the cape and draped it over me. 

“Can you not choke the living hell out of me with this thing? I look like a Barbie with her head smashed down onto her neck. I’m going to need more breathing room and some of my neck needs to be visible!” I thrash around under my cape. 

“You smashed your Barbie heads down?” I see a look of annoyed admiration in her eyes as Kareequa readjusts the choke snaps.

“Only when that little head-knob thing had broken off. Okay…and maybe I’d smash them down if I felt like Barbie was being a bitch that day. Oh? Who’s pretty now, Ms. No-Neck?!” She laughed, and as she freed my hair from its twisted and bound bun, her smile pursed into irritated determination. Natural curl…tangled like mad. 

We traded out services–I trained her; she did my hair. Neither of us tried to be the easiest client to deal with. But we had fun. And if she ever says I wasn’t one of her favorites, she’s lying. 

“Where’d I put my thinning shears? I need to make this brush out easier…” She didn’t really mind. She is very chill. In fact, I don’t think she ever got mad at me, only ever fake mad. 

I got mad once and stomped out. It was a misunderstanding about our appointment time. And I was having a bad day. I apologized, she shrugged it off, forgave me, and I made a few awkward, apologetic jokes about my temper…then it was forgotten. 

“Ewww!! Have the decency to turn me away from the mirror until I’m pretty again! I look terrible in this lighting without makeup on, and you’re about to frizz my hair into the blond Diana Ross. I want my sunglasses.”

“Dork. Okay. What’re we doing today?”

Who knows what I did that day? Bangs, lowlights, shoulder length, bleached out, ombré, balayage…over the 6-7 years we were friends, she did whatever I wanted and I always loved it. 

I love my hair. I’d rather find a new surgeon than a new hairdresser. And I loved you, loved you. You know I did.


______________________

So how does that work? I come to your house crying. I ask you questions because the details look bad to me. I want to know–is it you? 

And then you fire me as a client. That didn’t make it obvious. 

Ohhhh because I’m crazy. Oh okay. That makes sense then. 

I was crazy. I’ve always been crazy fun. I got crazy sad. And then 6 weeks later when he tells me it IS you, who was crazy that night? Not me. 

I bet you wish I hated you. Sometimes I wish I could. Well, I don’t hate you. I got really hurt. That’s what happened. THAT is what happened. 

If you want to look for reasons to hate me, you can find some. It won’t be hard. I’m no angel. But I didn’t give you any reasons. I really didn’t. 

I know enough about cheating to know…it wasn’t about me at all. Not about anything I did wrong. Not about how I would feel. 

It’s a cancer that takes over, and it’s not even fun. It wasn’t special, and you didn’t win any prize. 

Pour gas over it all, flick a match over your shoulder. Don’t look back. 

It’s okay. And I’m okay. 

Turns out…ash is some of the best fertilizer.


Shakedown

Shakedown

You feel like everyone knows. You hate the bastards that knew all along. No one is my friend? No one could tell me? No one could kindly walk me to the exit door and discreetly whisper? No one? Thanks.

You are a deer crossing a road you’ve crossed many times before. And slam. A truck crashes into you. You never saw it coming.

I’m all right. I’m all right. Didn’t hurt that bad. Your back half is mangled. You try to convince everyone that you’ve always wanted to try walking with just your front two legs. Your friend abused his position in your life, betrayed your trust, didn’t even know they were bulldozing together and now there’s a shack being built from the scraps.

But he didn’t make you promises. She did. It hurts no matter which window you look in. 

I guess everyone would prefer that you run off into the woods, to heal or die out of sight. For the love of God, don’t drag your broken ass around in plain sight; people have to look away. They can’t bear it. Eye contact is a precise arrow. 

Well too damn bad. Sometimes we have nowhere to go hide, and we have to bitterly think–I’m sorry if the very sight of my existence causes awkwardness. I am alive. I’m still breathing. I don’t have the luxury of taking a month vacation. So here I am. Look away if you can’t look at me.

Ecce homo. Behold the man. Dancing the clumsy ballet of a damaged deer. And you don’t have to run into the woods. You don’t have to. 

I know how it feels to find the door locked. I know how it feels to peer into the window from the outside, fogging up the glass of a house where you used to feel safe and welcome.

I know you don’t want sympathy.

I know. 
.

.

.

So here are some songs…

“I Gave You All” Mumford & Sons

“I’ve Got Friends” Manchester Orchestra

“I taught myself how to grow old” Ryan Adams

“Crystal Ball” and “Bad Dream” Keane

“I know” Jude

“Where I stood” Missy Higgins

“So you don’t have to love me anymore” Alan Jackson
  

Black Snowflakes

Black Snowflakes

“No, I can’t go to that. My girls play soccer on Thursday nights.” Celebrate Recovery, recovery from what? Why would I go to that? I wasn’t the addict.

But I was. We both were. Cheating is an addiction. Codependency is very addicting and unhealthy.

I didn’t need a meeting or a help group. My husband left me; he needed the help.

Do I sound codependent much? I didn’t even know what that meant. I thought that was someone who turned a blind eye and let people walk all over them.

I went to my girls’ soccer game instead of Celebrate Recovery. I stood there in the parking lot, and I couldn’t even quit crying behind my sunglasses. I felt as though I couldn’t take steps toward the ticket booth. Just frozen there, crying.

I went back to my van, texted the necessary people to handle the details of my girls’ rides. I drove myself to Celebrate Recovery, and I never missed a Thursday for 6 months straight.

I took an honest look at myself and my behaviors…in both of my first two marriages.

I started going to a CR study group on Sunday mornings too.

Sometimes you miss soccer games.

______________________________

I had turned into someone I didn’t want to be. I sat there with a highlighter and a phone bill. Whose number is this? I made notes. I called numbers. I compared the notes to my mental calendar. I intercepted an email of a hotel reservation. I called hotels and had them fax me receipts.

Everything was painfully out of my control. Wet sheetrock crumbling. 

I even drove straight to Kareequa’s house when my heart told me it was her.

It was her. But God must’ve thrown a cloak of invisibility on her that day because I stood there and believed her lies, left feeling even crazier. Demetrius and Kareequa would both admit the infidelity to me and to her husband in two months. I’ll get to that night eventually.

But the day I drove there, I ended up just feeling like a pathetic lunatic, standing there with Clara on my hip, in my sweatpants, crying.

Kareequa behaved kindly. She was wide-eyed. She offered me a bottle of water. She hoped I didn’t think it was her. She was very sorry I was going through this. She even gave me some friendly marital help–maybe we should…watch some porn together??

No. No. I shook my head. Lowering my standards of acceptable behavior wasn’t something I wanted to do. That is not the solution for me. Thank you for your suggestion, but acting like a lunatic is the route I’ve chosen here. It wasn’t a great solution either, I don’t recommend it.

Kareequa’s friend/costylist Brokeesha called me and scolded me for showing up at Kareequa’s house to confront her and to ask her–woman to woman…is it you?

Brokeesha explained–listen, we are YOUR friends; it doesn’t matter that you see late night texts and photos sent and calls from us on Demetrius’ phone bill; stop being crazy.

Was Brokeesha in on it? Who knows? But she was right about one thing–I did need to stop trying to figure it out. It would all fall in my lap soon.

Maybe I had it all wrong anyway. Maybe it was just as innocent as Demetrius said–the reservation was just a guys’ night out…to see a Bret Michaels concert…and they got a hotel room…with a one-King suite…for a slumber party, I guess…

I tried so hard to believe that.


_________________________________

My words are some of the facts. You don’t have to like them. You don’t have to read them. Some of these facts are just so ridiculous that I accidentally drop my guard and laugh.

I called people from the phone bill to find out who they are; I’m sure some of them had to know it was me calling. Heh. Shrug. 

And…a slumber party? Seriously? You have to find moments to laugh. 

But facts are not the truth. The fact is–we are all hopeless sinners without Christ; the truth is–we can all claim forgiveness.

Forgiveness for adultery. Forgiveness for lying. Forgiveness for being a fearful lunatic wife. Forgiveness for masks. Forgiveness for being demanding and controlling. 

Sometimes wives scramble around trying to protect their family. I get that. I’ve done that. I’ve seen that.

I know some of my blogs might be painful and embarrassing to read. It was painful and embarrassing to live these facts too.

But there it is. 

Demetrius became someone I didn’t know, didn’t want to know. And I, in turn, had become a fearful private investigator. Not a version of myself that I ever, ever want to be again.

I got too obsessed with trying to “save” both of us. I can admit that.

You can only control you. And no matter how hard you try to hold on and keep the crumbling walls held together with glue and tape, if one spouse wants it to be over…he will be able to tear it all down with his own hands no matter how hard you resist.
_________________________________

It was a chilly morning, I started a small fire in my fire pit on the back deck. I held onto my big stack of papers–the phone bill details, my notes, my highlighted crazy, hotel receipts.

That fear and craziness had a grip on my heart. Why didn’t I want to burn this crap that was causing me so much anxiety? I knew I needed to do it.

Finally, I put the papers into the fire. They curled and blackened and flaked off in charred bits, fluttered away like black snowflakes.

So much work. So much crazy. And not a bit of it changed the outcome.

I felt peace wash over me.




Voices

Voices

Convicting is not condemning. There’s always forgiveness. I have to remind myself to soak up forgiveness daily.

Facts can feel very condemning; I know I have a long list of my own condemning facts. Dad always said, “Facts aren’t the truth; only God’s word is truth.” Forgiveness is the truth. 

Obsesses is spelled incorrectly in the meme, but I’m posting it anyway. I see what they did there; I like a little irony.

   

 

Whoever she is

Whoever she is

He married you. Be that girl. Remind him. 

I bent over, let my head hang, tousled my own hair to add some volume, flipped back up to face the mirror. Okay, okay. Slap and pinch my own cheeks a little. 

Demetrius told me he wanted to talk to me. That’s progress, right? He took some stuff and left and hadn’t faced me in a little over two weeks. Wanted to talk to me. That’s good. Good. I want to talk to you to. 

Some life events shouldn’t occur over texts, you know? I’d never get married through texts. Just look me in the eyes. Just remember. Me. It’s me. I’m a person you know well. Not perfect, but a good person. 

Talk. Yeah, let’s talk. 

I hadn’t been eating much. Food didn’t taste good without him. I pulled and tugged on my short stretchy black dress. It fit well, especially now. Butt looks good. Flat tummy again. Pull the girls up. Hip bones prominent. I didn’t have love handles anymore. Smooth it everywhere. Miss this?

Smile. Just smile and be at peace. Don’t cry. Don’t be mad. Don’t give him any reason to feel good about his decisions these two weeks. Remind him why he loves you, loves being home with you. But…not too excited. Just be normal.

 I hear his truck. My heart is pounding. What…what would I be doing right now? I had told the girls to go to their rooms because he was coming over to talk. 

I flopped on the couch and clicked the TV on. I would never be sitting here watching TV alone, but…I didn’t know how else to stage myself.

I hear the door in the back open, hear him climb the stairs. Such a simple sequence of events that you get used to. You just assume a husband will continue to come home. Until…he stops. You don’t know how that feels until…you know how that feels. And you feel it. And you feel it.

“Hey!” I clicked the tv off and hopped up to give him a hug. I got the lean-in, awkward back pat. The we-don’t-know-each-other, quickly brush my arms off him, step back. 

Ew, gross. I don’t want this kind of hug either. Don’t flatter yourself. 

“Hey. I only came for one reason. I just need you to look over these papers and make sure everything is correct. I went to see my lawyer on my lunch break.” His voice sounds apologetic. Don’t pity me, asshole. Your lawyer? You don’t have a lawyer. I take the papers. No, Emily don’t be mad. Just be pretty and sweet. 

I don’t really remember reading them. But somehow your eyes know facts that your brain can’t think. 

“That’s not the day we separated. You left on a Monday. It was Sept 22.” My mouth said words. 

We, in fact, didn’t separate. You left me. That’s how it went. I even wrapped myself around you begging you not to. Like that. I made you carry me across the house and peel me off of you. Like that. That’s not on your paper here. 

“Okay. Well I can have my lawyer fix that tomorrow when I file. I was just going to give you this copy to look over.” Stop saying that. Your lawyer. Your lawyer can’t fix…anything. 

You don’t want to talk to me. You want to hand me words on paper. I have words too. And this paper…says nothing to me about my life, my story.

“Tomorrow? No, Demetrius. Not tomorrow. Tomorrow is October 7. Tomorrow is Clara’s first birthday. Go any other day. Please.” I remember delivering her in this house one year ago exactly. Our precious Clara, half Demetrius and half me. Not tomorrow. 

“It’s not the date it will be final, Emily. It’s just the day I’m filing.” Don’t attempt to placate me. Angry or pathetic…I guess those are my only two mood choices. Breeeathe. 

And I am back to–this doesn’t add up. My faults, our arguments…none of it is that bad. I can’t be sweet. But I can be bold. I’m so tired of being pathetic. I am a glowing sun. No more rain. 

“Look at me.” He can’t. “No, Demetrius. I’m serious. Look at me.” There is no courage in his eyes. I know. I can tell. I know. I know. I die a little inside. I know. 

“What?” He raises his eyebrows, lowers his eyes, his eyes can’t look. He knows I know. 

“You do what you have to do. But I do have a few things to say to you, and the least you can do is look your wife in the eye and hear them.” I am a lot of things. But not a coward. To a fault, I am full of courage, full of it. He looks.

“Whoever she is, Demetrius. Whoever she is…she doesn’t love you. She is destruction. You need to hear that. You need to know it. That’s what you are choosing–to leave love for…not love. You are choosing destruction.” He is visibly uncomfortable. I am pouring acid in his ear. 

“Emily, there’s no one-”

“Stop. Just…save your lies. Hear me out.” I am Menelaus. Bring me Paris. Let’s see that fight. 

“Emily, I’m not going to sit here and listen to these ridiculous accusations.” Liar words.

“Would she die for you? Because I would. I wouldn’t even hesitate to save you instead of myself. Push you to safety and get hit by a car for you. Take a bullet. You know I would.” I shake my head. I’m not good with defeat.

His eyes show some pain, and I have the smallest glimmer of hope. His heart isn’t completely dead to me. I just can’t really reach it. I would say anything to reach it again. He just wants away from me. I am talking under water. More like under mud. 

“We don’t have to do this. Maybe life with me is just a little too real. But she’s not real. Whatever you have with her. It’s exciting and it’s fun. But…it’s not real. I’m real. Me. This marriage is real. You need a spotlight shone on this. Secrets seem so thrilling in the dark. Bring them out in the light, and you just might see them for what they are.” He didn’t care. 

He just sat there. With his papers.

  
 

Right after Clara was born at home.
  
Clara, a few days old
  
Clara, the day before her first birthday