At the beginning, we kissed every time we stopped at the red light. It was not just a peck on the cheek, but a real, passionate kiss. I would lean to him and he would stretch his arm and hug me, pull me closer. And we would kiss, really kiss, the way people should kiss all the time, always: like it means something, like it’s a substitute for all the words you’re unable to utter or haven’t been invented yet, like your life depends on it. Yes, that’s how you should kiss: like your life depends on it. And he would always say, “Forever like this, ok?” That was our joke, our private never-ending conversation. He would promise that we would always kiss like that. Or laugh like that. Or make love like that. Forever like that, he would say, we would win. We would be couple of old geezers kissing and groping in old folks home.
13 years ago I met a nice guy. He had a beautiful smile and a scar on his upper lip. He had warm, brown eyes and long eyelashes. The same eyes and eyelashes I see now on my son. He used to make me laugh. He used to invent non-existent words or add new meanings to dull ones. He would do anything to make me laugh. He used to love my laughs. 13 years ago I fell in love with a nice guy with beautiful eyes and shoulders I used to fall asleep on. And meeting him was like a star collision: couple of days after our first night together he moved in with me. A year later we were married and I was carrying our son.
One Friday last October I came home and told him I wanted a divorce. I’ll probably never forget that day. It was warm, autumn day. And I walked, really walked that whole afternoon. Then I decided to go home. The moment I made that first step towards the bus, I felt the pain I’ve never felt before. I felt like someone was ripping my chest open. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t think.
“That’s alright”, I kept repeating. “You are going home to ask for a divorce. It’s just divorce.”
Just a divorce.
You’re not dying. You’re just leaving your family, your life, your home.
Just a divorce.
I did come home. He was there — we left our son at grandparents. I left him there, knowing what I was going to do. Knowing that things were going to change forever.
I came home, asked him to sit. In the hindsight, I think he knew. He was nervous. Tried to kiss me, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t touch him, kiss him, hug him. I wanted to, but I couldn’t. I was going to leave him, after all. I couldn’t kiss him. And so I told him. He listened, agreed and left. You never get a manual for these things. Nobody ever told me how to breakup a marriage. Nobody taught me how to leave. Nobody told me how to mend a broken heart. Nobody told me that you may want to leave, and that you may actually leave a person who is no longer right for you, but that you’ll still break and cry and ache. Nobody told me that I’ll ask for a divorce that autumn Friday and then spend next three hours crying in the park behind my house, talking with a friend.
And nobody told me that couple of hours later I’ll be smoking on the balcony, and that he’ll come and hug me, and tell me he still loves me. And that he’ll tell me we don’t have to hate each other. And nobody told me that I’ll sleep in his arms that night, us both crying.
Nobody told me anything worth knowing, but they kept talking. They keep talking still. Mostly how they’re sorry. And how it must be hard. Am I not scared? How am I feeling? How’s my son? And finances?
Nobody told me how angry I’ll feel. Angry at all those missed chances. Angry that he stopped kissing me. Angry that it ended before forever. Angry that he hurt me a lot. Angry that I let him. Angry at myself. Angry at both of us. Just angry, angry, angry.
Nobody told me that tears will come unannounced. That I’ll remember some stupid thing, like that moment when we were making love with full moon glistening on his skin, and me looking over his shoulder at the sea, and start crying. Nobody told me I’ll feel like an complete and utter failure. And that I’ll be sad, aching, torn, confused. Nobody told me that I’ll be scared that I’m somehow damaged, that I’m spoiled for someone else. That my SomeOne Else, a person who came after all this mess ended, will somehow see what he saw. That thing that made him stop loving me. Because it must be something. It must be something tangible. It must be one thing, one important thing that makes people stop loving you.
Is there? Is there something that kills love? Is there something in me that just makes people want to leave? I look myself in the mirror and pray that, even if such a thing exists, you can somehow cut it out. Carve it out.
I would gladly remove all the hurt too. And all the bile and all the yelled words. And those muffled ones, the ones we growled through our teeth late at night, scared we’ll wake our son. But most of all, I would remove that forever of his. That’s the promise we both would’ve been better without.