I took the trash out to the curb this morning and, for the first time, I only had to carry one can to the curb. This is the first time in 15 years that it’s just me taking care of a child. I mean, yes, I knew before, but I wasn’t the only adult in the house even after TheMan and I split up. I had my sister and everyone else who came over until Lucifer moved in. And even then we always had company. My family was making up for lost time, I think. Now that I was free they were free to be around me again. Then I had Lucifer with me and, well, everything that entailed.
Last summer I spent a lot of time alone. Voluntarily. I didn’t want to be around too many people. I was wrecked. Still there were other people around. I’d hide in my room or in the back half of the yard. Sometimes we’d go out to the lake. But I didn’t want to be around anyone. The one saving grace was waiting for letters and phone calls. The one time I ventured out didn’t end so well, so I didn’t do it again. Pretty soon it was time to leave my home and start on this new adventure. The house was sold and it was time to move.
But it wasn’t just me and my child. It was all of us. The day I moved was the day I finally saw the pup again. I was over the fucking moon. I didn’t realize I was waiting for him until I saw him. Then everything made fucking sense. It was a good day. I had fun. There was laughter and heavy lifting and vacuuming and more heavy lifting. And planning. So much planning. We’re going to do this and this and this.
Except I had a new relationship. And I was holding on to him for dear life. I didn’t even fall in love with the fucker until after he’d moved in – which wasn’t long after we moved in. Lil’lady was adjusting. Everyone was adjusting. We were genuinely happy for a while – until January. That’s the first time he betrayed me. That’s the first time I realized I could never trust him. He was like Lucifer that way and that was a bad ending waiting to happen. Which, as we know, happened1. And then my sister… Well, that wasn’t working out anymore either. I was stressed. Gods, was I stressed.
I remember sitting in my car one night. I’d been pissed at him and everyone else and I just needed to be alone. I prayed that night that the gods would please just let me be happy this once. This is a cute little house, I had my daughter, I had him… I just wanted it to work. I really did. I was so sick of losing people I loved. I had already considered how to break it off with him a couple of different times. The self-prophesying that I do. It begins with the first betrayal and then I fight myself for however long it takes before I finally free myself from the torment of the decision I’d already made.
Fun fact: I made that decision with TheMan before Gabriel was born. Did I mention that before? But then the baby died and I gave up. That’s why I was with him for so long. I just gave up.
I knew I’d end up alone again. I prepared for it in a way. I didn’t want to. I could see he wasn’t happy with me. And he made me miserable every chance he got. Focus on the good stuff? How’s this: He considers the day before we broke up to be a good day. It was a beautiful Sunday and we spent most of the day in the yard with the dogs. He had a huge fire going and really cleaned up the yard well. We didn’t really talk – we were just together. Then he wanted me to call the weed man. I didn’t want to. We’d spent too much money already and the rent was coming due. He persisted and became so agitated. When we went inside he looked high and low for anything I might have stashed2. I was so sad watching him, listening to his tirade as he couldn’t find what he was looking for. I tried to stand fast, but I worried he’d go somewhere and find something worse.
We went north. Then on the way home we took the back way. I loved to drive with him. I used to love to drive with him. I wanted him to calm down. He started to berate me pretty quickly. He went off on a tangent about my family – my sister – and how he was so miserable and everything was unfair. He told me I’m always angry3 and that it was either him or my sister. Eventually I tuned him out. I asked him to please just stop for a while. Let’s just enjoy the drive together. But he didn’t stop. He continued until I just got on the highway and took us home. I honestly couldn’t take it anymore. He ruined a good day. I was angry and sick and just wanted to be free of him.
Later I told him what a miserable prick he was and he said “I knew you’d think that day was a bad day. You’re so negative.” Funny that. He’d been mentally pummeling me for hours after our “good” day and I was supposed to be happy with that. I’d told him we were doomed because he wouldn’t communicate. But the only thing he ever communicated was how miserable he was – with a good woman, in a nice bed, with a job, with a future. Ok then.
The next day he flipped and I kicked him out. See there? I’d actually made the decision, but he gave me the out.
So, then my sister moved out and now here I am. Carrying one trash can out instead of two. Listening to my thoughts instead of noise and distractions. Getting used to just being alone again. It’s been 15 years since I’ve been in this spot. 15 years since I’ve had to figure it out on my own. Millie told Lil’lady, after she’d “met” Sam, that I didn’t know how to be alone. That I was just jumping from man to man. Which was funny to me at the time, because I’d spent the entire summer alone. That, apparently, wasn’t enough. But, I think, she was right.
Because it’s not just the menfolk gone. It’s everyone now. I’ve isolated myself right now because I don’t know where I’m going or what I’m doing. I have choices now. I’m not tied down with a husband or boyfriend or sister to worry about. It’s just me and Lil’lady. We can make plans together and I don’t have to ask permission. I don’t have to worry about if I’m going to hurt someone. I don’t have to worry about being here in case someone needs me. I don’t have to worry about anyone getting jealous or fighting or a messy fucking bedroom. I can do this alone now.
Freedom. That’s what I have now. Freedom.
And this is just scary shit. What do I do now?
I like geeky stuff, politics, squirrels and monkeys.
- We both pushed hard against the other. No one pulled. It was over before it even began. [↩]
- I used to keep a bit put back for when I couldn’t get up north. He’d found out and smoked whatever he could find. I stopped putting any back after I saw that. [↩]
- Which was funny because he’d taken to screaming at me on a regular basis. [↩]