I haven't done one of Kathy's Writer's Workshops in For.Ever. So I decided to give this week's a go (check out Mama's Losin' It for all the details)...
I chose the prompt:
Describe in 1000 words or less a time when something happened and you knew that life would never be the same
A little over five years ago, my then-husband was finishing up his MBA and Ryan was nearly 5-years-old, ready to begin kindergarten. Life had been pretty crazy for a long time... he’d been working away from home on a big engineering project and going to school at the same time. I was working full-time, taking care of the house, and pretty much raising Ryan alone. So we decided to take a long trip as a reward for working so hard for so long, with no vacations and next-to-no family time together since our daughter’s birth. The destination was easy - England and Scotland. Much of my family lives there and we’d combine a family visit with sightseeing… we’d travel to the town where I was born so Ryan could see a little bit of her heritage and meet some of my favorite people on the planet. Easy.
My then-husband and I agreed that Ryan and I would go for a month and he’d come over two weeks into our trip, after he finished his exams, to spend the last two weeks in the UK with us. It was a great way for me, the (much) more social one in our marriage, to spend time hanging out with my cousins, especially David, my long-time partner-in-all-things-mischievous-and-delinquent and one of the people in my life who really knows me and loves me best. And it was a great way for my then-husband to have some much-needed quiet study/alone-time at home. A perfect compromise.
While I was in England the first two weeks, I spoke to my then-husband on the phone once or twice. This was not unusual. Things had been strained between us for a while. We’d had no time together for a long, long time and when we were in the same house (or state), things were… not right. His calls home during the week had become less-than-frequent and instead of coming home on Fridays and leaving Mondays, he'd been flying in on Saturdays and out on Sundays. I knew things were bad but it was a terribly stressful time... and I'd learned over the years that when my then-husband was stressed, it was definitely not the time to 'rock the boat'. I thought after our trip, after the degrees, after the out-of-town work, after the single parenting, we’d have the time to really work on our marriage. Life would be normal again… happy, even. I was hopeful.
When he arrived in England, I expected my then-husband to be happy to see us – to see me; to be happy to finally be finished with school; to be happy to be on holiday. But he wasn’t happy. He was cold and even more distant than usual. It was noticeable to everyone. Especially to David, my long-time partner-in-all-things-mischievous-and-delinquent and one of the people in my life who really knows me and loves me best. It was uncomfortable. I was sad. And disappointed. And angry. And my hope faltered.
One night, we went out with David and some friends. And my then-husband disappeared for a while. Our friend went to look for him and when he came back into the pub, he told me he’d found him… tucked away in a quiet little corner… on the phone… whispering.
On the phone. He was on the phone. But there was no one to talk to. School was finished. His work project was finished and it was well past normal working hours in the US anyway. He was in another country. But he was on the phone. He was tucked away in a quiet little corner… on the phone… whispering.
In that instant, my hope was gone.
And David, my long-time partner-in-all-things-mischievous-and-delinquent and one of the people in my life who really knows me and loves me best, took my hand and squeezed it. He kissed my forehead, searched my face for the same realization that had dawned on him and, finding it, simply said, “I’m so sorry.”
And I knew in that instant… as I looked into the eyes of one of the people in my life who was always honest with me; who would never cause me pain; who would do anything in his power to keep me from getting hurt; whose face was filled with pain and sympathy and concern and love – all for me…
I knew in that instant that life would never be the same.