Just like that it was over. Fifteen years and in the blink of an eye, I was single again —even though I didn’t want to be. It’s hard to say when things started going downhill; maybe it was me wanting more kids, maybe it was him insisting that I go back to work —who knows.
I met him when I was twenty —cute guy with long hair and kind eyes. The first day, he carried my books to Biology, and gave me a stick of gum. It was those small acts of kindness at a time in my life when I really needed it that made the difference. Mom and dad had been distant ever since the divorce, when I refused to take sides, and chose to live with my grandmother instead.
I was working two jobs and taking classes at Fillmore State; Grandma had died, Dad was on to family number 2, and Mom was still angry. It was her letter that drew us close. I was in the quad all teary eyed, he came over and sat next to me. Without saying a word, he just held me until I was ready to talk. There was so much concern in those beautiful eyes that were searching mine for answers. I showed him the letter from my mother. Her bitter diatribe about how ungrateful I was; then that last line, ‘…as far as I’m concerned I don’t have a daughter.’ I know it sounds corny, but he was that mythical knight in shining armor, rescuing the weepy damsel in distress.
I can still remember how he smelled, how he told me everything would all be alright. And it was. We dated for a few years, then got married after he graduated. There was no doubt to the outside observer that we were in love.
He started a digital music company with a couple of college buddies, and I left school to help out —cheap labor and all. At first they only got local work, writing jingles for mom and pop businesses around the neighborhood. But things took off quickly, and they began getting offers from all over.
As the business grew, they moved out of that little building on Gramercy and into some fancy downtown digs. It was the best time of my life. We had a baby boy a few years later, then twin girls. It was like God had given me another chance at a family; Mom even reconciled with me, and became an amazing grandmother.
I still can’t pinpoint what happened. It might’ve been easier, or at least make some sense if there was another woman, or he was going through some mid-life crisis. But it was far worse than any of that, he just stopped caring. He grew disinterested in our life, and poured all of his energies into building his business.
I surprised him one night at work, thinking I’d catch him with the gal who took my place. When I got there, he was in his office, a little cot was tucked away in the corner and he was eating pizza —alone.
When he saw me…his eyes, the kind beautiful ones I fell in love with, were cold as if I were a stranger.
“What’s going on?” I asked. “What’s happened to us?”
He had already made up his mind, but was looking for the right time to tell me. I felt just as I did that day in the quad holding my mother’s letter; only this time there was no one there to tell me everything was going to be alright.
He moved out with little fanfare almost one year ago. I always thought we’d work it out…get back together. He isn’t even seeing anyone, he’s just done with me. He’s never been cruel, never blamed me, but I never got a real explanation as to why he left either —and I probably never will.
The kids are with him this weekend, and I’m home alone, like I am most weekends, sitting in front of the tube, trying to forget him by overdosing on television. I didn’t even realize I was crying until I felt the dampness on the front of my pajamas. He was all I knew about love; now I was alone again and wondering, if this is all there is.