“Ahead is a time of anguish, growth, loneliness, excitement and transition…” Republished from Whimn.com.au.
Here you are staring at the back of your hands on the steering wheel. Did that really just happen?
Moments earlier you handed your rings back and he’d closed the door. You had only said ‘break-up’ but you know it means divorce. He had been unnervingly calm, stating his case over a plate of sausages, while you sobbed in the corner like a hysterical rag doll… hyperventilating with a kind of anguish you’d only ever felt once in your life.
But then it was over – and now you are here.
It’s a surreal sensation… like the moment a camera dramatically pans in on the lead actor’s face while everything around them snaps out of focus – a sense of being out of control, yet eerily calm at the same time.
Honestly, you feel… relieved. You’re also scared, sad, and hurt – but at the same time, an enormous weight feels like it’s been lifted. A weight that has sat on you for over a year. A year of counseling sessions, a year of arguments over money, a year of crushingly absent intimacy. Not sex, but closeness. No deep kisses. No comforting hugs. No hands reaching across sheets in the early morning hours.
Sitting alone in your soundless car you feel completely free, until out of nowhere the realization hits you so hard you almost gasp. Divorced. At 30.
You know ending the relationship is the right thing to do, but you feel overwhelmed with guilt. Guilt for letting your husband down, letting his family down, letting yourself down. They all tell you marriage is hard work, you must work at it, always be working – you will wonder if you’ve worked hard enough? What would people think? What would they say? How would you tell them? The ones you knew, the ones who’d pry, the ones you hated… they would all find out.
What echoes in your head is this thought – how would they feel about you once they hear you are damaged goods?
You try to swallow the guilt down, to push on, there are more pressing matters at hand. Always the prepared type, your mind darts to the process. Where are your important documents? Do you have enough clean underwear with you? Where will you sleep tonight?
You’ve done an excellent job of building a life with your husband over the past decade – so excellent in fact, you are now all alone. You have distanced yourself from family, you don’t have many close friends, you’re not ready to talk about what just happened.
So you won’t.
You park your car on a busy street and you walk. You sing your favorite song over and over in your head. You keep your sunglasses on, despite the dusk, protection from the prying eyes you imagine everywhere. You buy yourself a plate of noodles, concentrate on each bite, try to stay present… those noodles are yours now, your own experience, you no longer have to share.
You text your sister and ask for her couch, she says ‘yes’ and almost knows not to ask. It seems you’ve been subconsciously separating your clothes into separate piles for weeks, the stack you grab on your way out somehow caters perfectly to your new, unfamiliar life.
So what’s next?
Featured image via shuttershock.com.