In my last post I had just left my marriage. At the time I felt a combination of relief, hope, fear and loneliness. Dan and I had been through so much and I still cared about him a lot but I needed some space. The one thing I thought I knew for sure in the jumble of all of this was that I couldn’t see myself ever going back.
I walked in the door to my parents house with my suitcase in my hand. The confusion expressed by them as the reality of why I was there sunk in quickly turned to anger. My dad was furious. As my mother attempted to calm him down he used words like “selfish” and “betrayal”. He reminded me of Dan’s loyalty and commitment to me while I was sick. And finally, before he got up and stormed out of the room he looked at me, I will never forget this, and he said, “I thought you were different.”
The silence between me and my mother was overwhelming. My head was spinning. I was my dad’s little girl and he had just drawn a line in the sand and I was most definitely on the opposite side. My mom had said very little so far aside from trying to calm down my dad. I didn’t know what to expect so I waited. Finally, she stood up, walked over and sat beside me on the couch. She looked at me and slowly opened her arms. Within seconds I was weeping uncontrollably like a child clinging to my mother, the only sure thing I knew. My mom said nothing, she just stroked my hair, shushed in my ear and held me close.
The next few weeks were a blur. I was like a robot going to work, sleeping in my childhood bedroom and ignoring calls from friends. The tension with my dad lessoned and he even apologized for what he said. The thing is, I totally understood why he said it because I felt that way too.
Just two weeks after I moved out I was at the airport waiting for a flight back to the States for my 2 week stint there. I was numb and not thrilled at the thought of seeing Grant. We had not communicated since I left except about work. And I had way bigger things to worry about at this point. As I walked toward the airline check in I spotted our longtime friend, Mike, and his girlfriend coming towards me. Mike had been a friend since High School. He was one of “The Gang”. I smiled and raised my hand to wave but quickly pulled my arm down and continued moving. Mike was not smiling at me. In fact, he wasn’t even looking at me. He quickly grabbed his girlfriend’s arm, put his head down, and scurried past me. I turned, gaping mouth, to look at him as he walked away. The tension in his body was palpable. The emotion was clear. The lines were drawn again and I was on the other side.
You see, these are the things I just didn’t consider. I was so consumed by my own misery and my need to escape that I didn’t think about how it would impact anyone other than me and Dan. I didn’t think about our friends and their loyalties. I never imagined how complex these relationships were and how truly intertwined our lives had become. But now that it was happening I could see it, in fact I could feel it, like a ton of bricks.
People didn’t understand how sad I was or how confused. They didn’t know how hard I had tried to make it work and how little Dan listened. They couldn’t feel my desperation. All they saw was this great couple breaking up and that I was to blame for Dan’s heartache.
As I loaded myself onto the plane that day I suddenly saw the gaping hole before me. Not only was I without my best friend but, for the most part, I was completely alone. For the first time in my adult life I had no one to lean on or share this with. For the first time ever I was going to have to stand on my own two feet, take responsibility and be true to myself. The massive scope of this task was overwhelming but peeking through was a tiny sliver of light. A little beacon of hope shining through this darkness reminding me that I was taking control of my life for the first time.