Ten o’clock. It was time for bed. I shut down my computer and just sat there, the weight of my burdensome unhappiness weighing on me like sopping wet clothes. I couldn’t move. I had no motivation to. I buried my head in my hands and remained in my chair. Unmoving. Dead inside.
Suddenly there was a hand on my shoulder. It was my wife. She was on bended knee, an obvious look of concern on her face. ”What’s wrong?”
Normally I would lie to her. Normally I would conjure some untruth to placate her so she wouldn’t know how ridiculously unhappy I was. I would tell her I was tired or that I didn’t feel well.
It had been years since I was last honest about my feelings with her. It had been years since she had attempted suicide when I last told her I didn’t love her and wanted to leave her. However, I was becoming less and less inclined to worry about how she would react the more unhappy I became.
That night when she asked what was wrong, before I could concoct some lie to feed her, my mouth opened and the truth came falling out of it.
“I don’t love you.” I couldn’t believe I actually said it.
Then the fireworks began. She fell backwards from her knees to the floor. Her hands flew to her mouth. She began to bawl uncontrollably while muttering incoherent nonsense that I had no hope to comprehend.
Normally this is where I would lose my resolve but I had reached the point where I didn’t care how much this hurt her. I had been trapped in this relationship by her threats of suicide for 9 years. I no longer cared if she tried, as horrible as that sounds. I was that unhappy. I remained in my chair while she cried. I didn’t face her or even acknowledge her reaction. I was still in shock that I had finally blurted out the truth.
A couple of minutes had passed and that’s when her pain turned to rage. She began to yell. Most of what she said I have forgotten, but I do remember her telling me to get the fuck out. I assured her I would pack my things in the morning and find a place to stay. She then stormed from the room and headed towards the bathroom.
This is something she regularly did when upset. She would take a shower in the hottest water possible. And she would scream chaotically while doing so. No words. Just sounds. She needed physical pain to numb the emotional pain. When she emerged every inch of her skin would be dark crimson from the scalding water. Quite frankly, that scared me normally, but not this night. While she was in the shower I calmly went into our bedroom and grabbed a couple of pillows and a blanket and went downstairs to the family room so I could sleep on the couch. Alone.
Once she finished her shower and the storm of emotions had subsided, she came downstairs and quietly asked me to come to bed with her. I declined. That entire tirade she had displayed just a few minutes prior had made up my mind. That was the last straw. The final nail in the coffin. I was finished. I couldn’t take this any more. I couldn’t take the explosions of anger. I couldn’t take hiding everything inside for fear of how she’d react to it. I couldn’t take walking on eggshells any longer. I couldn’t take not being allowed to have friends or to do things without her. I couldn’t stand being with her 24 hours a day. I couldn’t take every bump in the road turning into some unnecessarily dramatic moment. Every mole hill a mountain. My resolve had finally hardened to the point where I could do what I should have done years ago. I was leaving.
She stood at the top of the stairs for quite a while trying to convince me to stay through soft tears. Where just a few minutes before she wanted me to leave and never return, now she was trying to convince me to stay. I remained on the couch, unflinching, my resolve rock solid. After about an hour she gave up and went to bed.
The next morning after she went to work I called off work. I packed all of my clothes and a few essentials and moved into a single bedroom apartment my brother rented. I was happy to sleep on his couch, or anywhere, really, as long as I was away from her. It was a long time coming and exceedingly past due.
This battle was over, but the war raged on for quite some time.