CW: Divorce, suicidal thoughts
I’m living in student housing right now. It’s an off-campus apartment filled with students off from classes for the summer, they have parties and hang out by the pool and walk their dogs with solo cups filled with White Claw and vodka. But, who am I to judge! My solo cup is filled with pink wine as V and I stroll around the grounds with her pup, Totcho.
We are here together, she and I, thriving in the Heartbreak Pad. She split with her long time partner in May, during the peak of the Coronavirus, and was lucky to find this apartment. It was cheap and furnished, and it gave her a place to stay for a few months while she figured things out. I would come visit her here a couple of times a week. I didn’t know I’d soon be living here with her, sharing her bed, cooking dinner with her, sitting on the balcony overlooking the river each night, our pink wine sloshing in our cups as we gesture wildly as we talk angrily about our exes.
My husband asked me for a divorce.
It’s something I never expected. I always thought we were Forever. I thought we were great together, happy, healthy, committed. We loved each other, we supported each other. But, I was wrong.
Something was wrong, and so he asked to end it.
It was traumatic, the way it went down. We hadn’t been speaking for weeks, we were just two ghosts floating past each other in our home, the only words spoken were spat. Our only communication was through text messages, and it was angry and hurtful, tearful and unsuccessful. I finally couldn’t stand it any longer, so I retreated to V’s and the safety of the Heartbreak Pad. He messaged me there, pages and pages of text messages about how we weren’t compatible, how he thought we needed to end it, and I begged. I pleaded for him to give us a chance, to try therapy, to put in the effort our relationship deserved. I asked him over and over to remember all the good times, how happy we were. I tried to reason with him, explaining that this was just a bad spell. But, in the end I conceded. I couldn’t fight any more for someone who wasn’t willing to fight with me. If I wasn’t worth his effort, then why was he worth mine?
Once the tears dried, I picked up my chin and did the only thing I knew how to do. I pushed forward.
I should have known. I should have seen it coming, the inevitable turn.
I’d stopped by the house to pick up some of my things, and, as I was leaving, I passed his car on the road. He stopped and waved at me, honked, but I just kept driving. I couldn’t face him, I couldn’t face the defeat. He called me minutes later, and his voice on the phone begged me to call him back. I want to work this out.
The words were cold in my heart, and I shuddered with a foreboding sense of dread, but the warm ray of hope shouldered its way in. Hope is a funny thing, isn’t it? It can be the single thing that keeps a person going. It can also be destructive, a tiny drip of water that fills a minuscule crack in a rock and causes a landslide that destroys a life. This warm ray of hope almost destroyed me.
I called him back, my heart pounding and my hands gripping the steering wheel. His voice sounded panicked, desperate. He wanted to try. He laid out his demands, what he wanted from me. He asked me if I could do it. I’d said I would do anything when I begged and pleaded. But, what he was asking for did not sit well with me. He wanted me to change. He wanted me to take all the blame. The words were stuck in my throat and wouldn’t budge. How could he ask these things of me? How could he not see that fixing our problems would have to take two of us? He said he’d made a mistake. He took it all back. He began to yell at me. He would’t stop. I was driving down the highway in the rain, my eyes clouded with tears, I couldn’t breathe. I was screaming. I can’t remember what I was saying. I think I was begging him to stop. His words cut into me, seared me like a hot knife, and I kept thinking I could end this suffering so easily by just jerking my hands to the right. It was terrifying, feeling so uncomfortable with myself and my feelings. My fingertips buzzed but my body was numb. I didn’t see or hear anything except this loud noise like a waterfall. Everything was a blur. I don’t know why he didn’t stop. I don’t know how I made it home.
As soon as I walked through the door of the Heartbreak Pad, I got this calm sense of clarity. He was right. We were over. I sat on the bed in silence as the tears dried on my face. The panic was gone, the noise, the hopelessness and recklessness. It was all behind me and I just felt DIFFERENT.
We messaged each other later that day and that was the end of it. It was the end of something wonderful, but also the end of something awful, something that was hurting us both.
It hasn’t been easy since, but that sense of calm has stayed with me. I am a planner and I am always trying to move forward, so that’s what I’ve done.
So, here I am in the Heartbreak Pad. It’s not what you think though. We aren’t wallowing in our own sorrow. We aren’t drinking away our pain. We aren’t bashing the men who hurt us. We are thriving. We are moving forward. We are living our best lives. I have spent my time doing exactly what I want to do. I’ve been outside in the sunshine, I’ve felt the rush of cold water on my feet and the breeze in my hair. I’ve cuddled and kissed and fucked and laughed. I’ve woken up before the sun and I’ve stayed up with the stars. I’ve stared up at the blue sky and the trees and let my tears drip down my cheeks into the ground. For the first time in a long time, I’ve put myself first, and it feels so good.