(background info- my brothers beach house is next door to my mothers, and there is constant competition about who is staying with her, and she gets pretty crazy when I stay with my brother, which I do most often because, well…she’s sort of crazy)
Five years later there are still times I can’t breathe. This weekend was one.
I was at the beach houses with my parents, kids and brothers. One by one I watched the stability of each couple, even in craziness. My parents are going on 65 years of crazy wedded bliss. Constantly fighting, they still kiss and hug and agree on most things.
My younger brother and his wife……he works long hours and, at the end of work, goes on long bike rides. His wife serves dinner whenever he gets home. The whole family eats when he is ready. And, he’s told her it’s not necessary, but she does it anyway.
My older brother – his wife looked out the window as he pulled up and said “is it crazy that my heart still flutters when I see him coming?”.
There I was, eating lunch at my mothers house, listening to her love song radio station, and I realized I needed some time to myself.
As I sat finishing lunch, At This Moment came on the radio. I’ve heard this song a million times since my ex and I separated. On this day though, all I could think of was him standing at the kitchen counter saying “I want a divorce. I don’t love you. Would you like me to cook your eggs for you?”. That image was followed by images of the clam bake he was hosting the next town over, and what I imagine was a great party, with all the “cool” kids and 50 year old women who can pull off bikinis, and how much I was going to hear about it when I got home, from innocent bystanders who, with no intent to harm, would ask me about it, oblivious to the fact that I wasn’t there, and perhaps that would hurt.
When I asked my mother if I could use one of her 20 beach chairs and she said “No. I’m worried I won’t have enough. You better get one from next door” that crack in my heart turned into a a cavern. It broke open and took my breath away.
As I drove home I pondered how can I still feel this pain when I have no desire to get back with him and am grateful every day he is out of my life? Suddenly our whole “romance” played out in my mind. All of the lies, the extremes he went to to convince me that I was his soul mate, the little tests thrown my way to make sure I was thoroughly convinced I could not live without him – it all came back. & there I was, a sitting duck, ripe for the plucking. After a tumultuous childhood I had decided that I was meant to have a career, not a family. I’d never imagined my perfect man, or my own family, or even a wedding, because I was certain that none of these things would come my way. Imagine my surprise when it all did come my way. Suddenly I was loved – worshiped actually, by a handsome, strong man. I was the awesome step mother to his toddler. I was told that he wanted everything I did. A quiet family life, weekend cookouts and games around the dining table. The kind of family that likes to hang out together, and gathers around someone going through a rough time and insulates them from the world. Every thing I’d never even thought to dream of was right there.
When it was time to walk down the aisle all I could think of was the fact that when asked to come up with 3 things he loved about me during our pre-wedding counseling, all he could come up with was “I love how well she takes care of my son”. I looked at him and his son standing on the altar and I knew I was settling for an illusion, but I did it anyway. Then stuck around for 20 years. 20 years of hell actually.
So as happy as I am for my siblings, watching all of them love their spouses the way they do, well, it was just too much.
And I guess the broken heart never really heals.
(sorry for the rambling)