Your port in the storm.
Here we go. Deep breath…stifling tears…stuffing down rage…getting a grip before I pull this bandaid off that’s been on for almost a year now…
The night before you left, you said…’I don’t love you like a husband should love a wife.’
No healing from this one yet. I should just put the bandaid back on and give it a chance to heal, but I know how this works. I know myself. I’m gonna rip it off and examine it, probably to my detriment. So here goes.
Wow, Honey. The irony of just how true those words are…only not in the way you intended them to be.
No, Honey, you didn’t love me like a husband is supposed to love a wife. Because you’re incapable of even knowing what that means. A husband’s job is to cherish and protect his wife, especially one that just sacrificed of herself in ways you could never understand in order to bless you with a family. Children that you left behind as easily as you left me on the floor with my heart ripped out. And as easily as you ditched all of your earthly possessions in a never-look-back absolution of every responsibility you had.
This wife that you failed was, in actuality, your port in the storm. One who has never berated you, called you names. Never intentionally hurt you, played games, or cheated you. And never would. One who put up with your lack of effort in nearly every area of life and took up the slack…with a smile…simply because she loved you and honored you. Wanted to bless you, make life easier for you, to shoulder burdens and serve and be worthy of God’s definition of ‘wife’. Think about this. I was a wife that supported and loved you every single day you were home or on the road working. A wife like that is to be shown, at the bare minimum, the simple dignity of your honesty. Fairness. Decency. Respect. Hell, reverence. And to display a primal, innate desire to protect me and our children. But I received none of these things at our parting, or thereafter.
To love a wife, even when the hard times come and even when you might feel she is being unlovable, was in your job description. A new mom who’s never taken care of babies suddenly tasked with two, literally all by herself. Even when she may be an emotional drain, because she’s trying to communicate to you on the phone while you’re traveling that her soul is languishing, waiting and waiting for her love, her helper, her protector, her partner to come home and be a part of this crazy, terrible, wonderful anarchy, because it was ours. Our new family. I told you daily of my love for you, and you did the same with the same lips you kissed so many others with. I told you of how I couldn’t wait for you to walk back through the door, and you smiled your slimy smile and you lied your ugly lies, and I believed it all with love in my eyes. I couldn’t wait to be together, and stay together without all the traveling for work. Oh, how I ached for that. I’d look out the window every day at the bitter cold of that place and think about how much I needed and wanted the warmth that my husband would bring. How I dreamed of it, how I waited and planned for it. And when you came home, it was in our grasp for a blinding, fleeting second before it was ripped away and set on fire, right before my eyes.
But this time, when you went out that door again, it wasn’t to go work on the road. It was going to be forever. And I had no say in any of it.
When that truth of that hit me, it was as if the very coldness of that place seeped into the marrow of my bones. It got in and froze me from the inside out. I felt like I was dying from its icy grip. Many days, I still do. That’s why I had to pack and get us out of that place as fast as I possibly could after you left, lest that cold utterly consume me. What I did not realize at the time was that it would follow me home to this warm place. I’ve never felt warm in the same way again, and I never will. And how you disregarded all of this that night as you said those icy words to me is absolutely outside of my comprehension.
Whether I was in a place in life where I was fit, or struggling to get that way…it was your job to be there, to give me a hand to come back from what I’d just been put through physically. That’s the absolute least you should have done, seeing as how I just gave birth to your kids after two insanely complicated and painful pregnancies. I’ve stood by you at your standard 330 pound frame for 14 years without demand, expectation, judgment, or shaming. You should have done your job and been a dad. Taken the babies an hour at a time so I could get a shower and a workout. Not trade me in for a newer model, and clarify in excruciating detail how I did nothing wrong, and had been a great wife…leaving me to conclude it’s because you must find me hideous. Thanks for the parting gift of body dysmorphic disorder over my rejected, postpartum body.
A husband should know on a primal level that he is to protect his wife from the cruelties of this world, just as he is expected to do this for his children. Not be the embodiment of that cruelty. Not kick them all out into that cold place with no warning, no care, no plan, no husband and no father in the blink of an eye. A check in an account every Friday and an occasional face on a computer screen feels like a bribe. A payoff for you getting to go party and be carefree while we are damaged emotionally every day by our involuntarily broken home and hearts.
Your refusal to address your responsibility for the life-long implications of your self-serving actions fuels something inside of me akin to hate. I can feel it consuming me. That warmth I mentioned that never came back in the same way again? Now it’s back as rage. And it’s blinding, and it’s burning, and I feel horror at its presence. Because it sits right next to where my unending love for you used to be.
…and because I have to, and I mean absolutely HAVE to, successfully hide this every minute of every day from your children. I will not let them see this. I will not be that mom. I will never be that mom.
And even though this rage is on behalf of them and on behalf of myself for the life you just robbed us of, I’m smart enough to know that fire eventually consumes its vessel. That this is not sustainable. Something has to give. I hope these writings are the beginning of that purge.
But that’s the funny thing about hope. I don’t think I have any anymore.
Rather, I have never-to-be-resolved injustice sitting on my shoulders, heavy as a planet, crushing the fight right out of me. So, I say what I need to say, I say what I deserve to say in a blog. So what? It will never bring back that warmth. It will never bring back my family. It will never undo the years you cheated while I had no idea. It will never undo that traumatizing night, or change your indifference every day thereafter. It will never stop the images I see at night as I’m trying to go under of you laughing in a car with kids in the back and a woman behind the wheel, smiling and feeling complete. But that’s not me driving. And that’s not our kids in the backseat.
And as I lie sleepless for the 324th time listening to ‘Fake Empire’ by The National, I think about the days where it was good with you and I…and I mean really good…and the cold tightens its grip and the fire of rage ignites, and they co-mingle…and I don’t know whether to sleep or to scream. And this is my life now, Honey. What have you done to me?
So at a time in life when your wife needed you utterly…you failed her in every way a husband can fail a wife. I don’t even know how to describe the level of abject cruelty this conveys to my sensitive heart. I am not needy. Never have been. But I was in need, and you knew that. And it was your turn, Honey. It was your turn to step up and be the man I’d credited you with being. But you didn’t. And I just don’t know if I will ever be able to forgive you for that. I don’t know if I’m even capable of forgiveness. I don’t know anything anymore.
Since it turns out you have no emotion, only parodies of them, I will do my best to explain what all of this feels like. I guess it’s like…well, it’s like a deer that hasn’t recovered from giving birth to her fawns suddenly being faced with the indifferent eyes of a hungry lion. And while we all understand that there’s a certain hardness in nature we simply have to accept, it doesn’t make it any less cruel to witness. And because she’s just expended every ounce of her energy, she’s got nothing left to fight with. But of course, she tries anyway. The instinct to save her weak-kneed newborns takes over. She tries to fight, and to run, and to protect them all from the inevitable. For anyone watching this scene unfold, the futility of her struggle is heartbreaking. And in case my analogy was somehow unclear, you are not my mate watching with growing alarm from a nearby field. You are the lion.
So, no. You most certainly ‘didn’t love me the way a husband is supposed to love a wife’. And for that, Honey, you should be the one forever lying awake at night.
But of course, I know you’re not. You’re lying somewhere in post-coital bliss, our life a distant memory, where the kids and I are just part of a story you tell to your real family.
HomeWrecker’s post soon after Honey left:
Maybe don’t go getting too used to that feeling, HomeWrecker. You might find yourself face to face with a lion of your own someday.