There’s a very good chance that this will be the last year that I will be married. Though we have been separated for almost a year and a half, technically we are still locked in union according to the law. I still help pay his student loans. He is still on my health insurance. Neither of us is in a rush to get this thing finished, to break apart a union that is 16 years in the making, but we also know that eventually the cord will have to be cut and ties severed.
Sometimes I honestly don’t know which times we’re harder. Was is the years we spent distant and cold, simply playing the part of husband and wife, the outside world oblivous to the struggles we were having within ourselves? Was is the year I said I was leaving, but had to stay, the couch my permanent home, so much hate traveling back and forth between us while our children looked on, bewildered and overwhelmed? Or was it this year? The year filled with anger and remorse, both wanting to be with my kids full time and knowing that doing that meant hurting all of us in the process. I simply can’t be sure.
The only thing I do know is that all of them were hard and all of them have taken an irreversible toll on me. Anger, guilt, despair, panic, and disappointment and utter sadness have been my constant companions and some days it takes every effort possible just to remind myself to take in air so I can keep living.
I’ve spent so much of the last year and a half fighting with a person I was supposed to love until the end of time. He knows how to push my buttons better than anyone else and knows exactly what to say to make me go from quiet and content to a rage filled nightmare. Sometimes I think he does it accidentally, forgetting how much I look into every word spoken, sure there are hidden meanings. Other times I know it’s purposeful, and those times are the hardest to bear and the hardest to break free from. Because how in the hell did we get to this place where we’ve become vindictive and spiteful to each other on purpose?
The other day we texted back and forth about something completely innocuous; a movie quote from a movie I know is one of his favorites. It was a short, but lovely, conversation simply because it seemed so easy.
And then, of course, in true Cassie fashion, I started to cry. I wanted to crawl into that conversation and live there because for the first time in a long time, I felt safe in that relationship. Did I want to get back together? Absolutely not. We were horrible as a couple. Not in the beginning, but in the many years that followed. Our relationship was passive aggressive at best and self destructive at worst. We were mean. And nasty. And horrible to each other. And that’s putting it lightly. Love should bring out the best in two people and for us, it didn’t. Not anymore. But that simple conversation showed me something I hadn’t seen between us in a long time. It gave me a glimmer of hope that maybe one day all the conversations could be like this. Maybe it will get better.
And while we may not ever really be friends, maybe we would stop intentionally trying to hurt each other in ways we only know how.