This will be the final chapter I post here. I have shared enough of the development, and now it is (finally) time to hand it over to the editor, so we can determine what holes must be filled, and what exposition is still needed. This is a project very near to my heart, but a project I am very ready to finish, so I can close a chapter of my life, and move forward without being chased. I will try to at the very least update the progress from here on out, now and/or again, but no new chapters will be available until the official publication, hopefully later this year. Thanks for sharing my creative process over the past 4-5 years.
So there I sat, more than an hour early to an appointment I never wanted to make. An appointment I didn’t want to keep. There I sat, smoking, staring at the other cars in the parking lot and wishing—wishing I wasn’t so afraid of the very change I had put into motion. Wishing I could let go of the soft memories and comfort zones so I could simply move forward and create new ones.
Wishing I could tell her there was someone else.
Someone other than the much younger, beautiful dancer who had become so good at filling me with life.
There was someone else.
I couldn’t be her husband. I couldn’t be her anything, aside from her past. Not anymore. Not after failing at it for more than ten years. I just wanted to let go and move on, and hoped she would too.
When I told her I was leaving I expected her to be mad. Hell, I expected her to be livid. It was her natural state more often than naught. I expected her to throw things, further breaking what little we had left, and then chase me out.
But she didn’t. She tried to keep me there.
I lit another smoke, and then obsessively checked the clock on my phone. Fifteen minutes and four cigarettes had passed, as I sat quietly, thinking deeply about everything. It was a heavy weight.
It was that time of day when the sun sat in just the right place to blind you, no matter what direction you were facing, and the smoke hung in the rays of light, frozen in time.
Soon we would be sitting together on a couch talking to a complete stranger about our problems, looking for a referee or judge, hoping time might erase incompatibility.
Couple’s Therapy should have an open bar.
I needed a drink.
When we were together, I missed her. When I would go to her house, my former home, I would miss the familiarity; the way the sun would leap into the house from the french doors in the back and cut across the floor. I missed the walls and the couch and set dressings that had been my backdrop for so many years. There was no trace of me on the walls or shelves, though. There never was, even when I lived there.
When I returned to my new home my thoughts went elsewhere, and I always remembered why I left. I remembered how she acted, how she treated me—how she made me feel. I could hear her angry voice remind me I was worthless. Endless arguments echoed in my head moving in circles. I was trying to convince myself I didn’t have to live like that. She could try to change, and by her word, she was trying, but why should she? I wouldn’t change for her.
She didn’t have to change, but that didn’t mean I had to stick around and take it.
So why couldn’t I be honest? Why couldn’t I just say goodbye to that part of my life? I couldn’t start over until I did, and neither could she.
It was at that moment I realized something important: I needed to bring a flask to the next appointment.