At least I’m free.
That’s what everyone tells me. Its what everyone has said from the beginning, but you’re free of him. Everyone: family, friends, strangers. Internet friends. Myself. I have said and written those words again and again and again. Freedom.
And yet, freedom comes with a hefty price tag. For starters, I am not free from PC. As in, he didn’t disappear from my life. He didn’t move to a foreign country, ghost me, or fall off a cliff never to be seen or heard from again. No, PC is painfully connected to me: by way of two beautiful children. And by way of text messages that continue, still, to be harassment. Just last night, he threatened to call child protective services on me over a head lice incident. Just yesterday, I found out he and his mother (I’d make up a moniker for her but my keyboard might burst into flames) cut off my health insurance 3 months ago and neither of these stellar people felt it necessary to inform me of this. Glad I wasn’t hit by a car or stricken with ebola virus.
So, freedom. Freedom has a lot of other liabilities. Freedom means…nobody else picks up the burden. Freedom means when you’ve gotten two hours of sleep and the dog has fleas and you have to work and but first you have to wait for the kids to get home from PC’s so you can take them to school…there isn’t anyone else to rely on but, fuck yeah! You’re free!! Freedom means on those Friday and Saturday and Wednesday and sometimes Tuesday nights when your kids are gone, you can do whatever the hell you want.
Except. I can’t, really.
I keep seeing the above posted on social media, and its killing me. There is no black and white “Hmmm, let me sit down with my
shot of fireball tea and soup and I’ll just eradicate the thoughts that my children are with two psychopaths, I have no plans, and my not-so-secret boyfriend is never available. According to my therapist, this should be Charlotte Time. I should be indulging in myself. I am not sure what that means but I envision bath-taking and pedicure-giving and chocolate-eating and wine-drinking and that’s great but I hate baths/painting my nails/chocolate and I drink wine anyhow, its not “special”.
So for me, it’s loneliness. And the plus-one with loneliness is a lot of dredged up feelings of being unwanted, unloved, unappreciated. And within all of those feelings comes so many other fucking feelings, spawning out like a pair of breeding cats. On one side of the family tree we have PC. He fucking left me. It doesn’t matter if he sucked. It doesn’t matter that I have this freedom now. He lied, he cheated, and he left me. He threw me under a bus and didn’t look back and every time I manage to drag myself to the curb its like he kicks me back under. Its a reoccurring nightmare I cannot get away from.
And the other side comes from The Plumber, who I just simply have to bow down and say he cannot give me what I want. Being lonely when you are totally, actually alone is horrible. Being lonely when there is someone out there who loves you and says he is committed to you but cannot give you time? Feels terrible. Putting the brakes on said relationship with said person? Felt okay for about 14 seconds.
Because, as I mentioned in the last post, The Plumber has never been dishonest about who he is. And so I told him what I needed, and he can’t give it to me. He can’t, because he is trying to be a good father. Because he is trying to be a good businessman. Because he is walking straight across the hot coal of divorce, the point where the whole “freedom!” thing becomes reality. It’s not because he doesn’t love me. In my heart I know this. On paper, it was the nicest “break-up” in the history of break-ups.
The Plumber, he did not ask me to justify why I need more. He did not tell me I need to be more patient, give him more time, or lower my expectations. He didn’t tell me to calm down or relax. He did not ask me to change myself, and there were no words with any hint of hostility or anger in them. Because, of course. These are all the things that made me fall in love with him. Also, of course, as is his nature, there is no clear line, no parameter on what happens next. I’m not 100% sure the story is over, or even that the chapter has ended.
So, yeah. I’m free all right. Free of PC. Free of the expectations of commitment and a relationship with The Plumber. But what’s left in the place is loneliness and it sucks, my friends. My kids are even here this weekend–and they have the makings of comedians and charismatic dinner guests–but its not enough. Its not the same as having another adult. Its not the same as someone who walks in and kisses you hello. Its not the same as falling asleep with someone else’s breathing lined up in sync with your own.
Everyone says you must learn to be alone; to be okay and content and even–gasp–happy with that. I have tried and tried to see the plusses. I have tried and tried to see the positives. To be grateful. To count my blessings. I do not want PC back…but I miss having a family. I don’t think I can live with The Plumber’s lifestyle…but I miss him, palpably. I have no idea, none whatsoever, how to be “okay” with just being me, myself and I.
But, I guess. If we’re gonna give it a go…
Freedom is, not having to sleep in a room with someone who oozes and breathes the stench of gin. Who may or may not call you a cunt when you try to wake them up so they are not late for work.
Freedom is not hearing the clink of ice for the 4th or 5th time and cringing hopelessly, knowing how bad the morning will be. Its not having to walk up to bed knowing its only 10pm and there are hours of drinking ahead.
Freedom is not cleaning up broken glass and cooking disasters every. goddamn. morning. Freedom is sleeping without worrying that PC is going to burn the house down. It’s not having to wipe up spilled whiskey from the side of the cabinets and the floor every. single. morning.
Freedom is making my own timetable. Freedom is a dog on the couch next to me instead of banished to another room because he keeps scratching and PC doesn’t like the sound of the collar.
Freedom is the ability to meet someone like The Plumber. To be able to say “okay” on the fateful day he asked me to go on a road trip. To be able to have been 40 and soaking up that “first date” experience like a sponge.
Freedom allowed me to know something I’ve only seen before, never experienced. It allowed me to be in a position to accept kindness. Love.
Freedom allowed me to have a handful of incredibly joyous, wonderful, amazing dates. Freedom allowed me to experience a level of intimacy and connection I have only read about. (Dear Plumber: no matter what happens with you and I, everything about us will always be close to my heart.)
Freedom allowed me to experience this, and from this I learned some things I need. Just as PC taught me what I don’t want (alcoholics and psychopaths need not apply), The Plumber showed me what I do want. Kindness. Benevolence. Respect. And attention. Hey, three out of four isn’t bad right?
And here I sit, now. No tea or armchair, but rather a couch and a glass of wine and a palpable sense of longing and loneliness. What I am longing for, I don’t know. A family that I never had with PC? Someone sitting here watching Friends on Netflix with me sipping wine while the kids are in bed? The Plumber? Who would be a flash in the pan, a late night visit heavy with emotion and neediness? So intoxicating and comforting I could breathe it in right now and weep…but what of it?
Or maybe, what I’m longing for, is the freedom that comes after the loneliness. Maybe what I am missing and wanting is…myself. But where? In the rubble of this mess, where could I possibly find her? When everything’s gone to shit (metaphorically: I know I have a roof over my head, healthy kids, all that) what will remain? Me? My freedom?
I suppose only time will tell.