I can't get anything done. I can't concentrate. I feel vulnerable. I've lost ten pounds (not necessarily a bad thing). I have nothing to say.
I know that I need to keep going, not in spite of the difficulty of doing so, but perhaps because of it. Each little step forward becomes more crucial and necessary. One day at a time. One hour at a time. Today I will grade essays. Today I will pick Eliot up from daycare and cook supper for him and give him a breathing treatment and put him to bed.
Tomorrow I will teach and hold student conferences. I will talk about thesis statements and the way that point of view affects tone, and the development of body paragraphs. I will be thinking about divorce and whether I've chosen the right lawyer and how I still can't bear to hurt this man who has hurt me over and over again. I will suggest strategies to my student writers for giving their readers a sense of closure at the end of an essay, while wondering to myself how I'll ever get closure on this, the only relationship I've ever had or known. How can I end this marriage to the man I've loved literally half my life, since I was a sixteen-year-old kid? Ten years ago I stood in front of nearly two hundred people and promised "for better or worse." What if this just happens to be "worse?"
On Saturday I will watch him drive away with our son, knowing that I can't follow.
After that I won't exist until Sunday evening, when my heartbeat is back inside my ribcage where it belongs.
And then Monday I'll walk the corridors at work, trying not to look at the floor. I will respond, "Good. Good," to colleagues who ask the obligatory "How are you?" as we pass in the halls. I will remind myself that my own personal drama is no weightier than my young, 18-year-old student's imminent overseas deployment with her National Guard unit, no more traumatizing than another student's embarrassed admission that he passed high school English without learning how to correct a sentence fragment, without even understanding what a sentence fragment is. My divorce? Isn't really as tragic as my student's withdrawal from the University because he needs to go home to be nearer his mother, who has just attempted suicide for the third time, or another student's absence, because her grandmother recently died for the fifth time this semester. (Well, okay...maybe not that one...)
I'm not the first woman to have been betrayed by the person she thought loved her most in the world. Hell, 50% of marriages end in divorce, right? It's not as though I'm alone.
Yet I feel stripped, naked, vulnerable, defenseless.
Even as I write that, I feel him inside my head, arguing, "You wouldn't feel that way if you didn't feel the need to tell the world every time you take a crap!" When he reads this post, as I know he will, he will be angry. He doesn't understand that I invite others in because I don't know how to get out. And I don't want to be alone.
Solitude frightens me. Silence is not golden.
And I'll stand here, lifting up my skirt for all to see, because I know that it means someone will come and stand beside me. And say, "Hi. I'm naked under my clothes too, you know."
As a matter of fact,
we all are.