One thing I wish about myself is that I would not spend anymore time in my life acting like I did this evening, quiet and drawn into myself. In the midst of the familiar din of family and food, I sat as still as I could. The voices of these people I love echoed in my head as I responded as appropriately as I could and still be miles away.
I spoke to a friend this afternoon, a woman I used to hang out with regularly. I haven’t seen her since my wedding. Once upon a time, though, she was a face in my circle. Her phone number came to my finger without having to stop and think about it. The day my divorce was final she sent me a huge bouquet of sunflowers, brilliant red, streaked with gold. I selfishly put them in my bedroom and forced myself in the days that followed to notice their beauty, as they dropped soft pollen on the table underneath them. When I close my eyes I can see them.
I hadn’t thought much about the fact that we’d lost touch these past months, but today a mutual friend told me why. She’s in the midst of a divorce – I was going to say neck-deep, but there is no air where she is right now. No light.
I called her and clumsily offered her my support, and listened to her say things I’ve said myself. The same damn story. Again. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard it now, and I can’t believe that it still shocks me. This is the second time this week that I’ve discovered that a family I know is being fed through this particular shredder.
And because I am at heart a small and selfish human, I spent the rest of the evening locked inside my own fear. As dinner ended and the kids wandered away, I sat next to Clay, enjoying the lull. I put my hand on his arm, and tried not to say it to him, but his eyes found mine, and that always undoes my stoic intentions.
“Don’t ever leave me,” I whispered. He shook his head at me.
“I never never will.”
I leaned against him and closed my eyes. I tried to enjoy the warmth of his skin against mine, without fearing the cold of when he’s not touching me. I remembered making the choice, two years ago, to take this chance.
I resolve again to live in hope.