It came unexpectedly. No one plans to be betrayed, not once but three times. My body and heart have been hit by a truckload of red cemented bricks. My mommy’s house is too quiet. It’s where I had to go after finding another text from another strange woman, after reading how she liked all the positions. Those noisy thoughts are racing constantly through my mind. They run rapidly, incessantly, and repeatedly.
My coffee tastes sweet, yet bitter. Life is seemingly always bitter and occasionally sweet. As with life, love seems bitter and surprisingly rarely sweet. The television is on, and the talking heads are assessing the constant breaking news. Every day, there is new breaking news. Every hour, something is breaking.
Am I the newest broken news?
Am I surprised how easily my wedding and engagement rings came off my ring finger? Yes, I’m overwhelmed by the sudden death. The white marks around my finger are the only reminder of a July evening when we made vows, when we promised with glorious cheeks shining, grins beaming, “to have and to hold until death do us part.” Perhaps, this is our death. A marriage’s end feels like death. Mama remarks how the kitchen looks like a wake after a funeral. We’re burying my marriage. Pies, cookies, and doughnuts sit uneaten at her kitchen table. Too sad to try to eat. Too hurt to want to eat. Nothing tastes as it should. Nothing turned out the way I’d intended it to.
“Try to live normally,” I’ve been told. I don’t understand this new normal.
I scroll through Facebook, and I see happy families with their gleaming pictures. I see the Facebook facade. For a brief moment, I resent these pictures and the people in them. I hate their happiness. I hate seeing a wife whose husband didn’t cheat on her, didn’t want someone else’s attention. I take a ball bat to my self-esteem. I beat my insides bloody, allowing my innards to spill out onto my mama’s carpet. I apologize repeatedly for the woman I am.
I’m not pretty enough. I’m not good enough. My waist is too big. My breasts are too small. My skin is starting to sag. The wrinkles are showing, and no one could love a face as ugly as mine. My teeth are stained with coffee and cigarettes and sweet tea. A smile dimmed in tragedy. He wanted something prettier, younger, better. Not me. He wanted anything other than me. What was so wrong with me?
In the densely dark midnight hour lays my forever haunting, screaming nightmare: What is wrong with me?
Friends will say nothing is wrong with me. They are my friends and family. Those are the words they’re supposed to say to my broken heart. They’re supposed to tell me how my self-worth isn’t defined by him. How I deserved better. How love shouldn’t continue to hurt a person year after year. How this was never love. It was a husband who chose to hurt me, year after year, and that’s not love.
This wasn’t his first time. I’ve taken muddy leaves and scooted them over his tracks several times now. Each time I heard the words I wanted to hear: “I’m sorry. I love you. I won’t do it again. It was a mistake.” And I believed in those words. Desperation will eat anything it’s fed.
I’m his desperation. I am everything, at every place I never thought I could be, the place I never wanted us to be. I am his pistol grip pump bitch locked and loaded with scorn. I am the woman who a few short weeks ago wrote my undying memories surrounded in the word I wished I’d never said: “kismet.” I can’t take it back. I can’t erase the words I believed. I can’t undo the memories replaying each second, and the constant wondering of how we arrived at this destination.
I can’t even brush my teeth today, but I have to. Have to wake up and crawl out from the nightmare. Have to keep going. Have to rely on my greatest strength which is rising up from the ashes. Building a new life. A life without his love. If you love someone, you don’t betray them time and time again. You don’t bring down a home without warning. You don’t stab them when their back is turned scrubbing the tub with a steel-wire pad. You don’t lay with another woman, who is not your wife, on our $200 blanket. Oh, how I made a comfortable bed.
All will say, “Don’t publish these words.”
All will say, “Don’t air your dirty laundry.”
I will say, “These words are the only home I’ve ever known.”
My broken writing heart retreats back to its safe place.
My words, my comforting allies. My talent manifested and anointed. The only favor God ever granted me are these letters forming sentences and structuring something coherent. Something so many people say “is beautiful.”
The only good part to me is here, are the words written without effort. Pain placed symbolically across the internet for all to see, to read, and to feel. Words I never thought anyone would read. “Don’t publish it,” they’ll say. “Don’t walk naked into the world again.”
Someone has to do it. Someone has to take the step out and say, “Love is a bitter cold bitch. I hate her for what she’s done to me. She destroyed my home and my heart. And I know I’m not alone. Somewhere out there is another person naked, raw, and not wanting to brush their teeth today.”
But maybe this was never love at all. Maybe it was a man. He shattered my heart. He broke our vows. He brought deceit, hurt, and betrayal into our home. That’s not love. Quite the opposite, I suppose.