Not A Home, or A Few Direct Notes On Resentment
Sure there are cracks in the walls. The floors are uneven to the point of being dangerous. The walls don’t meet at perfect angles with the leaky ceilings. The carpet is worn and woefully dingy. The paint outside is peeling and in desperate need of attention. The grass is overgrown and patchy and the shrubs are no better. The garage lists precariously to the right as though being blown by an undetectable wind. The gravel driveway is overrun with crabgrass and dandelion sprouts so much that the city has warned us several times that it is no longer considered a driveway. There is a musty scent that won’t dissipate no matter how many candles we burn. There is a hole in the roof over the entryway.
This is our house.
This is not our home.
It used to be our home. I bought it for you. You asked. You smiled. You made your eyes glimmer in that certain way. You made me fall in love with you all over again. And I said yes. I wasn’t ready and knew it was a bad idea. But I said yes. You kissed me and I kissed back. And we owned a house.
We made two more babies in this house. We loved them all and made this pile of imperfections into a home.
But you’re gone now. You made the decision that this was no longer your home and then confessed that, if you were to be honest, it was probably never really your home.
How is that even possible? How could this place not be your home?
You picked it out. You forged memories I can only hope still reside in your long term memory and will remain there and become more and more important as the years pass within the confines of this building. This was our fortress against the world and all its heartache and grief. Little did I know that the real heartache and grief was building, completely unseen, within your mind and heart. It just had to find a way and a time to escape. A time and a way I never thought would come.
But it did. And now I’m here. And you’re not. And these walls are just walls. The garage is a garage. The carpet is just dirty. The memories are tarnished and some have already begun to fade. The walls are crooked and the entire roof seems to be coming down on top of me and crushing the dreams I once had about you and me and us.
This was your house. I bought it for you. I thought we had made it a home. You made me believe that. All the while you had a differing point of view. You were waiting – biding your time. When the time was right you flew. You didn’t walk away or even run. You flew. As soon and as fast and as far as your little wings could carry you.
I am supposed to bid you farewell and wish you the best and be humble and say that everything will work out for the best. But every night I slip into pajamas you picked out for me, I climb the stairs we made love on, I tuck our children in and kiss them goodnight, and then I lay down in the bed we shared for so many years. And all of this underneath the roof of the house I bought for you.
You. The woman who tricked me into loving her. It doesn’t matter why you did. You did it. And I’m the silly boy who fell – hook, line and pretty blue eyes.
I’m never going to thank you for the time we shared. Not now. Not that I have discovered the truth about you and what we were and what we became in your mind. No. I will not thank you.
But I will wish you good luck. I hope you get everything you never knew you needed and everything you wanted but never asked me for. I wish you understanding from within before you seek it without. I wish you honesty and self knowledge. And most of all I wish you time. Time to know yourself. Time to know others. Time to be alone. Time to become what you aren’t yet.
I wish you time with the knowledge that you have already denied yourself the luxury. And I wish for myself the gift of acceptance – because this is your mistake to make. And I need to let you make it.
So here I sit at my keyboard instead of in front of you. Typing everything I want to say instead of screaming it from the rooftops. You made a mistake. But to be clear: the mistake wasn’t that you left. The mistake is that it took you so long to do so.
Goodbye to you, my dear. It was really something, wasn’t it? We aren't in love anymore and the odds are good we never really were. And this isn’t a home anymore. Hell, it’s barely a house. A collection of walls and carpet and windows and doors can be just those things and nothing more, as sad as that thought is. It’s the people who make it more than the sum of its parts.
The trick is that those people need to be genuine and honest from the word GO. Not after eight years. After that amount of time any tiny white lie has grown into a giant monster creeping around the corner of every word you say. And sooner or later that monster is going to spring on you and knock you down. And even, in the worst cases, kill a love that at least felt real.
I don’t like this house anymore. I don’t like that monster. I don’t like you.
Now if you would excuse me I have to go to sleep and do my best not to think about what could have been.