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Honey, I just don't love you anymore.
“Honey, I don’t want to live with you anymore,” I said calmly. I was unpacking a bag of groceries on the kitchen counter.
Theresa, my wife, dropped the check she was holding. The look on her face was a priceless mask of wonder. I had never seen it before. She opened her mouth, and closed it again.
“What?” I said, realizing she must need some kind of clarification, “I don’t think I can do this anymore. I need some time.”
Why? Why is she looking at me like that? Really, I haven’t said anything that out of the ordinary, so I don’t know what has gotten her so bewildered. I mean, people get married and divorced all the time. In fact, it’s in the statistics. There is the fifty percent of people who enjoy happy, contented marriages. We’re just part of the other fifty, who just…do not have time for each other anymore.
“Are you telling me you want to get a divorce?” She uttered, finally getting it. I inhaled deeply, and calmed myself before proceeding. She must understand my side of the story. I know she will. She has always understood.
“Look, Tess, I know that you don’t approve my correspondence with Angelina—heck, you didn’t even want to get to know her, but she has no one to turn to! I told you she has thought about committing suicide, after her alcoholic of a father used all her savings to buy booze! She was working two jobs, day and night, to save as much as she had, but came home one night to find all of it gone. She thought she couldn’t handle it any longer… This was over a month ago, remember? But yesterday evening, it happened again—in fact, she has gotten so close to doing it! It was only my letter that had stopped her from consuming the pills she had purchased just for the purpose… Only my letter, you understand? One letter! She needed me then, and she needs me now! I have no choice but to leave you!” I let out a long breath. Theresa’s rosy complexion and nonchalant demeanor changed sporadically. Her eyes were as expressionless as buttons on a pale, ghostly face.
“Okay, I understand that part,” she said, almost calmly, though her lower lip was quivering, “But what does our marriage have to do with it? Can’t you just comfort her, send some money? Or—”
No, you don’t understand, I thought and held out my hand to stop her. I need to explain this better.
“I don’t love you anymore,” I said, as bluntly as I could, “I realize now there is more to life than taking care of kids and the house all the time. You know, there are other people besides our family. They need help, too. And, maybe, love.”
After digesting this news, she inquired, “What about the children? What will they think? How will they live?” Typical. Everything is always about the children, isn’t it?
“There are worse things than me leaving,” I retorted, and thought of Angelina’s father. He was terrible. As for me, I grew up without a father. If I could grow up to be this successful after I lost my father at six, then I can’t stop them from happiness, can I?
“Diana and Tom will be fine,” I concluded aloud, “I’ll visit them every weekend. Or they can come visit me. I already found a flat. I am thinking of moving in this Friday, and Saturday I am flying over to Canada—” And already I know I have said too much. She looked horrified.
“To see her?” she asked sharply, rhetorically, hopelessly. One day she will understand me as well as we both understood this. I mean, it really is nothing major. We are just not meant to be.
* * *
I don’t think I will ever understand at what point my life with him became a disaster. Was he always like this? Or was there a point at which the man I loved so dearly morphed into this stranger who does not care about the lives of our children? If I could forgive him about forgetting me, I could never forgive him for forgetting them. As I sit waiting for my lawyer, he is out of the country, somewhere in Canada. But he is also out of my heart. We are not a statistic.
We are just not us anymore, and will never be.