The cicadas are calling, the night I told you it was over for good. The night I broke your heart and probably the hearts of our boys. We sat outside not speaking, watching the moon as it travelled from left to right, waxing gibbous, a phrase I only learned this past year because our 9-year old taught me that it wasn’t “waxing gibbons” as I had naively believed all my adult life.
Just as I naively believed almost twenty years ago that somehow I could ignore the nagging thoughts that we were too volatile to be together. That I was too sensitive inside to deal with your critical, curious nature. That eventually I would crave quiet most of all when you craved adult conversation. And that our “passionate fights” would someday turn me sullen and hollow, closing for good the windows of my soul to you one by one in much the same way you would close the windows of our home in the spring when I most wanted to sleep with the night air wafting over us.
In the past six months, you have said things to me that made me wonder if I ever let you in; if you ever really knew me at my core. Probably not, because for years I lost who I am in this relationship. I tried to flex and bend and stay quieter and be less sarcastic, less abrasive at your request. This also means that I stopped doing the nice things for you that I did for other people, and left me in a constant state of feeling as if I was both “too much to handle” and yet always, “not good enough.” I thought it was all me, for ten years. I thought that if I could just try harder to be who you needed me to be that we could work, but it only made me resent you in that way that you can only resent the person closest to you.
You think I’ve changed, that I’m not the person you fell in love with, but the truth is that I’m exactly who you fell in love with; I just didn’t grow into the person you expected me to be. You thought I would be more patient, more mature, classier, more Godly and pure of heart. I was none of those things before and I’m not ashamed that instead I became more intense, fun-loving, cynical, and grew an even more wicked sense of humor.
Even now, I carry the burden of guilt of being the one to give up. You think it’s too soon, and that I haven’t tried hard enough to see if I’ll feel differently once you’ve changed, but the truth is that I don’t think you should have to change. I think you are a kind, self-sacrificing, hard-working, good person. I don’t want you to be different. I just know that I can’t love you 100% for who you are in the way that you need to be loved. And I know that I would rather give us both the chance to find someone that won’t take so much work to love that we would rather just be alone.
The next twelve months are going to be the most difficult in both of our lives. Today will not be the last day of tearfully hugging one another in the kitchen while both saying we’re sorry. It won’t be the last family dinner that we have to hide our mutual sorrow in order to make our kids feel secure. It won’t be the last time I escape to the bathtub once they’re in bed, unable to stand one more second of watching your heart break in front of me, knowing that it’s my fault. There’s still the dividing of our shared belongings, selling the home we picked out together because we could picture playing catch in this yard with babies yet to come, painting over the mural that welcomed both of our children into our family as it grew. Those things will break my heart, too, but it’s the only way I can ever feel like I can be the person I am meant to be.
And I’m so very sorry.