Over break, The Brother was at my house with his wife and three kids for a week. My mom and step-dad were here, too. And The Gen and me. All of us in one house. And some things got broken, you guys.
One thing was a giant, heavy, metal framed window. It was green and chippy and pretty. And did I mention it was heavy? It was laying up against the brick fireplace ... precariously.
But I didn't know it was precarious until the four children decided to play dodgeball in the basement.
Let me tell you - as a parent? Nothing makes you run faster than the sound of a giant crash and glass shattering. When I got downstairs, all four of the kids were wide-eyed, terrified, and all pointing at the metal frame and shattered glass.
Glass that was literally everywhere.
We hustled the (thankfully NOT hurt) children upstairs, and mom, the step-dad, and I cleaned and cleaned. The step-dad donned gloves and picked up the big pieces. I turned over Tuck's trampoline and there were just glass shards.
In the brick. Along the edge of carpeting that met the brick. In the trampoline. In the fireplace. In the rocking horse hair. Everywhere.
Just as we thought we were finished vacuuming and sweeping, we'd see another flash of glass. And we'd start again. Shoes on. Phone flashlight sweeping over the tan, camouflaging carpet. Eventually, we declared it cleaned up.
Literally an hour later.
The kids went back downstairs to play - gingerly. Each terrified that they were going to get scolded. Each still apologizing profusely. Each still a little shell-shocked that they DIDN'T get hurt. Because listen. It could've been pretty bad.
Everyone is gone now. Mom packed her bags up and flew out on Sunday. Monday rolled around and The Boyfriend left and I was home alone. For the first time in two weeks. I cleaned up the basement a little more. Put the trampoline back, rolled up the bounce house, and ...
Stepped on a shard of glass.
We were so careful. The kids played down there. Slept down there. We were so diligent in cleaning it all up and I can't believe we missed just one tiny sliver. I can't believe it found my foot.
Ohhhh, my. There is always a but.
I started to kind of think divorce is a little like that, no?
You clean it all up. Separate finances. Divide debt and pots and pans. You take your favorite spatula and you leave behind your favorite book page wreath (that literally took you eleventy two hours to make). You leave behind bedding and take with you a bruised heart and you think you have it all boxed up and put away.
Labeled accordingly: Fragile.
In the beginning, you step through the days gingerly. Carefully. Wearily. Both eyes wide open and your hands out in front of you. You search for the hurts. You treat yourself as if you could break at any moment. Shatter.
But time passes. And the sun comes back out. And you start to take bigger, deeper breaths, and you start to think that maybe.
Maybe you can start to relax a little.
And then, you step on a glass shard. As neatly as you can box things up. As carefully as you can pack things away. As perfectly as you can label a cardboard box. Sometimes, things can get missed. And damn, those are the things that hurt.
Before Christmas, my mom and I were in the car together and she turned to me and asked me why I love Craig. I kind of laughed.
Because he lets me wear his Snap-On pullover like it's mine? Because he doesn't hate it when I pick up his coffee table and put everything in tiny, neat little piles that he just has to dig back through? Because he listens to every. single. story. in. my. life. twice?
I sighed. "Because he's honest," I said. "And I craved, craved, craved honesty. I wanted that more than anything else."
Something in his life - some glass shard of his own - cut him hard and deep and his honesty is almost guttural. He clutches it. Throws out fiery balls of truth like some kind of defense that he doesn't need. And damn if I do. When I work up courage to ask hard questions, there is always, always an unhesitating, honest answer in return. It's been some kind of weird revelation, this honesty.
Today, I was in his apartment cleaning up said coffee table. And bathroom. And doing his laundry. Because #girlfriendoftheyear. I came across something that looked a little ... fishy. For about .3 seconds I felt this weird panicky feeling that I recognized immediately - like an old friend that I've spent so much time with.
Three years post divorce and they are still showing up. I'm almost certain that they'll always be there. But the excavating. The talking, and thinking, and praying, and digesting. The asking and receiving.
They lessen the shell-shocked, panicky feelings that rise up from some shadowy, lost part of my heart. They lessen the sharp edges of the glass.
And I can breathe again.
PS - The thing that looked fishy? Not fishy at all. Which is really all really just to say I'm never cleaning a man's bathroom ever again.
. About Moi .
I love, love, love flannel sheets and I am really passionate about lists on post it notes and most of the time I'm sad that no one else is as excited as I am about Diet Mountain Dew. I also adore run-on sentences. And if you need an awesome virtual assistant, who is full of personality and really good jokes? Email me. I'm your girl.
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He saw her before he saw
anything else in the room.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald
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