The husband and I had one shared goal - don't fuck up the kids with our divorce. No fighting, no tug-of-war. He wanted custodial rights, he's a great father, they were in great schools.
I had to decide if I wanted to get stuck in Texas, living in some shitty apartment, or head back home to Jersey after my journey to Idaho. I couldn't stay in Texas, I'd hated each of the ten years I lived there. I felt like I was losing my mind the entire time, from the isolation and never being around my friends and family, while in a marriage that was making both of us unhappy, any time we tried to be more than friends or co-parents.
Yes, I was going to leave my kids. Yes, I feel like a horrible person. But with every possible thing considered, it was the best choice for the boys and how it makes me feel is kind of irrelevant.
Fortunately, our kids are handling everything well. When I talk to them they have stories to tell, silliness to share and lots of affection to give. I give their dad a lot of credit for this.
My last night arrived, like an apocalypse.
The boyfriend and I ended up having a drink and a chat outdoors at my hotel. It was an beautiful moment - which his family decided to crush. His mother demanded he return home. I was so utterly sick of all the drama of his family behaving as though we were 15-year-olds caught fucking under the bleachers at Homecoming, that I decided to go with him.
I thought that maybe if his parents met me, and saw that I was a real person, rather than some demon from hell, I could win them over.
We arrived and the boyfriend went straight inside, while I played with the dogs. Within minutes, the mother flew out the door, shrieking at me like I was running at her with a hatchetknifegun on a torchtruncheon. I introduced myself, offered my hand and told her everything was okay, and I wasn't there to do anything but meet her.
Her response was to continue the shrill, deranged noises. I was only able to understand parts of what she was saying, phrases such as "you're not welcome here!", "no, no, no!", "I don't want to meet you!" and "get off of my property!"
As I stood there attempting to calm her with soothing tones, she grabbed my arm and tossed me to the gravel like a god damned rag doll.
I sat up, but remained down. I'd pissed myself a little, which made me feel especially dignified as I brushed tiny rocks off myself. One of the dogs came to comfort me. The rabid female human ran back indoors, screaming that she was going to get her weapons. I waited.
Eldest and next-to-youngest brother - whom I had just met - tried to take me back to my hotel. I refused to get in a car with them. The whole thing was so damned beyond anything I'd ever experienced. I was nearly paralyzed with incredulity.
The father ran out next, yelling and jabbing his finger toward me, throwing insults - telling me I had to leave. I refused to go unless I could see the boyfriend again, so he collected him, shoved him in the back seat of the car. I was driven to my hotel as I sat in the front, twisted around in my seat to watch the young man weep while his father disparaged me and every bit of my DNA for the entire ride.
He called me "young lady" while reminding me that I was a full-grown woman with children. He accused me of being a predator who just came to get what I wanted out of his innocent son, then claimed I was invited by that same precious jewel to Idaho under false pretenses. It was a bullshit cocktail of crazy, that ended in him threatening to call the police if I didn't get out of the car.
I was - just as on my first night - dumped there alone, late. I couldn't convince the boyfriend to come back, and he broke up with me via Facebook message as I sat on the curb, where the best wifi signal existed.
When he came in the morning to take me to the airport, he brought me a sandwich. The bread was toasted. I have no idea why that detail sticks with me so damned much. "I said I loved you, but I don't want you anymore. Here's a cotto salami and cheese with mustard and mayo on toasted whole grain bread. Take a bite. It'll soothe all that ... stuff you're suffering."
On the way to Spokane, he made several wrong turns. I missed my flight. I had to spend $400 extra in re-booking fees, and spend the night in the airport alone - which did not allow anyone to remain in the secured area past 7pm when the shops close. I fitfully and cautiously slept on a bank of seats not meant for sleeping, next to a stranger who did not rob or rape me. A highlight.
All told, I spent about 30 hours in airports and flying back to Texas, actually hoping every plane I boarded would crash. An added bonus was the fact my favorite jeans had disintegrated during my trip, and I was stuck with a lightly piss-soaked pair of corduroys to trot around in, whilst lugging a heavy duffel bag and my purse from one terminal to the next. Not to mention the pain in my side from being tossed.
I arrived, mercifully, in west Texas - the husband picked me up at the airport and took me to grab some supplies to get through the night, without a grumble. He took me to check into the scary motel I'd booked - I was banned from my mother-in-law's house. Persona non grata everywhere. I couldn't even go there to hang out with my kids during the day, although their father took me out to dinner and for a visit with them in the evenings.
While in Texas, it was explained to me by the boyfriend that my appearance was not up to par. I am not quoting him verbatim. It was more cruel than that. It was later explained that he only ever felt friendship toward me. You can imagine my reaction, after months of explicit declarations of love, and discussions about a future together. It was like being thrown a surprise party where after the lights are turned on, you're pelted with dried dog shit to the soundtrack of giggles.
After a week, with the undeserved help of the husband - who'd also made all of my arrangements, along with providing directions that didn't get me lost - I packed up a U-Haul with all of my pointless belongings, and set out for another 30 hours of absolute delight to drive myself to Jersey, with a night spent near Memphis.
|If you're going to get a divorce, make sure it's from someone who will sneak a |
note like this puppy onto your window after he says goodbye.
|... and case of emergency, wear a hat that opens beers.|
On the second leg, by the time I hit Manassas, Va (3-1/2 hours from home), and I hit heavy traffic, I was more ready to drive into a rock face than I've ever been in my life.
It still seems like an appealing idea, but not because of a boy. Because I gambled and lost everything.
Some of the things I lost, though, I was glad to lose. I lost my fear of flying, and my fear of meeting new people. I'm not afraid anymore to be left alone in a place I've never been. Almost nothing scares me anymore, except maybe turning into a raging asshole.
I had a dream the other night that illustrated that to me in a very odd and brutal way. This may not be for everyone to read, so you've been warned.
I walked into a motel room and was followed in by four very blond younger men. I looked at them with mild curiosity. One of them pushed me down on my bed, and another grabbed my arm and pinned me down. I was quizzical - it was as though I couldn't work out what was happening, even as the third one positioned himself between my legs.
The first one explained they were going to rape me. I shrugged and waited, without giving a struggle. I couldn't fight off four men anyway. This incensed the one pinning me to the bed, so he started shouting in my face, telling me that now they were going to beat the shit out of me.
Before more than one of them could get to me, someone walked in, interrupting. I simply walked out of the room and sorta wandered around, not sure where to go. I walked back when the police arrived, to give a report - and the thing I was most upset about was that no one seemed interested in hearing my story.