I am standing in the kitchen with my work bag still slung over one shoulder staring at the envelope sitting on the bench. On the front, in my husband’s handwriting is my name. Not the nickname he calls me, but my full name. In capitals. I know it must be serious. Slowly, I place my bag on a kitchen stool and pick up the envelope. Something inside doesn’t want me to open it. But I do. And there it is, all in the first line. “If I didn’t love you, leaving would be easy” it says. And that’s it, he is gone and our five year marriage is over.
There are a lot of other things in the note, incidentals like how he will be returning to retrieve his things, instructions on not to contact him and myriad reasons regarding why he has to leave. But I just keep looking at that first line. ‘He loves me’ is all I can think, knowing that if there is still love, then it’s not too late.
And so begins my autumn. Those months where everything is not yet dead, but dying. For the first time in my life I am truly alone. I wake each morning and the first thing I do is remember The Note, then will myself not to cry. I get up and everything feels wrong. The house is empty, my husband is not home and inside I am aching. At night when I am home and sitting on the sofa I think I hear the familiar sound of the key in the front door. My heart leaps – he’s coming home, he’s coming home! But it’s my mind playing tricks. I don’t know it at the time but my husband is not coming home because he is playing happy families with someone else.
And then comes the winter, those bleak months when the truth hits me hard like a frozen white bullet through the heart. Any sense of normalcy is gone and I am left reeling from the shock and devastation. All our plans, our dreams, our future … gone. I want answers. I want to know why. I want to know that if he loves me, how could he do this?