It’s been months, I think anyway, since I returned home. Now that the regular riggaramore of everyday life has settled back in, the dust has dissolved, I forget the day. I forget what happened, what was said, what was meant. The feelings of the day remain. Shortly after I returned, how embarrassed I felt for the devastation I had caused on James. The way his face was sunk and the way the sparkle was gone from his eyes, I had done damage and it may be irrevocable.
Soon after everything happened quickly. I had to reposition myself in society with a job. With the line of credit I had burnt through in the last year and James maxing out all the credit cards, it would take some time to pay everything back.
I didn’t blame him, he did the best he could. I would sit and eat dinner some nights and wonder if he regretted me coming home, maybe he would have found it easier to hear that I was dead somewhere. Then life insurance would have paid off the debt that he was accumulating, maybe that was secretly his plan. I know he loved me, I knew it before I left. Does he still love me?
It seems we are working towards something new. We haven’t had sex since I returned, even the slight pecks that we kiss each other before leaving work for the day seem strained. It’s the simple touches that get me though, the way he’ll hold me as we watch a movie. The way he caresses my peach fuzz scalp. It had grown back but I enjoyed keeping it shaved. The hair stripped away, removing any vanity. The fresh scalp signified a new beginning for us. Starting a fresh, from new. We work on something better now, we practice towards perfection and I know neither of us with give up this time.
If love is built on compassion, understanding and friendship; we have only one thing left. Compassion. Maybe we lost our understanding of each other, our friendship I ripped apart when I walked out the door. Trust along with it, even if I told him I never cheated on him, would he believe me? Would I want to know what he did? I never asked, he never told. So, we work together, we hold onto our compassion for our relationship. The genuine want of belonging in a marriage and we practice to make it better. Not what it was before, but something better.
I had grown my expectations too high, solely on the fact I had grown myself. Which is fair, most people grow in their life, especially in a 10-year relationship. But it was unfair the expectations I had put on him. We are still the same people we were when we fell in love, I want to do that again. Let’s do us, not others, not ex-girlfriends, not kids, not fights, but us, I said to him.
I close the fridge door, milk in hand to pour my pre-work coffee. The letter I had written is positioned in the middle of the fridge. Had it been there since I returned? Had it been there since I left? For some reason, I couldn’t even recall what I had written. The paper feels tattered between my fingers as I pull the magnet off it and sit at the table. The edges worn and ripped, it had been read. Many times, from the looks of it. Amazing how scanning the words now, they seemed to not even be my words. It was no letter, it was no explanation, no telling of where I was going. It was an evil teaser into the mental anguish I was putting myself through.
My Pink Tree
My love, do you remember. Do you remember when we planted that sapling?
Vulnerable and new, we had to water and protect it.
Shine it full with the power of our warming sun.
Exposed to the elements though, it was threatened to break.
Wind, Rain, Sleet, and Snow.
All four where mischievous cherubs, more tenacious than it; we thought some days.
Still how it grew, tall and strong we were surprised. Larger than expected.
Then even more amazing, it bloomed.
Into a pink tree.
Stunning and beautiful, it was a novelty.
How perfect it was. Then you uprooted it.
It was no longer enough to be just pink, it had to be purple too.
I agreed, maybe I should have said pink was just fine but I agreed.
Transplanting a pink tree is a gamble. One that we lost.
It was no longer pink, the color faded.
The roots rot. The leaves fell.
Turning black, regardless of the love caressing them. They darkened and fell.
Branches turned to spider webs, sticky and iridescent. Holding the words, the glares, the blame.
No pruning would remove it.
No watering would stop the wither.
I dug it out today.
And threw it away.
When I return, maybe we can buy a yellow shrub.