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Before and After

 

I thought about starting at the beginning. The very beginning. How we met and fell in love and how we married. How grand it all was. The excitement and good intentions and promises.


But you can intimate that that is true and that it all changed. Both And. Otherwise, this would be a - I knew who I married when I married him and who he became was not a surprise. Which is a non-story. So assume correctly that there were rainbows and unicorns and all the good stuff that led me to a white dress, a family home and three babies. That is not to say there wasn’t friction. There was. Some areas known to me. But no person or partnership is perfect, so we soldiered on.


In hindsight though, that we is generous. I soldiered on. In therapy together and solo. In the house, with the kids and solo. He went AWOL. Or, just absent. There is no WOL because I thought there was an understanding of the need and value of time alone or with friends to regroup. I knew I needed it. Being home with kids solo from good-morning to go-the-hell-to-sleep isn't easy. In hindsight though, there wasn't an understanding. What I thought was his time to regroup became his time to move on. Very truthfully, I didn't even know it was regroup time. It was early and late to work under the guise of, you know, work. And so there is a before and after day. Two actually.


The before starts in a moment. Everything changes in that moment. But not a moment in the pejorative sense. The moment of discovery and undeniable proof stretches. Time slows, you can hear your heartbeat, your brain scrambles to make sense of what you're seeing. The mental whirring not fast enough. Never fast enough because there is no sense in those texts or images or songs. You come back to the present as best you can. Taking photos or screenshots for proof. Because those things don't lie. Can't lie. The after starts that very next moment. The difference is so stark but that didn't stop me from trying to connect them. Trying to bridge them. How one became the other. Trying to find a thread of the person I married in the stranger in front of me. The stranger that still stands in front of me, these many years later. Sometimes still searching the face, the stance, the words for the person with whom I shared that excitement and good intentions and promises.


Not to relive the glory days. But to gage how to be, how to understand him. They're not there. It's not there. And so the after becomes the present and the future. And the before becomes a whispy memory and a question of it if ever really existed at all.

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