This is very personal from Joe, but every time I read it, it moves me. Really makes you think. Thank you Joe for giving me permission to share these personal feelings of yours on my blog.
Twenty –three years: nearly a quarter of a century comes to end with a few scratches of a pen; possibly a question from the judge; maybe the banging of a gavel. It’s over, just like that. A new chapter, perhaps even a new book starts with a new title for the main character: Respondent. Just like that, I cease to be lover, companion, husband and spouse even Joe, Honey or Dear. Well, there is another title but I am not so proud of that one: ex. That carries a connotation of failure and I am a stranger to failure. The one title that doesn’t change, however, is that of parent, father, dad and even daddy when the need arises, although I prefer pops or poppa.
Twenty-three years: over and done with. It’s now you and me. I could humanize you and reveal your name but as long as I refer to you as You, She and Her, it’s not personal. That’s how we ended it you realize: nothing personal just business; negotiations over the phone; taking notes; more compromise during those last few days than the last 5 years.
Twenty-three years; more than half my life with the same someone; there’s no more us or ours; simply yours, mine; mostly yours now. It didn’t just end because my socks were always in the middle of the floor—they weren’t—or because you didn’t cook dinner—you didn’t, I did. Somewhere along the way, the look that could cause my heart to skip a beat turned into one that could crack granite and freeze water. Somewhere along the way the times I couldn’t breathe because you took my breath away with a kiss or entered the room turned into I couldn’t breathe because you made me so angry and I had to hold my tongue because I could only spew hate and venom. Somewhere along the way the lips I longed to kiss and dreamed of whenever I was away ceased to say things that were sweet and charming and began to utter words that were bitter, and angry; that hurt and cut my feelings to the core.
Twenty-three years: over and done with. I can’t pinpoint one moment in time where it went wrong but if I choose, I can divulge several moments where I consciously decided I was done begging for your affection; I was done trying to forgive you; I was done worrying about what made you happy. When I began to care more for not making you angry than making you happy, I knew things had changed. Some line had been crossed and I don’t even know where or when it was crossed. I don’t even have to try to recall moments when I realized you quit trying to make our house a home; moments when I ceased to be your husband and became your indentured servant; moments when I realized I was no longer a partner to fulfill a mutual dream and just a direct deposit so you could maintain your standard of living.
Twenty-three years: brought to a conclusion neither one of us ever envisioned nearly a quarter century ago. We didn’t forgive. We didn’t forget. We chose I and me over Us. We quit. We quit each other. And quitters never win.