Weep not for roads untraveled
Weep not for paths left lone
Cause beyond every bend
Is a long blinding end
It’s the worst kind of pain I’ve known
Give up your heart left broken
And let that mistake pass on
Cause the love that you lost
Wasn’t worth what it cost
And in time you’ll be glad it’s gone
– Linkin Park “Roads Untraveled”
After my decompression period, I rode the Greyhound back home to my wife and daughter. I could see the mistakes that were made and wanted to find resolution to the problems we were facing.
Madison picked me up at the station but I don’t really remember much conversation in the car. There was still that uneasy tension between us and that painfully awkward moment where nobody really knows what to say. After unpacking, I knew that if anything was going to be resolved, I had to make the first move and asked Madison to sit down and talk with me, no arguing or screaming, just talking. I confessed to my mistakes of not communicating with her and offered her my full attention and devotion. I told her we could get rid of the internet because I didn’t need it to continue working on my game and we could become a family again. I talked about our struggles and how we survived through all the hard times together. I asked her to remember how strong we were when it was just the two of us against the world instead of being against each other. Being one move away from being on my knees, I begged her to please listen and believe what I was telling her but her response to everything was, “It’s too late.”
I remember the tremble in her voice as she fought to hold back the tears. I remember how my own eyes stung while I sat there holding her hands unable to comfort her. She pulled her hands away and told me that the marriage was over. She said it was over the moment I got on that bus and though she still loved me, she was no longer in love with me. Even if I did as I had promised, it wouldn’t make a difference because the mistakes of the past would remain.
I had given it everything I had. My vows to change were sincere and I meant every word that I had spoken but hers were no less important. I tried to explain how she wasn’t seeing the whole picture but her decision had been made and she no longer wanted anything to do with me. I could hear the tone of her voice shift from sadness to anger as she spoke through gritted teeth and clenched fists. She was as certain of her words as I had been of mine and I remember sitting back in the kitchen chair to pause and survey the room, looking at everything around me but not really seeing anything as I sat there absorbing the impact.
For the first time, I was able to see the picture from her point of view. What if she had told me that she wanted to travel across the country to gather her thoughts with someone that I didn’t know? Would my reaction have been any different from hers? I would like to believe that I would have protested the idea from the beginning instead of waiting until the last minute and came to understand that if she had gotten on that bus, we would probably still be having the same conversation.
I asked her how long she knew. Did she stop loving me as soon as I stepped on the bus? Was it something she realized while I was gone? And she answered, “No. I’ve been feeling this way for a while now. I just didn’t know how to tell you.” She broke down and let loose all the tears she had been holding back.
How is anyone supposed to handle that? How could anyone be with someone under the guise of love for any amount of time and not let them know how they really feel? How was I supposed to react to the new revelation after being with her for the past seven years? My mind drew a blank as the past, present and future all collided in a series of incoherent thoughts and after contemplating everything, I knew that our marriage was over long before the bus trip. With that realization, I only had one question left for her to answer. “So what’s next?”
She told me that she wanted me out of the house and I agreed to leave. But where was I going to go? The majority of my blood relatives were a bunch of pious hypocrites that preached acceptance while practicing judgment. And my friends all had lives and families of their own to care for. I turned to Heather as my only viable option and explained the situation at home. I asked if I could stay with her until I got on my feet again and on the following weekend, I loaded up the computer along with everything else that I could pack into the back of Rx-7 and headed for Maine.