Do you ever feel, sometimes, like you are just never changing? Like you are stuck in a rut of failure and it just never ends? Sometimes you need a tangible reminder that you have changed, that your life is changing, and that, even if you don’t see it day-by-day…things are altering, ever so subtly, until your whole world is different from what it used to be.
I got a searing reminder of that on Saturday night, when D and I went to file our taxes for the second and last time as a married couple. Because D works for a nonprofit and doesn’t think of his withholding status until tax time, we got screwed big-time. As in, we owe the IRS $1,200 between our state and federal taxes. This happened last year to a lessened degree, and me, being me, decided to choose this as a good time to take our marriage counselor’s advice and relinquish my need to control everything. I left the changing of his withholding status up to D, and I got burned by it. It’s not a huge burn, just a small one (well, if you can count $1,200 as “small’), but I have to say that there were a few minutes where I covered my eyes with my hands and felt the tears burning my face as the words “How many times are you going to screw me over?” went through my head.
But I didn’t say those words. I didn’t scream at D or rail at him or ask him why, why, why, exactly, was he letting this happen again, why did he sit by and allow himself to get fucked over at tax-season, and not only him, but me, too? And while we’re on a roll here, why did he choose to emotionally give up on our marriage a mere two years after saying his vows to me? These are all things that, a year ago or more, I probably would have just let fly.
Instead, I saved the progress on TurboTax, shut my computer’s lid, and asked him if he wanted to go out and get a cup of hot cocoa from Dunkin Donuts. (Before anyone echoes my mom’s sentiment of “Because the best reaction to finding out you owe money is to spend money!”, I had a GC left over from Christmas, so nyah). We went, got our hot chocolate, and drove around, for a little while, chatting on topics, some heavy, some not, talking about our impending divorce and our fears and our dreams for the rest of our lives. When we parted it was on good terms, which wouldn’t have happened if I had lost my temper. Had I lost my temper and said all of those terrible things that went through my head up there, we would have accomplished nothing. It wouldn’t have made me feel better; D would have gotten upset and screamed back at me; it all would have gone to hell very, very quickly.
It doesn’t save me the $600 that I now owe the IRS because of him, but at the very least, it did save me more emotional pain. Instead of feeling like a horrible person, I feel like I grew up some. That tangible reminder that, yeah, in the past few years, I have grown. I have changed.
We all do, I guess.
Lately, I have these moments where I am fine, and then I’m not. Like I function just fine during the day, I face what happened with D and I and I acknowledge, it, and I’m okay. But then I just fall apart. It hits me in the chest, fresh, and I am doubled over with it. That horrible aching yaw in my chest of My husband left me, he doesn’t want to be with me, he doesn’t love me and he never will again. And oh, that ache, that ache comes and I would give anything to go back to being 27 years old, happily married again.
And then I remember that it wasn’t perfect back then; I only thought it was, because I didn’t know what was going on in D’s head. I didn’t know that he was unhappy, restless, looking for something other than what I could give him. I didn’t know that he was already thinking of leaving me. And when I remember that that life, it wasn’t perfect, somehow it is easier to go on.