The Breakdown. (That Weekend part 2)

I woke up on the couch in an empty house that Sunday morning. The couch would be my bed for many weeks to come.

I showered, got dressed, did some push-ups and spent a long time looking at myself in the mirror. I saw a good looking man in his late 30’s, confident and strong, and ready to seize the day.

I left the house without eating. The lunch I brought home two days ago remained untouched in the fridge. I was running on fumes but I didn’t care, I was determined to get out of the house and buy some new clothes to start my new life.

I arrived at the store too early so I made a few phone calls. My mom always really liked Carol and I could hear the hurt in her voice on the phone. It would’ve been difficult to talk to her if I felt anything, but I was numb at the time.

As I shopped, images from the incident kept flashing in my mind. I knew that in time, they would fade. I kept thinking that I was in a good place mentally and I was foolishly beginning to think an emotional breakdown would not happen.

On the drive home, I listened to same song over and over, shouting out the lyrics: “You f**ked up! You bitch! You really f**ked up!” I pounded the steering wheel along with the music. I just wanted to let out some anger but it wasn’t sincere.

At home, I did some chores then sat on the front porch, a man without a purpose.

After an hour of sitting in silence, Carol pulled into the driveway with the kids.  Sam, our oldest was sick. Carol got his lunch order wrong then he spilled his drink in the car. He no longer felt like eating. I had a little talk with him and let him know it’s okay to be hurting, mommy and daddy don’t feel so hungry either right now. He felt better after our talk.

Carol had left to buy groceries so there I was at home with the kids again, trying to appear like a functioning adult to them. I had no desire to do anything but I decided to pass some time by lifting weights and playing guitar.

I started listening to some music. That was a mistake. The emotions started coming up to the surface. I went to the bathroom until the emotional storm threat passed then spent the rest of the afternoon trying to read.

Later, when Carol came back, we did our chores around the house, with me avoiding her as much as possible. Then we all had dinner together and we looked at some mail regarding our big family trip we had booked for December. My heart was breaking.

After dinner, I took a moment to talk to Carol about our future. I told her that I hoped we could continue to take care of our kids equally and that we both deserve to be with our kids on that big family vacation. Carol began to cry, so I backed off and left the room.

I listened to music with my daughter while she played a video game. Again, listening to music was a bad idea but I was starting to get in a bad place. I think part of me wanted Carol to hear the songs I was playing so they would trigger some heartache in her too.

It was time for mommy and the kids to sleepover at grandma’s again. As Carol walked past, I wanted to say something about the crushing sadness I was starting to experience as songs from our wedding began to play in my mind.

I was alone in the house again, imagining Carol, so beautiful in her wedding dress and so in love with me. I came to realize that woman is dead. I then went to the master bedroom and collapsed on the floor in a total outpouring of grief.

Then Carol texted me. She needed to come back to the house to pick something up. I walked around, trying to compose myself but nothing worked. The woman I was madly in love with was dead and gone I couldn’t stop the hurt.

When she came to the house, she saw me sitting on the couch, shaking and in tears. I stood up quickly and moved to the far end of the room to allow her to pick up what she needed. I repeated, “It’s okay. I’m okay.” She said she was sorry and left.

This is when I began a journal. The pain was so overwhelming I just wrote about my day to try to get some distance from it or something, so it was no longer in me, instead it was a note typed out in my phone.

She texted me to told me all she wanted to do was hug me and console me but she knew that wouldn’t help. The woman who resembles the wife I lost wanted to hold me as I grieved for her long lost twin.

I was drowning and I didn’t know who I could talk to. It certainly couldn’t be her.

The next day I had to go to work. My boss asked how I was doing. I made a “so-so” gesture because I couldn’t speak. The lump was in my throat and the last thing I wanted to do was cry in front of my boss. I worked away from everyone as much as possible that day. By 3:00 I finally ate some food for the third time in four days.

Carol asked how my day went. I told her how I simply hid away from everyone and tried not to cry. Of course, telling her this made the tears come again.

I left to see a friend and texted an apology to her for getting emotional. She responded again that she wanted to hug me and added that she would if I wanted her to.

I couldn’t understand how she could hurt me so bad but also want to console me. She was splitting into a third person in my mind. There was Carol, my deceased wife, Carol the woman who betrayed me, and now Carol, the understanding and caring friend.

I’d have many deep conversations with this third Carol over the next few weeks.

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