As I mentioned before, instead of deciding on our separation plan a month ago, we had dinner and watched a movie instead. The next night, Carol invited me to her parents’ house for a beer. When I got there, her mother, who I haven’t seen since before The Incident, gave me a big hug and told me I’m always welcome to visit them.
Carol, her parents and I had some beers and chatted about life in the backyard. Her parents went to bed and Carol and I continued drinking and talking more deeply about our lives and how we came to be at this point.
Eventually, we went inside and I asked to look at her room. Her old bedroom was set up with a small dresser, side table, a bunch of stored stuff pushed to the side, and our nearly brand new king size mattress that I made her remove from our home for obvious reasons. The bed on which it happened. The bed I refused to touch.
I sat down on it.
“I can’t believe you’re actually touching the bed,” she said.
“Yeah, well I don’t really give a s**t anymore. I need to sit down and I’m not gonna sit on the floor.”
We continued talking and eventually found ourselves laying on the bed while talking. She told me something about Rick that was very insightful and upsetting but I’ll discuss that at a later date.
It got very late, especially for Carol who is used to getting up much earlier than I for her job. The conversation slowed and she laid there staring into my eyes for a long moment. With another woman, I’d see that as romantic interest. With Carol, I had no idea. I knew she was very tired, and that might be all that look meant.
I said, “You’re tired. I’ll go back to my couch that I’ve been sleeping on for the past month.”
”You can sleep here,” she replied. Again, with any other woman I’d be nearly certain that was an invitation for sex. With Carol, it may have really only meant sleep.
“No,” I said, then added sadly, “That would be too weird I guess, a husband in bed with his wife.”
She led me to the door but I hesitated. Finally, I decided to embrace her. She hugged me back and we stood in each other’s arms for a long while.
I pulled away and looked into her eyes. She was crying. “Thank you,” she whispered.
Two days later I took the kids to Doreen’s house for her Canada Day party. Many of her friends and family were there. Later, Carol came and we sat together with her grandparents, all chatting as if we weren’t separated.
I rubbed sunscreen on Carol. That hug a few days ago broke a barrier and now I was putting my hands on her again.
The kids had a great time playing water games. We ate dinner, everyone but me ate cake (my desire for sweets has only recently come back), and now we had to wait for it to get dark to begin with the fireworks.
More of Carol’s family had come over now. I was surrounded by her relatives. I suddenly felt weird. I told everyone I had to go.
Doreen gave me a hug and whispered, “Getting too weird for you?” as if she read my mind.
“Yeah,” I said then went back to my empty house. I couldn’t stand it there. I cursed and yelled at nothing, then left the house and spent hours walking around the city, seeing all the fireworks being set off in people’s backyards.
I was miserable and lonely. I slept as best as I could and the next day I went right to Carol’s parents’ house to see her and the kids.
I hugged my children and told them how much I missed them. I told them all to come home so we could spend the day together.
Carol was gathering laundry in her bedroom so I took that moment to talk to her privately.
“I miss my family,” I said. “I miss my family and I miss… you.” I was feeling weak and vulnerable. I didn’t want to miss her or let her know that I did, but I couldn’t help myself.
“I don’t know what to say. Do you want a hug?”
”I want more than a hug,” I said, with tears in my eyes, “I want to kiss you.”
”I don’t want to hurt you,” she replied. “I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what I want. I just don’t want to give you false hope right now. I don’t want to break your heart again.”
Looking back, it reminds of the terribly awkward dialogue between Anakin and Padme in Attack of the Clones.
We sat next each other on the bed.
“I thought you’d hate me forever and now, with the way you’ve been, I’m so confused.”
“The things you thought of me, you’ve come to realize you were wrong about, and it’s hurting you,” I said.
“I’m so sorry,” she cried then buried her face in my chest and wept hard.
I wrapped my arm around her and told her, “You can get through this. We can get through it. One way or another, we’re in this together.”
A few days later, it was time for her to take her annual camping trip with the kids. I told her she could sleep at home and I’d get up at 4:00am to help her pack the heavy stuff in her car and see them off.
She slept on the couch I used for a bed for over a month. I slept in my new and far too firm mattress that was delivered just the day before. Before I went to bed, I asked, “So we’re just in a holding pattern still?” She said yes.
At 4:00am, I packed the car, hugged the kids, and said goodbye. Carol initiated the hug.
Four nights I would be alone in the house. I ended up only spending three of them at home. The other one, I was out getting involved in my own Incident.