As it goes every weekday, my alarm woke me up so I headed to the bathroom for my morning shower. Everyone else in the house was asleep, having no obligations for the day. As I stepped into the shower, it occurred to me what day it was. I rolled my eyes and muttered, “Oh, Christ.”
I imagine a man might react this way to realizing it’s his anniversary because he had forgotten about it. I reacted that way because I didn’t want to deal with it but I knew, even if somehow Carol didn’t remember, it would be mentioned somewhere, by someone.
I stood in the shower thinking how much I hate that I’m in a ‘marriage’ where I feel like the anniversary means nothing, how the number of years is a lie because our marriage had ended due to her actions. And as I was thinking, I don’t even want to know how many years it would’ve been, my brain did a quick calculation anyway.
14 years. 14 fucking years, while I only see two years because everything before is a lie. I can’t even look at pictures of my children from more than two years ago. How sad that would be if I didn’t feel so empty about it all.
I took of my wedding band and examined it. It is so plain, so meaningless. It is from a long dead marriage, one that would’ve been celebrating 14 years. I thought about how it’s been two years and maybe Carol believes we’re married but to me it’s still the trial period.
The bathroom door opened. That’s when I realized just how long I’ve been standing in the shower, lost in thought. Fuck. I should’ve been quick and got the hell out of here. I do not need to have an ‘anniversary’ conversation today. Carol was asking to join me in the shower.
I slipped my ring back on and accepted her invitation. She’s going to say something about today, I thought, and what will I say in reply?
But she said nothing about it. She kissed me and hugged me and asked me what I wanted for dinner. Good. But sad. Sad that there was nothing to celebrate. Sad that there could’ve been but she decided to make the worst possible choices and now she has to live with it. Unfortunately, so do I if I’m going to try to keep this family together.
But the day was young. Maybe she hadn’t realized yet. When I got to work, it occurred to me to check my Facebook for any mentions. I opened the app and the first thing I saw was an anniversary post, but I realized it was simply one of those things that Facebook makes for you to share. Would’ve been nice, but no fucking thanks, I thought.
At mid-morning I got a text from my stepmom, saying she hasn’t mailed our card yet but it’s on its way, and included in that text message was Carol. Now it no longer was a matter of whether Carol even knew. She does now.
However, when I was home for the evening, Carol snuggled with me a lot, but no mention was made by her. And so, the whole day went by and both of us, knowing what day it was, said nothing. I’m sure she was just following my lead, and I’m sure it stung that the day went mostly unacknowledged by everyone, which is fine because it stings me too.
We should’ve been celebrating, and we should’ve been getting messages from all our loved ones, but you took that away Carol, so it’s gone. Maybe one day it will come back in some form, but it will never be how it should’ve been. You changed it. You did it years ago but the effects will continue to be felt for years to come.
You throw a rock in a pond and it ripples. It ripples far and wide and it goes on and on and on. You cannot stop it, if you try, you’ll only disturb the water more. The only thing you can give it is time.