The road is filled with anger and frustration, but I find emptiness
choking me like a winter scarf pulled tightly. The air conditioning's
on high and the DJ says, "It's a hot one out there," as if I didn't
My mind stutters from one image to the next, focusing too
intently on the painful and zooming past the idyllic. I fly past us
sledding down a snow covered hill on day-old pizza boxes and linger at
the image of him standing next to the couch, wondering how I'm going
to react to his being there. In what used to be my apartment. With
what is still my wife. And I find myself thinking about how I reacted
and my hand throbs again, the knuckles still scarred.
I remember the first time I ever saw her. The tan skin. The
floral bikini. I remember the feeling in my stomach every time she
said my name.
But again those memories fade and I find myself stuck in
the moment she told me a trial separation might be best. For us. That
she needed to find herself. I still hear her telling me how she wanted
to be single for once. Then telling me a week later that she's dating
someone. I remember going through the list of things we needed to do
and think about, the rules regarding this newly separate life. I
remember that I asked about visitation of the dog, and then sobbed for
the first time in years.
Then I see the image of my clothing peeking out of boxes
taken from the English office at school, the pocketed t-shirts and
khaki shorts peering out of the backseat of my car at what was just
months before and nervous about what will be.
The radio goes to static, then corrects itself as my car hobbles
slowly forward. I hardly notice over the noise of the images in my
There're those same boxes sitting on the floor in my new apartment, me
drunk and calling the number again. And again. And again. Until she
asks me not to call anymore. Tells me she needs more space.
I stop eating. I spend hours running and writing, sleeping
in the afternoon and staying up all night. Thinking. Looking at photos
of our past and trying to evoke the tender feelings that were once all
I knew of her.
I think of concerts and camping. Nights out with our
friends and two-hour long phone calls at 3am with her friends laughing
in the background. Her creating a Sims family with us and our son
Brady and maybe even a second dog. Our first anniversary and the trip
to Traverse City when we got the really tacky room with the hot tub in
Then the memories take me to my first night in the brand
new apartment. I look around my room, the drab and boring whiteness of
non-existence lining the walls. Cob webs and cracked plaster. And I
close my eyes, not because I'm tired but because it hurts too much to
My mind brings me back to the car, to my surroundings and
the traffic threatening to move. I'm not ready yet. I want to be here,
alone, with the radio on and the air conditioner cooling.