of toll booth treachery, and the long con.

Today would have been our fifth wedding anniversary.

The day before my ex husband (the sound of that phrase feels so foreign and weird on my tongue) announced what his True Feelings™ were regarding our family, I ordered this anniversary card. I had spent quite a while looking around for the perfect card, and the moment I saw this one I got super excited because it had the right aesthetic and the right sentiment, without being overly sugary or trite. He would love the nautical design, and how it tied in with our home. I wanted to make sure I received the card super early, as we would be in Mexico for our anniversary. I planned out a surprise for that day, to go along with the card. I was excited to carry it out. I had no idea how he felt. I had no idea how very differently the next two months would play out, and that we would never go to Mexico.

The other night I was looking for a piece of jewelry and I came across a cache of old cards and love letters that I had hurriedly stashed in the bottom of my jewelry box on the day we separated. There are about a dozen items, and those were just the things I had hanging up / displaying around the house. There are lots more in boxes elsewhere. I sat down on the bed and read through them…all the sweet sentiments I had taken for granted were true all this time, like you would with any card you receive. I cried. A lot. Such love, wonder, promise, and excitement for the future, even in the very recent ones. Inscriptions that go above and beyond politeness, and are far more than what would have been required to simply keep up appearances. Every word makes me wince now, against the backdrop of knowing how he had really viewed our life for “years.” Okay, fine. Maybe he was done, secretly. But I didn’t know that. So all those sentiments that seem like a pack of disposable, easily-reproducable (and oh, how they were reproduced!) ruses now — they were true for me. Even if it wasn’t real, I’m grateful for even thinking I was experiencing the love and adventure that the last seven years were. I was, and am, alive.

I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten.
— Joel 2:25

This is a sad day, but it could be much worse. Tonight I will serve food. I will receive hugs. I will have friends over to re-warm our house, to help banish the lies and make new happy memories.  I will be valued in the rooms where I was told I’m worthless. I will be sought in the rooms where I was abandoned. I will be loved in the rooms where I was told I’m unloveable. Goodbye, lies. To believe you would mean the end of me, and forsake the Hope that is at my core.


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