Shall I tell you of a time not too long ago? Do you really want to hear of the moment that locked the events following it irrevocably into place? The time that I refer to are the minutes of a death, when a heart ceased to beat and a breath ceased to flow. Those minutes hung in the air leaden, barely crawling forward. They are indelibly etched into the fabric of my memory and have shaped the course I have taken since.
I saw it coming, of course. In fact, I knew on some level that it had probably already occurred and yet, before these interminable minutes, I had not the strength of will to look Death full in the face. I simply was not ready. I was still stubbornly clinging to hopeful beliefs in fairy tales and happy endings.
"Why would you put yourself through this?" She asks me before I leave. "Because I need to," is the quiet reply.
My body is shaking as I pull up to the strange house. My feet are wooden. I place them reluctantly into the dirt, forcing myself down steps I don't want to travel. I raise an unwilling fist to knock firmly on the door. Cloaking my face in unrevealing steel, I disguise myself with confidence.
He answers the door, this man who is my husband. He leads me from room to room of his new home. We take inventory of the scanty remaining possessions of our household. I carefully jot down the details that will be sorted later. He shows me where my children sleep, and then where her children sleep. And then with the gloat still in his eyes, he shows me where he sleeps, in our bed, the wedding gift from my parents, with the woman that he left me for. My bed with the rumpled sheets and the indent of her head still in the pillow.
And each moment hangs in the air dripping forward like molasses adding to the previous moments, laying a trail of gasoline that suddenly ignites.
And the inside of my skin crawls with flames, smoldering through unforgiving muscles to the very core of me. Incinerating me down to the icy marrow of my bones. And my heart stops beating as it tears itself in half feeding more fuel to the raging inferno coursing through my veins until the very breath that sustains me deserts me, sucked away by the unrelenting onslaught. And in those moments, I expose myself, willingly, to the full force of the excruciating realization that we were unquestionably and, more importantly, undeniably over.
It was in those moments that I embraced Death...
and then my husband introduced me to his new girlfriend...
And as I stepped out the ashes to acknowledge her before turning to leave for the long drive home, I came to another realization. It was time to begin anew.