Four years ago at this time I was dancing to the best cover band in Cleveland, wearing a long white dress and forgetting to eat dinner (even though I swore I wouldn’t), surrounded by my closest friends and family.
Tonight I’m sitting in the Bend riverfront apartment my husband and I planned to live out the next chapter of our lives in, wearing a backwards hat and no pants, still slightly hungover from last night’s therapeutic consumption, alone. I did remember to eat dinner this time, at least.
There won’t be any anniversary celebrations, nostalgic trips down memory lane, or jokes about “that time we got dressed up and threw a really awesome, really expensive party!” like the past few years. Instead I spent the day tying up loose ends (updating insurance policies, splitting joint accounts, boxing up little mementos from the “Sarah and Brian” era) and signing a new lease for a new apartment, one that’s just mine.
It’s easy to see now that we were both too busy growing up to realize we were growing apart. Slowly, starting whoever-knows-how-long-ago, we stopped being lovers and started being people who just loved each other. That might sound stupid, but it’s the best way to explain it. It was so gradual neither of us saw it happening, and by the time we realized how far we’d drifted from each other we were (figuratively and literally) hundreds of miles away. It was somehow an equally anti-climactic and tragic ending.
Even though we mutually and amicably decided to end our marriage, it’s still been a roller coaster of emotions, even for someone who’s alarmingly vacant in the feelings department. Loss, anger, betrayal, inconvenience, relief… all have come and gone in various forms and in a wide range of severity. But the hardest part has been finding a balance between appreciating the 10 years of memories and wanting to erase everything and start over. I suspect I’ll battle with that for a long time, and that a lot of things will forever remain bittersweet.
The move to Oregon afforded a clean break and a fresh start, and for that I’m really grateful. Going through a breakup without bumping into mutual friends, having to avoid old haunts, or worrying what’s spreading through the gossip mill makes this process infinitely easier. Most people here don’t know this past chapter from my story, and they don’t have to if I don’t want them to.
It’s been six months since Brian left. I’m very clearly still working through some things, including learning how to live a life that’s solely mine.
I’m really excited to see what that turns out to be.