Almost exactly two years ago Marco left. I did very little of my usual persuasion to make things right again. It was the Friday that school let out for Spring Break and the cars were packed with all the things to make for a relaxing fishing trip up the Devil’s River via the emergency boat ramp at my mom’s little spot on Lake Amistad.
It was late, and he had been drinking. Perhaps I had too. We got into an argument which was not uncommon; however, arguments as of recent had turned to a long and tortuous “to do” list of all things that dissatisfied him about me, everything except for the truth. The items on his list were not quite fictitious, but they seemed irrationally far-fetched and a bit tired.
That night I was too exhausted to see him to bed. I left him brooding in the yard on a lawn chair outside of the shop built for him. I assumed that I would find him remorseful next to me the following morning. When I awoke, I was shocked to discover he never made it inside of the house.
I immediately went outside hoping to not find him passed out in the yard. He was nowhere to be found. I didn’t want to leave for Val Verde County without him, but something told me that the waiting was over. I waited for years for him to make me his, to truly value what he had in me. But, alas, the sun rose and blinded me into realizing that I had to truly value what I had in me.
I drove away the morning after he left. I drove away to one of my favorite places, a little cabin where the river feeds to the lake, where the smell of purity is not a luxury, where the birds are carefree, where the cactus are mean, where the water is clear and cleansing, where the flowers are something to be admired, where time drags, where the blackest nights light the brightest stars. As I drove away I knew the peace that awaited me. It was mine for the taking.
I am not sure if I ever went outside while I was there. The weather was perfect. I obsessed over my life and found it hard to enjoy the vastness of the desert. Even with the shades drawn and the pillow that buries your head, there is no escaping the tiny rays of sunshine that make their way into your space. There is no escaping the beauty of an untouched land. There is no escaping knowing the water sits quietly next to where you sleep. There is no escape from the magnificence of a land that few find spectacular. There is no escape from feeling like you hold a secret that few others understand.
What I expected was to be kayaking on the waters I loved, fishing, with my husband. How I landed in a bed that belonged to my grandmother, how I actually left while rolling over excuses to stay home, how I stayed in bed for days was not at all what I saw coming. It was like a well-planned left hook in slow motion. I felt the sting of each minute as it passed.
And yet, somehow I found the courage to say that enough was enough. Yes, he left. But I am the one who changed the locks when he begged to be let in. Seeing the face of the man you love beg to come home is gut-wrenching. But I asked myself, what was he begging for? Was it me or was it that he couldn’t afford the hotel rooms anymore or was it that he didn’t want to live with his mother? I don’t recall him ever once begging for me. “I miss you” was the closest he got.
In the years that led up to that Friday, March night, I was begging for me. I was clawing for me. I was praying for me. Even though a small piece of my heart had given up on him the rest worked tirelessly to show him what love was supposed to be, tirelessly and sometimes without joy. How I survived without serious drugs or a trip to the state hospital will always provide me with a bit of pause and awe.
By the time he left in the middle of that Friday night, I had finally hit my breaking point. I never knew the breaking point would be so soft and sweet. The breaking point rolled in like a thick fog, like a hand to hold, like the sun breaking a cloudy day, like rain on parched earth, like a homemade meal to a deployed soldier’s lips, like a long lost embrace. It swept me away and carried me toward a different path.
I had little control but to give in. I was incredibly humbled that I was worth such divine intervention. Today I try and find the joy in the small things. I still sleep too much, and I don’t always know how to fill my time. These are tiny problems compared to the war zone that used to be my house. Today quiet surrounds me as I try very hard to listen to the voice inside of me.