The Day After

Three weeks had passed since New Years Eve. I was not the same person I was on December 31, 2005. I remember looking into the mirror on January 1, 2006. My phone kept ringing that evening, which seemed nonstop from Joey. Driving on New Year’s Eve, I drove to the ocean and pulled into the parking lot. Sitting in my car, I looked over to my right. I saw a man and a woman inside of a black suburban, laughing. I wondered if they were a new couple. I wondered if he was ever unfaithful to her and if she had no idea. I looked at her with admiration on New Year’s Eve. I wanted to change spots with her and I wanted to be happy even if I wasn’t with anybody I just wanted that happiness that she had on her face.

Turning forward, I put my hands on the steering wheel while staring out at the ocean, I could see reflecting in my headlights, the waves, they were so violent that evening. Huge waves crashed to the shore assaulting the sand. I began to think about the sand and wonder how much of that sand had been solid rock and how overtime it was just worn down by the constant battering of people and nature. I was so angry in that moment. Flashbacks of how much I had given and forgiven my husband began to pour into my mind. I heard the whipping winds outside of my window on that cold snowy night. I saw my children in my mind, and wanting to be with them on New Year’s Eve, frustration set in. I remembered how happy I had been that morning. Then I began seeing the man who vowed to me that he would never cheat on me with another woman, began to attack my mind. I saw him touching her. I turned off the car, opening the door, I got out. The cold with the whipping winds from the ocean was maddening. It was numbing. It was beautiful. It was reality. I was fine being in the storm of nature because the storm that was brewing in my own life would never stop. I was so angry. I had just turned thirty that year. Two children and a thirteen year marriage. “God are you serious? Are you serious? The one thing I told You I did not think I could ever handle was my husband cheating on me. I told You that that would be the end of me because I saw how my mother became when my father cheated on her. You knew my fears. You know my fears. I trusted You again when You said to me, “Do you not trust Me My Daughter?” Didn’t I look within my soul and tell you that I did? Did I not mean it when I said it God?!”

I inhaled so deeply the ocean air that the cold and the salt began to burn my throat and then I inhaled even more because I didn’t care about the physical uncomfortableness, I wanted to feel that burn to know that I was alive in that moment.

I didn’t get it. I didn’t get it, how come I kept on trusting my husband when I knew and felt that something was wrong? How come I would keep trusting God when I continuously was being let down by Him? Was I some kind of fool? This big fantasy of expecting to really have God keep His promise? The day that I was in Church as a teenager and I told You God that I wanted to be a Bride of Christ. Do You remember what You told me God? You told me that that was not Your plan for me. Because I remember, God. Because I walked out of Your House with a broken heart and for years I carried that I was not good enough to have been a Cloistered Nun. For years You told me to hold on, not to give up, not give in. You lied to me. You said You loved me. I was mistaken. Are You really real?” I put my head down as tears streamed down my face. Then I looked out over at the ocean and I inhaled deeply. Then I looked up to the sky, “Forgive me God, for I have sinned in what I’m about to do, but I need a break from You.”

Getting back into my car, I drove and drove. I checked into a hotel room. Putting my key into the door I laid down on the bed. I wanted to just fall asleep. The agonizing pain that was in my mind was too much. I thought back to when I was a teenager and how easy it was for me to tell God goodbye. I knew miles back at the ocean when I told God I needed a break – I knew it would never happen because I was in Love with my broken King hanging on a bloodied Cross with an invisible Crown of Jewels. I could never escape Him. He was always right there. I fell asleep for three hours.

Grabbing the facecloth from the hanger in the bathroom, I washed my face, picked up my keys, left the hotel key on the table and getting into my car, I lit a cigarette and drove down to Dunkin’ Donuts to get a coffee. I drove down to the ocean.

Looking out over the ocean, I began to think about my mother. I remember seeing how undone she had become in her marriage when extramarital affairs changed the DNA of our entire home. Flashbacks began to seep into my mind.  I didn’t know what my next move was going to be. I felt nothing in that moment. I wasn’t angry. I wasn’t happy, there was just a feeling of nothingness. Perhaps bitterness was there. I remember feeling bitter. I remember seeing this couple at the beach taking pictures and it seemed so strange that the world was going on – when mine was crashing down – it seemed surreal that one can look at another and never know what it is that they are truly going through.

An hour had passed. Leaving the beach, I drove alongside the beach the entire way home and pulled into my driveway. Looking up at our two story home, you could always tell which way that the wind was blowing the previous night because of the way the snow attached to the side of the gray wooden shingles. I put my key into the door, walked inside, removed my key from the door knob, placed my keys on the wooden key ring holder underneath the phone and walked into the living room. Joey was sleeping on the couch. Walking upstairs I checked on the boys. Sleeping. I walked into our bedroom and looked at the bed, still made. I felt nauseated.

Hearing footsteps coming up the stairs, I closed my eyes, inhaled and then opened them back up. “Melissa”, I heard Joey say. Turning around, I looked at him and said nothing. My mouth wouldn’t open to speak. I stood there staring at him, knowing that he was there and then having flashbacks to when we first met, to the happiness, to the kids, to life in general. Who was this person? I didn’t want this marriage. “Joey, it’s New Year’s Day. Our children are sleeping. I need some time and so I’m going to pack my bags and go for a little while.”, I said. “I am going to go. You should not have to leave. “, Joey said. “Goodbye Joey.”, I said. Within a half an hour, he was gone. I heard the truck pull out of the driveway. I wanted to run outside and open up his truck door and shake him and ask him what is the matter with you? Why would you do this to a family who love and support you? Do you even realize what it is that you have done? I wanted to hold him, I wanted to hug him, I wanted to hurt him, I want him to feel what was going on in my being. I wanted it to drown him so he could see what his selfishness had done. 

I took a shower, made myself some coffee, began to make a New Year’s day breakfast as I always had. Our children woke up that morning and asked for their dad over breakfast, and I told them that their dad was called into work. I made a beautiful turkey dinner as was tradition in our home and I sat on the couch with my two boys as we watched Christmas movies, we laughed, we snuggled. The smile on my face was real as there was joy in my heart. That morning as I was sitting by the ocean, I made a decision that if this is what life was going to bring to me, I was not going to let it make me a bitter person. I refused to carry on the generational curse that was trying to encircle me just as the snake coils itself in its own deception. I wasn’t buying into it.

Humanity sets in and sometimes time doesn’t always make things better. I sought a divorce attorney.

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