“My husband and I are divorcing” I blurted out. Everyone looked at me with shocked and stunned expressions. We were at a new tapas restaurant having our monthly girl get together. Six sets of eyes stared at me. I waited. The silence was deafening. I cleared my throat and took a sip of my white wine and continued to wait. I waited for what seemed like an eternity for someone, anyone, to speak.
My girlfriend Hope was the first to respond. She replied “Wow, as long as you’re okay. I’m here for you.” I needed that. I needed to hear her support of my decision. Not acceptance. That’s different. Support is only seven letters and takes less effort than acceptance of my decision. Just support. They could do that right? Support was a requirement of friendship. Support was needed if I was planning to get through the next few years alone.
I smiled and knew that in the end my girls would be there, but when Alex asked, “Are you sure you want to do this? I mean…it’s hard out here for single women and you don’t want to be alone.” I paused and replied boldly with determination, “I’m sure Alex. I didn’t make this decision lightly and my marriage is over. Irrepealably broken was what my ex said, so I’m sure.” Alex continued in what felt like a cross examination, “I mean, I get it. People have problems, but can’t you work through them? I was married before and I didn’t know what I had until it was gone. My ex-husband loved my dirty drawers, but I was too selfish. I didn’t know it at the time.”
My heart felt heavy. My cheeks started to flush as I sat there thinking about a response. Was I sure? Was I being selfish? I mean my ex was enough. He was nice enough. Attractive enough. Smart enough. He was enough, but was enough for me?
No, it wasn’t. I wanted more than enough. Hope intervened and said, “Look, I could tell something was bothering you last month on our girl’s trip. You seemed despondent and withdrawn. Did you know last month?” I was startled by her observation of me. Was I that transparent? What is wrong with these women? I wiped my mouth and said “Yes, I haven’t been happy for years. I’ve forced myself to smile when the weight of the world has been on my shoulders. I’ve forced down my tears when I felt unloved and alone. I’ve forced back my anger when he called me out my name. I’ve had enough. He’s enough, but enough isn’t good enough for me.”
There was the silence again. That uncomfortable pause that had me grasping for anything to fill the deafening sound of nothing in my ears. I sat back and said, “Ladies, there is much about my marriage that you don’t know. I kept it inside. Buried it and decided to grin and bear it for my family for my friends and for him. I deserve better. I don’t hate him. I will always love him, but you know what? I love me more.” I looked around the table and saw them for the first time. I saw what they were not telling me…I’m afraid of you being by yourself. Being with someone or anyone is better than being alone. Can’t you fix it?
I couldn’t believe it. I felt defeated until I looked at Hope and saw something else. She had something different in her eyes. She had a spark. A light. Just like her name, I saw hope. I smiled. She reached across the table and grabbed my hand and said, “Sweetie, I got you. I support you and I love you. Never forget that.” I laughed and with tears in my eyes I said, “I love you ladies and I thank you for being here because I’m scared like hell.” Everyone burst out laughing and I knew that my sisters loved me and would never leave me alone. I was going to be okay because I was more than enough.
© Tikeetha Thomas