This week I had one of my darkest days in a very long time. I sat on the couch like a little unreachable blob. I was short tempered and teary at the same time. It all started when the ex finally stopped by to pick up the little one for the first time in weeks.
He got out of his car and headed towards the steps. It always makes me sad to see him walking towards the steps of the house that we shared. I looked at him, and he no longer looked familiar to me. He was tanned and dressed in name brands. The guy I knew couldn’t keep a clean outfit for the life of him. Everything turned into work clothes with stains, rips, and pipe caulk permanently marring his everyday clothes. I stared at his hands. They seemed bigger and were unrecognizable. It seemed impossible that within a year, the hands I had known since I was fourteen years old had turned into a strangers.
“Hey. I need to talk to you,” he said. “I just wanted to let you know, that the new girlfriend, her daughter, and I are going on a cruise in September. I was going to maybe take L but since he doesn’t want to sleepover or anything, I am not going to.”
I said, “Okay.” But I knew he was lying. He never intended on doing so. He had known for months he was going and our divorce decree states that he had to let me know by May if he was taking him on vacation. I’m glad he is not. I’m sad he is not. L went off and had a fun day with him.
I went to the couch and barely moved for the first half of the day. I don’t know why these new people get the better version of him. The engaged family man, who is engaged and committed to people who aren’t his family. The person who can find time for vacations and go to family functions or school events. We never saw that guy. That guy is the stranger to us. And although I know it is better for me in the long run, and I did not want to be with someone who did not want to be with me, it still stings. It is a quick sharp hurt that pierces me as a former partner, but especially as a parent. I don’t know if it will be this way forever. The way that my child’s hurt is my hurt, even when he doesn’t know about it. For now, I hold his hand, fill his days with fun and love, and avoid the hornet’s nest.