Life Vest

Why? I did so many things over the last year in a vain attempt to make it look like I was trying to keep our marriage together. So, in the end, when this all blew up (like I knew, in the back of my mind, it would), I could say, “See! Look! I tried!!”

I’ve always believed that tattoos with/for a person other than blood family are the kiss of death. And they are. Ask anyone with someone’s name tattooed on them; chances are they’re not with that person. So I designed this infinity/ampersand. And, while I told a few people it was about me, and Michael, and the girls, I knew, in my heart of hearts, that the minute that went on my wrist, this was done.

Whatever that tattoo meant the day I designed it, today, it’s for my girls. It is forever and ever, my three little stars.

The photos I put on our wall? The wedding contract? Over the summer, when things were really bad? Maybe a reminder – to him, to myself, of what once was? Maybe just trying to make it look good. “Look! We have our wedding stuff over our bed! At 9 years, isn’t that impressive?!” Who the fuck was I trying to impress? Who really gives a shit? I sure as shit didn’t. Not by this point. Not when I was working as much as I could, going out all.the.time, training for Ragnar and a Marathon.

It was a year ago that I stopped playing with photos. I stopped taking pictures. Or, I’d take them, upload them, and leave them. I have a year of photos that haven’t been glanced at. Why? I didn’t want to see. I took them, dutifully. Well, even. But without joy. Without desire. Without wanting to see what they might show. Without wanting to admit to myself what they showed.

When he showed up to cheer me on at Ragnar, I was upset. More than upset. I’d asked him not to; explained that it was a team thing, and that I needed to be with my team. It wasn’t a family event. This wasn’t about that. This was my accomplishment, and I wanted to own it. I would celebrate with them when I got home. So, when I saw the car on the side of the road as we drove by, I was so, so angry. I couldn’t even be happy to see my kids. My sweet babies who were cheering for their mama. All I could see was a man who so desperately wanted to be a part of every.single.thing I did and couldn’t let me just be. Just have this thing for myself. I told him I was upset. But the photos at the finish line? Smiling, happy, facebook family. He asked if I wanted to leave and come home with them then. Are you fucking kidding me? No. I don’t. I want to finish this race with my TEAM. I might be done running, but my team isn’t. So I’m not.

When he voiced how much he wanted to come cheer me on at Portland, I responded with a vehement “No”. I took him aback. No. I didn’t want him there. I didn’t want MY marathon to be about how great a father and husband he was for driving three girls down there to cheer me on. For wrangling the kids while they waited. For making the effort to be there. I needed to accomplish this on my own. That marathon was mine. No, I couldn’t have done the training without the logistical support of him and the family, but even that, I made every possible effort to not disrupt the family. I ran at 4am. I showered fast, so we could move on with our days. I ate sandwiches in the car as we drove to the next birthday party, or BBQ. I tried, so hard, to keep everything else normal, while running 40+ miles almost every week for 5 months.

Gone. Always gone. Except during daylight hours when I was with the girls. The girls I resented. Because they tied me, inextricably to him. And no matter what I do, they will always bind us together. But I refuse to resent them for that. I can choose, and I opt not to.

I loved him once. Is he the love of my life? No. Is he a match? No. Is that man out there? I think so. I believe that.


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