The Things Not Said

I went to my friend G’s cottage this week to reconnect and share our writing. He’s working on what looks like is going to be a terrific novel. We read to each other, talked writing, had a gin and tonic. I took a nap in the hammock, listened to the wind rustle the leaves. Stronger than rustle, actually. It was full-on shaking the leaves.

It was a great afternoon. G and I are dealing with similar writing issues, and maybe some similar life issues too. And then while he worked on prepping dinner (that I sadly missed, had to get home before falling asleep) I tried to get online. No access. But my mail folder popped up and I clicked something weird and all of a sudden I was looking at email from 2008...and the first message was a harmless message I’d sent to my now ex.

Hi sweetie. Sorry lunch was so rushed. I was trying to get the kids to play and take a good nap. It worked. They're both napping now.

I hope you have a great trip and all goes smoothly. I'm sorry I didn't make you bread. I honestly thought you didn't want me to make sweets right now. Maybe there will be something nice for your return.

I heard from Trillium Farms. Everything is confirmed; and got a receipt for Iowa. Both exciting. When we get our refund check and/or Brilliance money, we should set some aside to pay the balance on the farm. It's due in April.

love you

Tanya

It depressed me. Deeply. Why? What’s wrong with this note? It’s a simple note from a wife to a husband. It’s about every day stuff. What saddened are the things that are not said. My ex in this email was on one of his many trips, and he’d come home briefly for food before heading out. At that time, I cooked everything from scratch. I apologize here for lunch being rushed. Louis was 4 and Simone was 2 and I apologized! I also apologized for not having homemade bread for him. Then I talk about Iowa. On Iowa, I’d scheduled a writing conference that I wanted to attend on my own, but my ex insisted that he go with me. I was angry at him, but you’d never guess it here. Also, I used money from my voice-overs from Brilliance to pay for it, because it was an extravagance and he refused to use any of our ‘regular’ income.

You don’t hear the sadness in here. You hear a woman being a wife and saying I love you and taking care of things. But how I felt…oh, how I felt. Why couldn’t I tell him? Why couldn’t I explain how miserable I was? Why was I, essentially, lying to him?

The truth is, I wasn’t just lying to him by pretending to be happy and pretending everything was okay. I was lying to myself. Every email I sent him tried so hard to be perfect. I apologized for the house not being cleaner, for not making better food, for spending $10 over our $250 monthly food budget. I said “I love you” more times than I can count. I asked him to forgive me. It turns my stomach now to read it. Why would I expect him to know what I was feeling if I was so very good at hiding it?

I think we all do this. We want a perfect life so badly, we tell ourselves we have it. We apologize for things we don’t feel guilty for. We say yes to things we want to say no to.

I’m mad at myself for being so phony, not only with my ex (because there is an element in there that isn’t fair) but also to myself. If I could’ve been strong enough earlier…

I did the best I could.

While G cooked, I had flashbacks to my life as a wife. There are things I miss so much about it. I miss the comfort and security. I miss the predictability. I miss having my kids all the time. I miss planning menus and having a husband that would eat anything I set in front of him from crazy vegetarian food to extravagant roasts to, fresh ciabatta bread. I miss the ring on my finger that seemed to prove to myself that, yes, I was loved.

Sorry to wax poetic here. My ex has taken the kids camping with his new wife and her children and it makes me feel vulnerable and sad.

I haven’t deleted those emails yet. I can’t bear to look at them all, but maybe they’re some kind of reminder, and maybe those emails, the things I don’t say are part of the reason that right now, I’m saying so very much. After five years of self-imposed silence, I find I can’t shut up.

At least now, I like to think that I’m saying all the things I should. There aren’t any spaces between. It’s sometimes hard to live honestly, to be authentic with the loved ones in my life, but I think too, that the life I have now is richer because of that. And while I still want some kind of proof that I have love in my life, I don’t need the ring anymore. I just look at my kids and I know.