The Long Goodbye
How many nights like these now?
Gut-wrenching silent sobbing so hard that it aches the body and makes it hard to breathe. That fierce flash of physical in you pain that fires down the middle. The heart center. The broken heart. Makes me understand in full why the call it so. It goes still. And there have already been so many nights of letting go. But there must still be some tangle of hope holding the rest in there because come another night, even weeks further away fro the last, it emerges again.
I say emerges because it has clearly been pushed down deep. Shoulders up. Marching forward. Tough as fuck while all the while the heart is breaking even now.
We were married, you know.
Not the white wedding kind with pretty flowers and even prettier but mostly empty promises.
We had walked a year through the fire of the destruction of our respective pasts and thought that we had passed into the future’s possibilities.
It was a simple commitment. To stay. Made of a ring of tin wrapped and bound by my own hand which bled while I did it. The can was sharp and I was in an unlit place where trees and starts abounded and my feet had walked barefoot in solitude for 10 days before he came to me in my wild place. That place where I felt that I could be me and we met as equals in simplicity and silence from the noise and hum of the others moving through us in our worlds.
I was ready fro him then. And so I gave it to him. The word “play” just barely visible with the eagle’s head as a promise.
So we married and we left it and we let our lives continue as we spoke of dreams and wishes while we kept the pace and responsibilities neat.
It always interfered.
The intent and actions of others. Like a mist that would not quite lift in full. But we fought on determinedly and bravely. Perhaps naively as well until, one night, I simply said, “Maybe we should move in together.”
He leapt to his feet instantly and said, Yes.”
It was right and it was time. And my son was overjoyed. He wanted to stay right there and have us start our new life together at that very moment.
Yes. We were “married.” Although some may say only engaged since a signature and a ceremony is usually required for such an event. Neither of us ever stood much on signatures or ceremonies.
A week later my ex-husband made the insinuation. A week and a day to be exact. A simple, slight insinuation that grew into a lie that he could not take back.
Six months now. How many nights like this? As my lover drifted further. Distanced by my attempt to protect him and my fear of my relationship being used to take my child. My fears. All of them returned.
It is over now. My “marriage”. My engagement. My partnership. We could not withstand the storm that we found ourselves alone in. Isolated from each other in thought as much as body.
Crying hard always gives me a headache. I hope it stops soon.
We were a family.
Destroyed under the less than watchful eye of the Captain of the FCS no less. She said no trauma visible and no apparent threat. So she would leave it – with the careful guidance of the person making the allegation. He’s convincing. How convincing.
I said, “No! You can’t. This can’t be allowed to happen.” I told my story again. Threatened media exposure. A child losing someone they loved? Us losing someone we loved? An innocent man left with such an allegation hanging over him? Sorry. No.
When was that? Two months ago? Three months? How many nights of this can a heart bear until it is petrified and dead? I’m dead inside mostly. Until it emerges again. And again. How many nights?
And does it matter now because we didn’t make it after all.
But that was the point, right?
My god. What a game. With an 8 year old as the pawn.
The Captain of the Family Crime Unit. And I told her. The truth. And I asked for help. All of them. The police. Child Protection. Children’s Court. Domestic violence, I said. Covert. Subtle. Devastating. But look. No black eyes. So no. We won’t investigate. We will watch a family being destroyed. And do nothing.
“Oh – mommy’s so thin,” she said.
It is not intentional, Captain of the FCS. I am trying to present my own case in our public system and waiting my turn. Some days I do not have time to eat. Some days I do not have money to eat. But I never told her this, of course. Stunned into silence by the judgment and assumptions.
No, Captain of the FCS. Just because I refuse to act like a victim – does not make me less of one. I have fought this battle for ten years on my own. I have learned skills and tools. I have used 12 step meetings for support and guidance to survive this. I have battled my demons and found sobriety. I have continued to be accountable for my shit and learned to listen and grow.
That makes a person fucking strong.
But I cry at night, Captain of the FCS. Because you sit and watch a family being destroyed and judge me by appearance only. You believe a cool and cunning liar as I watch my son get hurt over and over again by the very system put in place to protect him.
How may nights until a heart is no longer a heart? Just a piece of rock heavy with the despair of a world bent on walking on by.
One more tonight.
How many more?
And does it even matter when love has been dismantled and dreams and lives have been discarded by time and complacency?
I will get up tomorrow to be there for my son again. I will drift numbly through the day while the cogs of the machine turn slowly.
How many more nights are there of this night?