One Friday night my husband turned off the TV. It was always on in the evening, so why on earth turn it off? An ominous sign if there ever was one. Also, at that moment he’d been extremely silent for a full week already. I had tried to put it down to stress about his first-ever promotion at work. Ironically, I had even jokingly suggested to a colleague that if him getting promoted meant me having to put up with this silence for the rest of my life, I’d certainly have to try and trade in this husband for a more talkative version.
So the TV was off, and he gravely turned to me and asked me whether I thought we were still happy as a couple, obviously suggesting something was wrong. Typically, in a threatening situation my mind starts rambling, going in all sorts of wrong directions. So my heart jumped and I vehemently but mistakenly nodded (or rather shook) my head in agreement, thinking he’d want to talk about the stressful situation at work. His silence and the sleepless nights however didn’t have anything to do with moving up the career ladder but rather with moving down one step on the marital one: he wanted a divorce.
The best way to describe the impact of that unhappy twist in the conversation is that stability would be a thing of the past, for now at least: all of a sudden I was catapulted from “we’re working on it” into what felt like dreaded teendom with all its uncertainties and intrigues and awful competition and waiting for the one and falling in and out of love and hooking up with the wrong guy. We’ve all been there and I wasn’t exactly planning on going back there, but what do you do? The TV was off.
One valuable piece of advice I got from a friend is that however much you love your husband and however hard it will seem to leave him after thirteen years of looking out for one another (unemployment, depression, chemotherapy… we’d been through it all), biting the bullet and moving out after you’ve split up is best done fast. Very fast.
We shared the house for another extremely nerve-racking week and when he hadn’t managed to move out within nine days I picked up my dignity and whatever I’d be needing for the next two months and left with our dog, my bicycle, an unhealthy dose of chocolate and of course a collection of lovely dresses that I predicted (correctly so) would come in handy. Even the day of the move itself I’d paid attention to what I was wearing, not because he was around (he wasn’t) but just because the situation was not going to kill my self-esteem. So looking all sexy (not my words) I arrived at my friend’s place where I’d be staying for the first weeks of my adventure.
Fluffy Gérard and I would be moving across countryside and city after at least six of my friends had invited me over (thank you, I love you guys!). Those and other friends kept calling and texting me to support me, coming over for a walk when I needed to get it all off my chest, preparing the best comfort food one could wish for, sipping Yogi tea, the little cards of which predicted an enchanting future, and laughing over the suggestions of the freshly installed app that would introduce me (not ever!) to a prospective lover (the strangest one being the local police officer who’d just been around to investigate the body on the railroad tracks across the road). It all quickly evolved into a very positive thing.
The pink button on the right will reveal part 2 of my story.