It wasn’t supposed to happen this way.
When I left, when I said goodbye, you knew I would come back. That I would crawl back like a prodigal wife who learns the error of her ways and with your forgiving heart to count on, we would pick up our lives from where we left off. Because, let’s face it, I needed you.
It was a painful goodbye. Pain was the proverbial cross I had to carry as I walked away from you. You were okay with me leaving. Go, you said. Check you out. So intact. So together. So unapologetic even. You piled insults onto the pain I was carrying because, you know what, pain alone was not enough. I had to be insulted too. But, you know what still, that wasn’t enough. My cross needed more weight. So you called those near and dear to you. Together, you ganged up, concocted a good amount of insults and threw them generously my way. I was the thief. I was the villain. I was the devil from hell. Literally. The devil. From Hell. You had been warned against me, you said. Good riddance, you said. I’m not interested in you anymore, you said. So, go.
I wondered what I did to deserve this, but I went nonetheless. Plus, this was not the time to wonder. This was cross-carrying time. I had to step up, bend this back and carry that motherfucker. There was no room for wonder. Only one of two choices is what I had. To carry the cross, or crumble beneath it and die.
So I went. And I carried the cross. Because, what’s a girl to do, huh?
But you were not worried. Life is hard enough as it is. I mean, it’s not like I was aging backward, or anything. Who would even look at me now, right? Then there were the children to think about. And then there is life, which is not a piece of cake.
So where was I going to go, right? There I was. Jobless. I was walking out of a marriage with two children to feed. Two children to send to school. What was I going to do with them, right? Where would I get a job in this economy? You thought about it and it was hilarious. I was your private joke. Go, you said again. This time, bolder. This time surer. In your heart thinking, “Oh, you’ll be back.”
So this goodbye was not supposed to last this long. I’m sorry I dragged it out. I was supposed to not be able to live without you. Sorry about that. You were supposed to go steady with your side chick to teach me the all-important lesson that you are, and always will be, the pants-wearer in our relationship. Women are a headache, you said. A headache you were choosing not to have. For now. After all, no woman is irreplaceable. You were there enjoying life like it should be enjoyed. Because life stops for no one. Least of all a woman who does not recognize her place. So what if I was leaving? I would be back. You were sure of it. You bet on it.
I was supposed to crawl back to you the minute life hit me hard. You were supposed to await me with open arms, ready to forgive me, good man you are, for walking out of my marriage. Then you would make a speech of how I should show you more respect and be more appreciative of you, the pants-wearer. Because, as I was supposed to have found out, life was hard. And you were hard to live without. I was supposed to learn, henceforth, that pants-wearers come home when they please. Pants-wearers need not explain themselves to no one. Not where they’d been, not who was texting them at night, and not why their shirts have lipstick stains on them. I was supposed to fill my little heart with gratitude for having you in my life. To thank my lucky stars that my children have a father and that I’m not like those other desperate ‘single mothers’ out there who can’t keep a man. And what’s up with them anyway? Why couldn’t they keep a man?
If I didn’t come back to you asking to be forgiven, you would give me a little more time. Then one day, when the stars were aligned right and you were bored with your side chick, you would pick up the phone and call me. I was supposed to pick your call the minute you called to tell me that you still loved me. And after that phone call, I was supposed to pack my bags and my babies, announce to the world that I was getting my man back, curtsy to society’s applause of approval, and find my way to your waiting arms. Then I’d get the “I forgive you” speech and the lessons on respect for the pants-wearer.
I know you’re wondering why I won’t pick your calls. Why I won’t respond to your messages of love and missment and willingness to start over again.
Why am I not elated that you’re ready to take me back, dammit.
Maybe it’s because my goodbye wasn’t, goodbye for now until you fall back in love with me again. It wasn’t, goodbye for now until you want me back in your life again. It wasn’t, goodbye for now until you have a crisis in your life and need a shoulder to cry on. It wasn’t, goodbye until your conscience kicks in and smacks you hard across the face. It wasn’t, goodbye until your girlfriend, the one you had an affair with, stops exciting you. It wasn’t, goodbye until she didn’t want you in her life anymore. It wasn’t goodbye until you call me or text me then I’ll come running and pick up from where we left off.
My goodbye was simply goodbye. Not a see you later.
So when you say you still love me, I wonder why you feel the need to share your emotional state with me. I don’t care to be informed when you feel anything. Love, hate, anger, bewilderment. I prefer that you keep it to yourself.
My goodbye was not supposed to last the duration of your disinterest in me. My goodbye was never intended to revolve around you or the happenings in your life.
What can I say? I guess I’m good at goodbye.