Marshall and I found a bench on the sidewalk, old and abandoned. We brought it home, where I sprayed it with Simple Green until it was almost white, then tied two blue-patterned cushions to it.Seven years of marriage and our home is coming together in bits and pieces like the bench, or the curtains I sewed even though I can’t really sew. At the same time, it is all falling apart, in monstrous, heavy clumps. An avalanche. A tidal wave. I don’t know how much is left to rebuild.
Before Marshall fled the house tonight, before I began pacing, before I drank the wine, we sat on the porch. He stared at me, waiting for signs of life. I sat hunched on the new bench, staring at the floorboards. It had been days since we’d spoken to one another, except for me saying, “I’m having trouble being in this house with you,” and “I can’t talk. You won’t like what I have to say.” So we stayed silent instead.
But tonight he sat on the rocking chair next to the bench. The breeze that blew between us was warm. And I thought about how it couldn’t have been a more perfect summer night if it weren’t for this rot between us. He stared at me until I had to look at him.
There is no right or easy or good way to say that maybe you don’t want to be married. So I spit out tiny fragments of sentences followed by quiet sobs and shallow breaths that rattled in my chest. I talked about being a better parent when I’m alone, about disappointment, about resentments that have been coming and going then jolting me so hard that I know, at least in that moment, I’ve given up.