I ran away from home the other day. No, I didn’t leave with my coloring books and a Barbie. I went in my car, with my purse, the clothes on my back and nothing else. I didn’t have a plan; I just escaped. The kids were in school, my spouse at work, the dog sleeping on the bed. I left the tears I cried behind closed doors. I abandoned daily doubts. I withdrew from the early bedtime because there was nowhere else to go. I didn’t know when or if I was coming back, just that I needed to get out.
After several hours passed and I wasn’t home yet, my husband checked for clues. He sat at his computer, checked our email and his phone. He’s watched enough crime shows; that is all he does at home. But it still took him eight hours to sit at my computer and look at my browsing history. He opened seemingly unrelated, unimportant links of WordPress themes, google docs, documents relating to my work. It didn’t matter; he visited them all.
An often viewed site popped up in the history, each with different statements as the header. I write on Grammarly, an editing tool. I use it for work and personal use. He opened the app and saw the menu of items I had started but not finished yet. The headlines were telling and offered a smattering of clues:
Entries that might have been for my blog titled “Sometimes I want to run.” “I am the unfeeling mom, and you can be too.” “Password protected charge cord.” “While looking for a job, I found my values.”
But then, he looked at the dates and saw my withdrawal had been going on for some time. Negativity previously peppered throughout became the sand; the overwhelming theme – he started to see my thought process: “Woman goes bald from over-volunteering.” “When multi-tasking veers off course and into a ditch.” “I’m unhappy.” “The things you think, but do not say.” “What would it look like, if I wasn’t here?”
Writing is my therapy; it is what I do when I need to think things through, am desperate to vent – want to scream.
My husband doesn’t write unless work requires it. He doesn’t read for pleasure. He’s had the same book by his nightstand for years. We joke that he keeps it there to bug me. Ironically it is a personal development book by Spencer Johnson called, “Who moved my cheese?”
Guessing I might log in to my account from my phone, he started a new entry titled “Why I can’t do this without you.”
“I’m desperate for you to read this so you’ll know I can’t do this without you. I’m not talking about the work, the everyday parenting, the laundry, scooping up dog poop. Well, that I can do without you because you don’t like picking up poop.”
“I can’t do this life without you.”
“When I’m rational about a decision we have to make for our family, I need you to give me your emotional reasons, your fighting spunk. If the kids need positive thinking, a cheerleader in their corner, we need you – the only person who can bring genuine goodness that props us up. Your competitive spirit and driven personality are what attracted me to you so long ago, and I would miss having your passionate approach to life – it is the air that I breathe.”
And then he wouldn’t be able to finish it, because it requires emotions he can’t bring himself to voice because that isn’t him.
I wish he would attempt to say something, anything at all, but he hasn’t. So, I ran away.
This author has chosen to publish her piece anonymously.