I had been quiet for well over a month-running from deep conversations, hiding behind emails that could deny emotion and the deep choking feeling that was my sadness. I worked in my basement studio surrounded by children, wise and tender, who asked painful- almost omniscient questions, “are you married?”, and “where is your husband?” I lied to these lovely creatures, telling myself that I was protecting them from worrying about their own families. Truth was I could barely get through those early days without crying intervals which I would allow, like sweets after a workout, as a reward for getting through my classes.
My story trickled out with painstakingly slow speed and the silent deafening hum of a leaky basement faucet. This was the first time in my life that I have ever wished for quick and thorough gossip. The telling for me was a very hard part.
For an intensely private person there is no hiding from the eventual telling of your separation. Your status changes overnight. A new box to tick, an empty finger, a new prefix. You have no choice but to be public. But I had needed to wait to be strong enough to share my story with those who did not deserve my tears. It was one thing to cry with your best friend but quite another to sob uncontrollably with the neighbourhood crossing guard.
Sharing the truth of my failed marriage was the presenting of a whole bouquet of dead flowers. All the promise, beauty and innocence in that bridal bouquet was now an eerie, foul smelling assortment of weeds. The flowers are not dead on their own-we forgot to water it, it got sick from us, there was something unbeautiful, unwell about us and we poisoned it. I loathed its sour smell of failure.