I stared at her incredulously. To think that I didn't understand her situation after years of doing nothing but discussing her situation--how could I not understand her situation? I mean, that's what all these meetings and emails and texts have been about, right? Understanding her situation? I might be the only person on the planet that did understand her situation.
"Have you known me to be more wrong or right when it comes to decisions about us?"
She paused, knowing the answer, but afraid of where saying it might lead. "Right."
"You, yourself, have said that you made a huge mistake in our past when you didn't take me up on my offer to figure it all out, together, as a team--figure out this connection that we have--before you got married. You've even said that you made the wrong decision by actually getting married, right?"
"Yes," the affirmation slipped from her lips with only meager conviction.
"And," I continued, my frustration bubbling to the surface, "Do you remember when I advised you to be proactive about contraception the first time you confided in me about how terribly your husband was treating you? Do you?"
She shook her head up and down this time, without speaking, and without an ability to look me in the eyes.
"And what happened?"
"I got pregnant," she said.
"You know I have nothing against your kids."
"This isn’t about them." I gently placed my hand on her chin and pulled her face back up to mine. "This is about you."
Her face came up to mine, but she struggled to control her eyes, which had welled up with tears. "But it is about them," she pleaded with her own frustration. "It is. If I leave, I impact generations of my family."
"Do you think maybe I know you better than you know yourself right now?"
Hearing my words released her tears. Her hand shook as it wiped away and her voice cracked as she replied in the affirmative.
I knew that I had to hit her with my point before I lost her to emotion. "You don't see your pattern. You don't see the thing that you do over and over again, and you definitely don't see that it never changes anything. In that regard, it does impact your kids--it makes it harder for them to discover the truth because they have no example from which to model it after."
At the mention of the word pattern, I triggered a memory for her of a conversation that we'd recently had about my own pattern. "You're not you in your marriage. You never have been." It was something that I'd said to her many times before. "And, this role that you're being forced to play has nothing to do with decision-making and everything to do with the lack of it. Look at me."
"You don't make decisions in your relationship. You let the decisions make themselves."
Her look of confusion turned to understanding.
I put my hands around hers and continued, "And that's exactly what you're doing again. This thing that you call 'contemplation' is simply a ruse for not actually making a decision. Just when I'd helped you discover the voice of your heart--and I had so much hope for you, so much hope--that no matter what happened, at least you'd make your decision with your head and your heart involved. Right?"
Her chin had dropped to her chest once more.
"That was the plan, right?” I asked.
She moved her hand to squeeze one of mine, which confirmed her answer.
"Your heart is gone. I don't know where it went, but it's gone. You're back in your goddamn head, probably because I haven't been around to constantly coax your heart into the open. I thought that we'd made progress. When you cried for two weeks about having to endure the possibility of a few months without me, I really thought you'd finally discovered the energy and the strength that's been locked inside of your heart."
I let go of her hands, stood up, and left her sitting along in the middle of the room. "Your contemplation is how you hide from having to make a decision. If you couldn't keep your heart open after all that we shared this past winter, then you aren't ready for true love. And, honestly, you may never be ready for true love. These 'couple of years' that you think you need to figure it all out will turn into twenty years and, seriously, you've already wasted a decade by thinking. Thinking gets you nowhere at all. But, you can sit there in the middle of your lonely room and think all you want because I'm done. Goodbye."
I walked out, without looking back, and closed the door behind me. I didn't want to see what the realization of an entire life without me would do to her, as much as I didn't want to see what it was going to do to me. But, she hadn't left me any choice in the matter. My life was at stake. The darkness drew nearer each day, slowly and surely. Up to this point, I'd used anger to stave it off, but anger was rotting my hope just as quickly as cancer destroys a body. In the worst shape of my life, mentally, physically, and emotionally, I was going to battle The Black. I already knew that most never returned from that battle--artists, writers, philosophers, in their desperate desire to understand the darkness, they'd all fallen victim to a disease found in the bottom of a bottle or a needle or in depression. I'd said my goodbye. No hand-written letters would find me where I had to go. This was either the beginning, or the end.