this is real

I used to not know what it meant to laugh and cry at the same time. I mean, exactly the same time, not one bleeding into the other. Several weeks ago, Ryan and I sat in our car, at the top of our city, in the dark. We had been talking and crying for hours. We’d seen the sun set in the side mirrors, and watched the light fade quickly after, and now we couldn’t see anything clearly, just the faint outlines of our faces. We joked about how pathetic we were. I told him I wanted Oprah, and Yoda, and Dr. Phil, and the Dalai Lama to all emerge from the bushes and tell us what to do, and even Dr. Oz so he could tell us what to eat (“and show us a penis,” Ryan added) and maybe this is not that funny, but it struck me as impossibly funny in that moment and I started laughing and crying at the same time, my chest heaving, my face wet. The sound was insane. Ryan asked me if I was okay, and I was not. Neither of us are. I feel like someone has hollowed me out with a giant pumpkin scraper, like someone died, like I am dying. A couple of nights later, he recorded a series of voice mail greetings. The boys were in bed. It was late. We’d been crying, again, for hours. He lay on the floor, I lay on the couch. Strewn all around us were shoes, backpacks, video games, socks, comic books, wrappers, essays I need to grade, unfolded laundry. “My life is unraveling…leave a message!” “Everything is slipping away…leave a message!” We are devastated. There is nothing funny about it, but we laugh out of desperation, I guess.

He is my best friend. We made two beautiful, amazing little boys, whom we both love so much. He saved my life so many years ago. He is a good person. I am, I hope, a good person.

Our marriage is over. Our marriage is over. This is real.

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