New Year’s Eve 2013 marked a huge turning point in my journey to divorce. I didn’t know then how significant that evening or the morning after would be for my marriage. I didn’t even fully understand it’s significance as the events were occurring. But, looking back, maybe those 24 hours were truly the beginning of the end. Most people would say “the beginning of the end” was when they found out their husband was cheating on them. Not me. I waited four extra months to come to that conclusion. I Pollyanna’d my way through as long as I could.
I was working the day of New Year’s Eve. As was my ex-husband. That evening he was invited (due to his work) to be in Time Square with special seating to watch the ball drop. He did not invite me to go with him. I don’t even remember his reasoning. Maybe he didn’t have one. He just didn’t want me there…which sounds about right. Of course, I would have LOVED to have seen the ball drop. Who wouldn’t? I’m sure it’s one of those dream experiences that most people have on their bucket list. And to be able to see it without waiting all day long in the frigid New York City winter cold would have been the cherry on top. But I digress, he was going to a fancy shin dig in Time Square. I was not. Even more disheartening than the fact that he didn’t want me with him was the realization that we wouldn’t be ringing in the New Year together. 2014 was supposed to be the year we healed our marriage. We should be together. Didn’t he know that? To appease me he said he would leave his party as soon as the ball dropped. We would meet up at our apartment at 1:00am and have champagne and celebrate the New Year for the central time zone. Oddly enough, that logic satisfied me. At this point I was taking any bone he would throw my way.
Upon hearing my New Year’s predicament; my unbelievably gracious friends, Tiffany and Brittany, came up with a plan. The three of us would have dinner together and then go to a party being thrown by another friend of our’s. We would be each other’s dates and have a grand time. God love them. Sometimes I look back and wonder what my friends were thinking. They must have thought I was insane for holding on as long as I did, yet they were always there. Supporting my decision to fight for a marriage that wasn’t worth saving. Going out of their way to plan an evening so I wouldn’t be alone. Listening to another terrible excuse of why it was ok that my ex-husband didn’t want me around. They are true gems. There isn’t a gift basket out there large enough to properly thank them. So, here we are. Three gals all dolled up, eating an enormous amount of Chinese food, ready to take on the New Year.
We truly did have a wonderful evening. Our friend, Lisa, throws a great party. Great food. Great humans. Great conversation. Even great party games. We played a game where you wrote down what you loved, liked, and hated about 2013 on post it notes and stuck then on the wall. By the end there were post it notes all over her apartment. For me, it was a wonderful reminder of my blessings and a huge wake up call to not take what I hated about 2013 into 2014 with me. This madness had to end. This was no way to live. I vowed to start getting serious about saving my marriage.
I was excited to get home. To start the New Year off right. I left the party with Brittany and Tiffany shortly after midnight. They walked me home. They took a cab back to Queens. They are literally some of the best humans I know. I went upstairs to my apartment and waited. And waited. I remember “the waiting” being agonizing. I waited a lot in those days. Waiting could mean a plethora of different events were occurring. None of them good. The longer I waited, the worse the offense. Even now, “waiting” is a huge part of my divorce PTSD. When I have to wait to hear from someone I always imagine something terrible has happened. Sometimes I’ll even become physically sick while waiting. My mind immediately jumps to the absolute worst case scenario…because I know the possibilities of what could be happening while I’m waiting. My waiting anxiety is a flaw that I try to keep hidden, but somehow runs my life. I hope that goes away someday.
He did come home. Much later than he promised. Much drunker than he promised. And in the morning that followed I realized my goal of 2014 wasn’t to save my marriage, it was to save myself.
John 1:5 “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”