Dear K

Five years on I’m still crying; I know you’re not worth it but the heart has to catch up cos it still aches.  You did not ‘cheat’ on me per se not in the classical sense, not third person/intruder to blame, just rejection pure and simple, that sucks.  You don’t love me, you still cared but just not in that way; you lied you didn’t give a damn.  That’s how you operate, I know, I slept next to you for 18 years.  Cold, rational, practical as ever, once you decided in your infinite wisdom it was over, I am firmly confined to that compartment in your head marked ‘past’.  You turn your back resolutely to the future and beyond.  No point in feeling a drop of sadness, futile, it didn’t work out but hey ho that’s life one soldiers on.

I envy you the ability to rationalise, shrug it off, see the pointlessness of wasted time and energy on indulgent soul searching.  Where did we go wrong, could we have saved our marriage, how sad that a perfectly happy loving family should be smashed to smithereens by friendly fire with collateral damage; broken heart and screwed up kid switched off from her A levels pretending it is all fine, clearly not.  Not for her pulled down by her dumped middle age mother’s recurring depression and pressing the pause key on Life for the duration.

Your only child had 2 gap years, not travelling the world, seeking adventure and experience, no VSO worthy causes passion ambition working holiday saving money for univ to reduce debt round neck.  Nope, 2 gap years, literally.  A gap, huge black hole in which she fell into the abyss of wallowing suffocating burying depression; she in her room behind closed doors venturing out to scavenge from the fridge freezer, the microwave got overtime bonus, ready meals its best friend and I in my own tiny prison with the window so high up I could not look out in my bedridden state.

Both in a bad place, stuck in the rut, quicksand sinking fast, no one to throw a lifeline to either.  We hardly spoke.  Sometimes she took pity and left food for her mother in the oven.  Other times she just saw to herself.  Mother would creep down at the smell of food cooking in the oven to find an empty warm space and disappointment hurt swallowed up her hunger.  She would creep back up stairs, get back into that perpetual cage of a mattress on the floor, that duvet beginning to smell and push down the feeling of being unloved uncared for.

I sensed anger resentment exuding out of the closed door.  I thought my baby hated me.  Mother depressed yet again.  She has to play the parent and I the child needing to be looked after in every way.  If there was no call of nature I would never have got out of bed.  It felt safe, a hiding place where I got left alone, where I could be me and that was ok.

I did not see the point of getting up.  I had lost the only thing I cared about, my family.  Nothing would get that back.  Everything else paled into insignificance.  They tell me ah but you still have your family, you and your daughter, it is just different.  But I wanted the original, first edition with you and us.  We.  You and I and our baby created out of love and hope.

Did you have any inkling that was how we lived?  Did you care?  You didn’t give a damn about me that was crystal clear but you’d always had a special bond with our daughter.  I was envious and often felt excluded.  You’d always been a great dad, credit where credit is due.  Tragedy is you are not even that now.  You have gone back on your word to pay the rent as part of your contribution as a father forcing me to use up all my house proceeds , the pittance I walked away with;  to show for all those years of devoted service.

You needed your space.  Your perrogative to pursue your own happiness and freedom.  What you were getting out of the marriage was a lot less than what you put in, like a balance sheet as you patiently explained to the heap on the floor ripping up wedding photos.  When you married me you went with the flow, too young, not sure what you wanted.  Good news now you are sure and that is you don’t want me.  Congratulations K.  Talk about kick a person when she is down.

Could you not leave me with a few good memories.  You know like at the beginning when we married and the first few years love was a two way street till the shit started hitting the fan and was so comfortable that it stayed and procreated and moved in the whole family, aunts, uncles, cousins and all.

You want your life back.  I made your life hell, depression, recurrence, you had to support the family alone the times I couldn’t work, yep, I get it.  But did you really have to be so brutal.  Do a total demolition on someone cradling the shattered pieces of her heart having only just recovered from the recurrence.  By the way you were awol during the second half of her journey to hell in the form of chemical weapons fed through her veins.  She saved a lot on shampoo purchase .

This is what I don’t get.  How you can turn your back on a woman you loved and the mother of your only child and delete her from your head, heart and life.  How you could not bear to stand by my hospital bed after I suffered heart failure two years after chemotherapy which had forced my heart to work too hard and become enlarged.  The consultant told me I could have died if the ambulance had not delivered me in time.  Two litres of fluid had collected in my lungs, hence the breathlessness and extreme fatigue.

What I cannot forgive: betrayal, abandonment, lack of humanity, compassion.  The coldness is chilling.  No need to go to the Arctic to experience sub-zero temperatures.  Just look into the eyes of a man you once loved and was going to grow old with, a stranger you no longer recognise even like never mind respect.

I loved you with all my heart.  I will never love like that again.  I will never trust with abandonment no bars hold again.  I am afraid to love, to risk being hurt ever again.  Five long years it has taken me to superglue every minute bits of my smashed trampled heart.  The blood is leaking through the endless cracks.  You have robbed me of my innocence, purity and transformed me into a bitter cynical paranoid fearful middle age divorcee.  I don’t dare trust, believe.  Someone is kind to me, what are they after?  I hate that.  Once I believed the world was a good place, people meant me no harm, being good and kind would ensure a happy life.  Now I aspire to imitate the baddies because they seem to get ahead in the world and have escaped cancer and serious disease.

At least you have a clear conscience and am dignified in your poverty.  I’d rather be sunning myself in the Bahamas sipping cocktails listening to the waves of the ocean with a toyboy by my side.  I was a martyr in my marriage; compensated for your liberal view of budgeting and ensuring our baby was not the poor kid on the block.  I forgo nice clothes, shoes, handbags, all the trappings of a woman.  I worked when I could, looked after the home, the family, childcare, took time off when the kid was ill as your business took precedence over my teaching.  I ran with the pushchair down the road to the childminders before school and did the reverse journey.

Ironically I foolishly thought I was the superglue of the family, an indispensable part, that is why I struggled through the hellish treatment because if I died on the operating table, during chemo, what would they do without me?  My fear was unfounded.  For one I didn’t perish and for another I was surplus to requirements, thrown out with the trash.  They carried on without me perfectly fine.  Life goes on and it did.  Your world has collapsed, you want to die and be swallowed up in the void of nothingness but earth continues to spin round, the sun rise and set …  I have news for you, you are totally insignificant, not even a speck in the vast galaxy.

Why am I telling you all this?  You don’t care you don’t want to know.  You had hoped after all this time I would have moved on, for my own sake.

The hurt goes deep deep into the bowels of my soul, very being.  I cannot hear the roar of a Harley blasting by, the whiff of barbecue smoke in the summer heat, the mention of Holland, windmills, tulips, clogs without an overwhelming sense of sadness and futility, of love squandered and a family demolished because of one man’s selfishness.

Are you happy?  Was it worth it?  Do you sleep well at night?

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About cho wan yau

Teacher by day poet/writer by night. Words have been my first love and will be my last. As a child I locked myself into the toilet devouring books which transported me to distant lands. Poetry shared penned from 2009-2010 in a titanic struggle to stay sane at Heartbreak Hotel. Please check it out on chowanyau@wordpress.com. Any comments or feedback welcome. Why not share your story with me, because we all have one, don't we?

Posted on September 23, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. So heartfelt… I almost wept a little at reading it.
    Five years and still so much pain, I cannot even imagine what you must be feeling. Such terrible burdens you have been given to shoulder, and I wish I could help somehow.
    I said to someone earlier that the sudden, horrifying way that people can sometimes change just really undoes me. It never ceases to shock and amaze me.

    Do you keep in contact with him, incidentally? I assume you must, because of your daughter. Is he truly that cold to you? I cannot understand how or why… After this long you would think he could at least be civil, and at least be a good father to the child created out of love.
    Sigh. I do wish none of us ever had to go through such heartache and hardship 😦

  2. No we have no contact. Occasionally I send him an email just so he doesn’t get too complacent think he has caused all this fallout but escaped unscathed. He never responds, I don’t expect him to. What is there to say? Yes I was/am a bastard. Sorry. He would never admit it cos he is a control freak just like his dad, they have to be right and will argue with you till the cows come home even if it is a proven fact. I thought he was the best male but I was blinded by love.

    I ache, long, miss my family. I am furious he robbed me of the one thing I cared about, disregarding both me and the kid. We have both been damaged in different ways. She didn’t do half as well as she should have in her A levels. I am not a pushy mum but she really did not want to know. She has been forced to grow up before her time. Thank God she has turned out to be a decent compassionate human being. My values must have rubbed off on her. She was taking care of my parents while I was in HK, I am proud of her, willing to go out of her way for family. Not selfish like her dad.

    Thanks for caring. Strangers give a damn, can feel your pain whilst … Proves my point.

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