Green porch in springfield
Journey

An Unplanned Ending

I don't remember the last kiss, hug, embrace, or touch. I wish I could remember just one. Because at his best he was the most sincere, and caring man. He loved me. I loved him. We had plans. Until we didn't. One day we stopped planning. Life took its course. Throwing curveballs. Job losses. Foreclosure. Ends upon ends. Until our marriage halted.

Then one morning you wake up and everything is changed. The life you thought you had, the way you thought your life would play out, is upended and you are left with two choices: Accept or Deny.

I spoke of that change last night. In the beginning and the end, we had plans. I remember sitting on the porch, in the old wicker chair, left behind by a previous tenant, my feet being held up by the railing. It was a perfect Sunday afternoon. My apartment’s second story made our eyes level with the maple’s branches. The tree just started to leaf out. It was our first spring. My smile was constant and genuine. I did not want him to leave, but I knew Sunday meant his exit was near.

That was the day that he started to talk about marriage, which at first I laughed off. Waving him off, with comments that I’d been there and done that. His tone shifted. He was serious. He was making plans. I was a part of the plan. We were the plan.

Years passed, and I became frustrated with the lack of a plan. Where were we headed? When would we feel secure? Would we ever? And one night, I apologized for not being the person I thought I should be, and I learned how he coped with my absence.

I planned for the exit. He was surprised, in denial, and then remorseful arguing and convincing me to change the plan. I did. I canceled the exit. I went along with his plan until one day I found him not abiding by it. The exit was back on, then it might be off again if he accepted a different plan. This one would require his buy-in. This one was the toughest plan of all.

He saw them pull up, cursed me, avoided the driveway and exited through the north gate. Quickly, swiftly, briskly, I am sure I could find countless adverbs to describe his speed and temperament that Sunday morning. The cars pulled up, the family poured out, each person with their letter in hand, converged on our home, the place where we made plans, all of us planned to tell him that we loved him, that we supported him, that we believed in him. But it didn’t go as planned.

My brother in law ran after him. Hours passed. It started to snow. The landscape was stark. The chill deep. It looked raw outside. I thought of him walking the streets, with nary a jacket, his hands would be raw from the cold. The phone rang. I followed the interventionist’s instructions. We spoke. His father told me I was terse. I stood in the kitchen. The room where he carefully removed the old wallpaper and sanded the walls, and prepped them so I could paint and paper them once again. I bawled. I shook. My sisters held me. What would I tell our daughter? She didn’t know the plan.

I don’t remember the last kiss, hug, embrace, or touch. I wish I could remember just one. Because at his best he was the most sincere, and caring man. He loved me. I loved him. We had plans. Until we didn’t. One day we stopped planning. Life took its course. Throwing curveballs. Job losses. Foreclosure. Ends upon ends. Until our marriage halted.

That bitter cold fall Sunday morning he exited. It wasn’t what we planned. It didn’t matter anymore. There was no denying it. There was one thing left to do. Accept that it was over. There would be no more plans. It was the end.

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