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Dan left me today. I knew I lost him for quite a while. But even without the passion, our marriage seemed to work well. We had no major fights; we would still go out together, have friends at our house. It felt pretty normal for our age.

Today he left me for Julia, his high school sweetheart. His sister once told me they were madly in love in high school, and afterwards in college. She told me: “I’m so glad Dan met you. I was afraid he will never recover after his break with Julia.”

Dan did not talk much about it, but from his brief stories on that phase of his life, I realized he would never stop loving her. It was hard on me, as I constantly felt competing with her. After we had our first child, I thought it went away. She stopped calling him for his birthdays, and I hoped she finally found someone else to love.

Years later however, at their 20-years reunion, it hit me: they were still very much in love with each other. Maybe they were not aware of it, just yet, but I could see it. I did not know what to do. Could not go competing with her again. A fight felt useless.

I never knew if, after the party, they met again. Dan looked happier to me and started spending more time with the boys. I was suspicious for a while, and then chose not to think about it anymore. Poor choice, I guess.

This morning he said: “ Linda, we have a problem. Let’s talk”. I thought: “Oh God, the water pump or something has broken, I’ll have to wait for the plumber. Who is going to drive the kids to school? I’m having this meeting today, I’m going to be late”.
He broke my thoughts and said: “I want to divorce.”
My mind went blank. I could only feel the adrenaline wave taking over. Run away, run away. I was not hearing him anymore. I think he said: “I’m in love with someone else, and I can’t hide. I can’t live like that anymore”. Anymore? Anymore?? I remember getting up and saying: ”OK”, leaving the room and taking refuge in the bathroom.

I turned on the water, crawled in on the shower floor. Water, sweet and salted, pouring on my face. He knocked on the door: “Honey, are you OK?”
“Go away!” I screamed. The kids were up by now. Brian knocked on the door: “Mom, are you done? I need to use the bathroom”.
God, do I have any place left, just to be? I got rid of my wet clothes, put on my bathrobe, and got out with a towel rubbing my face. Maybe Brian and James won’t see my pain. Not today.

Dan was still there. “Should I drive the kids?” he asked; “Yes, no, I don’t know. No, no. Just go now!” I said. I heard the door shut 10 years of my life. Done, in a millisecond!

I took the boys to school and got back home. Nothing changed, but it felt much emptier. I ran out, wanted to go by the beach. Have the ocean soothe me. Ironic enough I ran into Julia. She said: “How are you? Dan, the kids?” Her voice was sad. Mad as I was, I could feel her pain. It wasn’t she, I figured. I laughed some pain away: “We're fine Julia. Just fine.”

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by Thea

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