Mr. Ex needed closure. After I told him I was moving to another state and further told him there was someone else, he wanted my stuff out of the house. I get that. He wasn’t vicious about it, just insistent. Again, I think he needed closure. And so did I.
The timing was not great because life here and at home is still complicated–not only my life, but the life of my Someone Else. At the end of a harrowing week and after five days hunkered down in our new apartment with bare walls and no furniture, he and I found ourselves in a car driving east on the thruway to pick up my stuff.
But really it was going to be more than that. Not only were we going to get my clothes, some furniture, many lamps and a few books, but this was also an opportunity to show my Someone Else a peek into my life and family.
For weeks the skies over my new home were a shade of gray but on Friday the sun was out and the further we drove from our apartment, the better both of us seemed to feel. Maybe it was the tunes, my Someone Else has a great selection on his ipod, including ancient bluesmen, obscure bluegrass, and even a little Sinatra. I have to say the miles felt good.
But it also had something to do with the mission. Then, I thought it was all about getting my stuff and getting Mr. Ex off my back. But really I think it was about moving forward.
At 10 pm my little village is dark and fast asleep. But the lights were still on at J’s house, so we pulled in the driveway and went inside. What’s great about coming home is that after weeks of getting beat up for our newfound relationship we found people who opened their arms to it and gave us a hug.
This was also the first introduction of my Someone Else to my kids and it came at 10:15 at night after six hours and 400 miles on the road. He was already nervous and has enough on his mind about his own kids, but he looked them in the eye and said hello.
A few minutes with J and the kids and we were gone, off to the house that was once full of hope but now does not feel like home. How do you split up the possessions of a 20 year marriage? I guess it can be simple. We walked through the house, took a quick inventory, and started packing until 3 am.
Mr. Ex provided the alarm clock the next morning, a text at about 6:30 am, wondering what time we would be done, so he could come back home. We rolled out of bed, ran out for coffee, then got busy packing and moving. My friend S brought the boxes and an uncanny know-how of how to fill them. It all went pretty quick. Her soon-to-be-ex husband R was a big help loading the truck with an impossibly long couch and the armoire that left my Someone Else with a bruised rib while trying to get it down the narrow antique stairwell.
In the middle of all this, Mr. Ex shows up. I think he just wanted to meet this guy who has taken me off to another state, happily away from him. They were polite and even shook hands, while I was distraught. This was not a meeting I had anticipated. It seemed like it took forever for him to leave, but it all seemed to work out for the best. Mr. Ex even said my Someone Else was a nice guy, and my Someone Else even stuck up for him when I was browbeating Mr. Ex about the house not being clean in my absence.
After about four hours, a few tense moments, bruises, and aching muscles, we were packed and ready to head home. But there was something else we had to accomplish, a more formal meeting between my three boys and my Someone Else. We went to my son’s basketball game, where Mr. Ex and my Someone Else sat together and talked about football. What the hell is that all about?
After the game, we went to lunch. Me, my three boys, and my new guy. They interacted with Mr. Someone Else but still acted like teenagers…oh joy!
After lunch we brought them home and I walked into my home, the last time I would enter as a resident. I hugged them goodbye, called for Mr. Ex who did not answer me, he was in the shower, so I left. He called me later and told me he was upset and I said I was sorry. My Someone Else was driving the loaded truck and I was in my full car.
10 minutes into our trip home, a state trooper pulled up behind me, lights flashing, but not for speeding. It seems that the last number on my license plate was covered by dirt and he stopped me so I would clean it off. You know this is not a complaint about the state trooper, because there was an Amber Alert in the area and they were looking for somebody who looked just like me.
One beautiful sunset, seven hours and four stops later, we got home to our quiet apartment. The moon shining brightly through our windows, we poured a glass of wine and reflected on the previous 34 hours. And what did we learn?
Probably that moving forward is more than moving furniture, saying goodbye, and driving home. Moving forward is also about healing hearts, cleaning up messes, and walking into a new apartment with your old stuff under a moonlit sky with your special Someone.