You barely whispered it. “I’m getting a divorce.”
You hadn’t slept, that much was clear.
Your hair hung about your face as wild and limp as the fronds of a weeping willow tree.
Weeping — you’d been doing that, too.
Old tears marked your face. Your voice cracked. At that moment, you were broken.
We became friends quickly, you and I. It was kind of inevitable: Two young, goofy, ambitious women who’d take turns to buy the coffee at work, chit-chatting about friends and Friday nights as we cleaned shelves at work.
You lived for your workouts, your dogs, your jobs, and pink drinks on the weekends. You were newly twenty-two, existing out here in this nook of nowhere for your husband; one of us, the thousands of women who moved out to the “dirt,” in the name of love.
It sounds so romantic.
It was romantic, at first.
You fell in love, and remained in love, even when his passion turned into anger and your young skin was smattered with black and blue.
You married this man, this Marine, this monster, and you remained by his side because you wanted to help him, because you understood that marriage is selfless, and often flawed. You stayed, for months, even when you couldn’t understand why he treated you like he did.
We were aimlessly ticking tasks off the list at work when you chit-chatted your way into a confession.
It was so minute, so offhand, but there is was: “He used to hit me. It hasn’t happened in a while.”
I reeled, and stabbed a little too hard at a cardboard box. We shuffled on. I can’t recall what I said, just the egg in my throat, and the flutter of anger in my stomach.
A few weeks later, it was out there.
Divorce. “I’m filing for a divorce.” Your eyes were bloodshot, the remnant of sleepless nights, of emptied bank accounts, of beer-breath and screams.
Months later, you remain. You wake each day, run a brush through your hair, and you get on with life.
You stand tall, you plant one foot in front of the other, and you continue.
You remain out here, your non-home, for work, for friends, for the fact you sculpted a life out of nothing in this pocket of California, three thousand miles from home.
To some, the fact you remained is a surprise…
… to your friends, it’s a reminder of your resilience. You are amazing.