When Cavanaugh and I left for New Mexico in January, I had no idea I’d be coming back to the end of my marriage. Mike came to pick us up at the airport and I did a triple take. Is that him? I wondered, looked back again at this man in a gray hoodie, with ear buds in, and jeans I’d never seen. It wasn’t the outfit though. He just didn’t look like himself.
That was five months ago and we have been slowly separating our time, our things. We’ve stopped asking very personal questions like How are you? Details of our days, who we’ve seen, what we’re working on are not asked for or offered.
Now, I’m leaving, with our son, first for Seattle, then for Taos. Cavanaugh’s godfather says we need long pants. It’s 40 – 70 degrees there. They had the heater on today. I have been imagining Cavanaugh and I taking buses to Gasworks Park, the Fremont Troll, maybe the zoo. We’ll take ferries to Whidbey Island and Port Townsend. We’ll get to live in another world for a week.
Then we’ll come back to this house, that will hopefully have new carpet and exterior touch-ups. If the house looks okay, I’ll spend the week preparing for at least a month in Taos. I’ll depersonalize the house: put the photos in boxes, wrap the art in blankets, pack the altar so potential buyers won’t be put off by our taste, spiritual leanings, or anything else they might find out about us from our book titles or the brand of shampoo left in the shower.
So this trip to Seattle isn’t quite the beginning of our new life. It’s just a brief reprieve from dismantling this old one. High adventure with loved ones in cooler weather. Considering the A/C is out in my car and it’s been near 100 here all week, I don’t know what we’ll do with ourselves. Wear PJs and cuddle, bundle up to explore the city. Have fun.
I’m just not quite sure how we come back to Austin and get ready for the next leg. It’s not like we’re leaving town forever, but we’ve been counting down last times this week. Cavanaugh was with his nanny for the last time on Friday. Tomorrow is the last play-date with Aidan. Tonight was the last time his dad will put him to sleep. And we don’t really know for how long.
So even though it’s not permanent, Cavanaugh and I are saying a lot of goodbyes. Goodbye to the cool colors our house was painted. Goodbye to the carpet. And, though I absolutely intended this, a new kind of goodbye to Mike, the kind of separation we just can’t get as long as we see each other every day, as long as he and Cavanaugh are drawing maps in what used to be our family living room.
I look forward to big adventure this summer: going on our first long road trip just the two of us, a multi-year high school reunion, camping. I like adventure. But I hate change. I hate goodbyes. Especially this goodbye to the person I thought I would live with forever. Even though the divorce is best for us all. This tearing down our old life so we’ll have room to build something new just feels like destruction right now. And all the packing lists I can write won’t keep me from feeling like I’m missing something.
Trips always make me sentimental, full of separation anxiety, more in touch with the leaving than the getting there. How do you feel on the cusp of traveling? Excited? Anxious? Something else?