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17-Jul-2017 10:35

One day, I found a piece of a red floral patterned pottery plate, tumbled by the tides over time, and every time I returned to that small beach, I found another small shard of that same pattern.

I was picking up the pieces, trying to find a way to restore the whole.

I finished the novel on December 15th, and the same day ended the lease on the small apartment. He welcomed me home with open arms, and I felt overwhelmingly guilty.

I had tried to call the tiny apartment home, but knew that my real home was with my family. How could I have risked this marriage, wounded my husband in such a dramatic way, endangered my children’s emotional well-being by not being there seven days a week? My “marriage sabbatical” could easily be written off as a mid-life crisis, and probably has all the trappings of such. I can’t imagine the track my life would have taken if I had just continued going through the motions, doing the things society expects of us, that we expect of ourselves.

The children of course came first; the health of the marriage was assumed. We didn’t really do anything to keep our love alive save the rare trip to celebrate an anniversary where we sat around with tropical drinks and talked about the kids.

We had lost the “us,” and we didn’t even realize it. I had a hysterectomy, experienced complications like unrelenting migraines, and was forced to leave the regional magazine editor job I loved and had finally acquired when the kids were old enough.

We reluctantly told family members about the separation, though we were vague about details; my working on the book was a helpful excuse. I determined I had probably always been bisexual, I’d just never had a chance to explore that side of myself.

And so began my brief but significant journey as a single woman. I went back home every Sunday night so I could be there when my estranged husband flew out the next morning, and he and I (despite the restrictions of the legal paperwork) physically reconnected.

I ate Slim Jims (which were three for a dollar at the country store) and worked on the novel. I rode a bike everywhere, searched for sea glass on the island’s few remaining shores.

My husband and I started talking on the one day a week we saw each other.