Sincerely, The Choices I Made
Updated: Jan 3
Daniel was gone, a mirage scattering down the highway, rippling away from me as if he had never been here at all. I watched as the plates of his car disappeared, an illegible blur in the distance. I could barely make out the crown of Anna's head, light brown hair pulled into a lopsided ponytail. He refused to leave her; he refused to stay with me. What other choice was there but to let them go? Daniel didn't want me to fight for him, for Anna.
Before everything that happened, the choices I made, I had thought I didn't want to fight for them either. My Anna, yes. I would throw myself into the fire for her, but what if my volition set the fire? I didn't have an answer for that -- until now. The wind whipped out from the force of the car speeding away, spraying gravel and dusted air through my lank, oily hair that my fingers couldn't stop raking through — a distraught repetition of fear.
My heart clenched, tears welling and spilling for my Anna. I did this to her. I cried because it felt like she wasn't mine anymore. Maybe this was my punishment. Only it felt like the beginning of a final ruling; my heart collapsed at the thought, the reality of this new beginning. Not all new beginnings are a fresh and thrilling start to something full of excitement, shivering with the courage to surge forward. Instead, I was falling backward at the precipice of this new start. Falling and fearing I would never get back up.
Daniel had left me. After it all, there was no forgiving. The extent of my deceit, deception, cruelty of the heart, knife in the gut was unbearable to him. His body had revolted at it for weeks. Not sure how to be, what to do, where to go from here. But this morning, he decided. I watched as he threw open suitcases and tore open dresser drawers, leaving them open as if closing them would waste precious time. As if he couldn't get away from me fast enough. He snagged Anna's orange backpack of a hook by the garage door, the face of a monster built into its fabric. The cartoonish smile around the zipper on its small front pocket leered at me, the faded white teeth now a wicked smile grinning with payback where a cute child's character used to be. It wasn't lost on me that I had picked out the orange backpack for her, thinking how adorable and silly it was and how much she would love it. Looking at it now felt like a punch to the throat, knocking the wind out of me.
Daniel didn't stop in his whirlwind exit to give me a chance to hold my Anna, hug her, and tell her I would see her soon. How sorry I was for breaking our family apart. How perfect she is, how she deserves to be loved better. He swooped her up, buckling her in her seat and slamming the car door shut. Before he got into the driver's seat, he paused, looking back at me for a frozen moment. A swarm of emotions raced through his expression, compelling his eyes to express the depth of his pain, so much goddamn pain. I stood there, knowing I should say something. Knowing this was my last chance to stop him from leaving. If there even was a splinter of possibility left.
The words wouldn't come. Maybe there were no words left that mattered; they had all gone lost and couldn't be found. A tear slid out of those beautiful blue eyes, glistening gold around the center. The pain tore through me as it ripped over him and cried down his cheeks, wetting his beard, the neck of his shirt.
And then Daniel was gone.