About a month after we were married, I started to notice some changes in Hubby. Just subtle shifts. Little things. But they worried me. He seemed to be pulling away, withdrawing.
Then came the weekend that he packed a bag, said he was going to the Big City to hang out with people he used to work with. And I wasn't invited. Those were all the details I got. He disappeared. Didn't come home. Wouldn't answer his phone. Just gone.
Then came the weekend he looked me in the eye, told me the worst kind of lie, and drove away.
Then all hell broke loose.
And it stayed loose for a long time.
Hubby was at the start of the breakdown that, unknown to me, had been years in the making. He was shutting down, pulling away, turning into someone I didn't want to know.
I was falling apart at the seams trying to keep everything together. I lost 30 pounds in the blink of an eye; wasn't eating, sleeping; was barely functioning.
So much, too much, was coming to the surface. Lies (and lies and lies and lies), hidden pieces, self-centeredness, inability to love.
There was too much yelling, too much fighting, too much crying, too much silence.
There were so many times it felt like he was doing thing specifically to try and get me to leave. And I kept say that if he wanted this to end, he would have to do it.
And then one day I said "Five years. I'll give it five years. If things are not markedly better by our fifth year, I'm leaving and you won't see me again." What I meant was "I cannot do this, cannot live like this for one more day, one more minute and I want to leave right now this very second." Five years was the life raft I threw out to myself.
And then came rock bottom. In a horrid whisper-scream and a flood of tears. And I saw everything in a new light. How can you know anything but to lie when that's all you've ever seen? All you've ever known? All you've ever been shown?
Hubby wanted help. And he wanted to talk, and he wanted me there so that he wouldn't tell lies. And I heard things that made me sad and angry and horrified, all in equal measure. Things I couldn't believe, things I didn't want to believe. Things I had to believe. Because they were true.
And little by little, in tiny baby steps, things started to get better.
Hubby had to make unbelievably hard choices. He worked every day to become the person he wanted to be. He had so much to learn, so much to do.
It was hard. It is hard.
There are still issues. Of course there are. I'm sure there always will be. But they are hurdles to jump over, not mountains to claw over.
Today is our fifth anniversary.
The only bag I have packed is my purse. Because we are going out to celebrate this small miracle of a day.
Five years seems to have gone by so quickly, and it seems to have been a hundred years long.
We've both changed almost immeasurably.
But there is no one else I'd rather pass the time with.