"Hello, Maya. It's been a long time."
It had been five years since I had said a word to her, since that terrible, awful day when she walked out of my life, our marriage. Five years of pretending to forget her, trying like hell to.
"Are you surprised to see me here? Probably not as surprised as I was when you left me."
Even as the words left my mouth, I knew I was lying. I had known it was coming. Hindsight 20/20 and all that, the signs had been there. She had been distancing herself, withdrawing from me. I had been so busy with work in those months, setting up my new firm, burning the candle. Still, I should have noticed that she wasn't acting her old self.
"I don't want to hear your excuses. It just happened. Bullshit. Maybe, if you had come to me, we could have prevented it."
Who knows if that was true or not? Would I have listened to her? Really listened to her concerns and taken them seriously? I was so busy then, and frankly have never been a great listener. If she had come to me right away, would I have gotten us in to see a professional? Given the way I am, or was, almost certainly not. I would have given her lip-service reassurance, I suppose. Tried to explain away her concerns: we're going through a change; new house, new baby, new city new business for me, and new career as a mommy for you. Still, she didn't let me in until it was too late by far.
I didn't want to listen to her reasons.
I know she had to have felt lonely, vulnerable, alone. Still, it was no excuse; she should have talked to me, rather than kept it inside like that. I never would have expected her to go to another with her problems, fears and concerns, and phase me out. But she did.
"You should have come to me. You shouldn't have turned to him, at least I wouldn't have been so blindsided."
I hated that she went to him behind my back. I never knew I had competition to be her confidante; she let him know about herself while deceiving me, for months.
"You didn't want to be a bother to me? Your husband!?! How'd that work out for you? For me? For us?"
That outburst was probably over-the-top; she had admitted her mistake before she left me admitted that she had been wrong to go to another, to never give me a chance. Still, I had been numb then, this was the first time I had vented my anger at her since she left me and Bridgit, our daughter. It was a long time coming.
"And you left Bridgit, too, you know. You left me devastated, Bridgit confused and without a mother, and with a father who could hardly care for himself, let alone a two-year old little girl. How could you do it? Off to a better place for you, paradise in your future, nothing but pain for us..."
It wasn't fair to lay that on her. What was done was done at that point; there would be no more marriage for us, one way or the other. She was out the door, and I was alone. At least she left me Bridgit. That must have been hard, abandoning a little girl that I know she loved. She seemed such a burden to me at first; but truly, Bridgit had been my rock. Without her, I don't know that I would have made it.
"I loved you so much, you know. After you left ... I questioned everything about myself. What could I have done better to have prevented you from leaving me? I realized all the ways I had failed to love you like I should have, and I tortured myself with my failings for a long time."
I had, too. In the end, I accepted that I hadn't been the husband I should have been. I had loved her, but that isn't enough. Eventually, though, I had to give up the second-guessing and self-blame, or I would have gone mad.
"I hated you for a while, convinced myself that you never loved me, that you were on your way out the door from the very beginning. I thought that might help, but it didn't. I had to face the fact that you did love me, but that love wasn't enough to keep you. What a sad, helpless thought that is. Forces out of my control ripped us apart, despite our loving each other. That was a blow to my ego."
I heard a high-pitched chirping some ways off, turned, and saw little Bridgit running around Sandra, my fiancée, some ways off.
"There she is, Maya. Our little Bridgit. She's still a little copy of you, except with my red hair, but then you know that, don't you?"
Terrible as it was, Bridgit had spent no time with Maya since she left us. But, she saw pictures, and I told stories, and explained as best I could that her mother loved her, but was far away and could not see her.