It has been months since I moved out. Good and bad reality is setting in. It hasn’t been easy, I still have a long way to go, but the labor pains have been worth it, and my reality is good. I love living on my own, in peace. It seems like I am happy all the time or it might be contentment; I’m not sure but I’d like to think that I’m happy. Or maybe I’m just happy I left my spouse. I feel downright giddy yet in disbelief at how quickly I went from madness and sadness to happiness. I ask God’s permission if it’s Ok to feel happiness, another sensation that seemed just as foreign as peace & quiet.

I practice self-care. My affirmation notes are posted, I read my self-help books, pray & meditate, and exercise. It’s surreal when I walk around my apartment and see everything in its proper place, pleasing to look at, clean, and comfortable. I take pride in doing my chores timely instead of being forced to do them. The feedback from friends and family who have visited confirms that I have created a soothing space with good energy. I appreciate peace & quiet, after my workdays, when my guests leave, or when I come back from running errands. My peace is dependable, always there to surround me in its aura.

As far as I knew, my youngest was adapting and doing well in school because that’s what he told me every time I asked. I asked many times how the separation made him feel and every time it was: at least you and Dad are not fighting, I’m good Mom. Then reality set in. My child was struggling academically and emotionally.  Standing in my bedroom doorway, he confessed he was flunking classes, felt guilty about living with me, and missed seeing his dad regularly. I should have known, my happiness wasn’t real, it was a tease. I listened and didn’t interrupt as he described how my decision to leave his dad affected him. I was staring at my child, the face of reality; it was forlorn and carried the weight of a broken home, separate addresses, and incommunicado parents on his slumped shoulders.

My child was in pain wondering whose side to take, is the separation temporary, and would I get mad if he wanted to live with Dad.  He felt disconnected and longed for what was, even at its worst; and struggled to deal with the present. How did I miss this. I took the word of a lonely adolescent first-year college student from a freshly broken home instead of observing him more closely, reading between the lines, or asking probing questions. I had access to his grades and never pulled them up. I was caught off guard because I was selfishly caught up in my new happy reality. I thought providing a drama-free place to live, away from the toxicity would be better for us all. I was shaken, failed to keep proper tabs on my child, and felt guilty and responsible for unraveling his world. I almost spiraled into believing I should go back to my abuser.

I assured my youngest I would fix this. We prayed and hugged it out. My spouse swore there would never be any communication between us under any circumstances once I walked out the door. That was then and this is now. Reality is setting in, and our child is hurting. I was petrified to open a door I wanted to keep shut but I didn’t wait, I picked up the phone and called my spouse.