My cheeks ached from forcing smiles by the time I climbed into my borrowed car, stuck the key in ignition, and yanked the door awkwardly closed. After the heartpounding throb of loud music and the bouncing flamboyance of a Drag Queen show, the silence echoed. There was something about the silliness of it all that was actually fun, and yet the talent of the actor/dancers in mimicking a famous celebrity was just as astounding.
Yet now the evening was over, and I was sitting alone in my parents van.
The night was bittersweet, even midst the fun moments. Apparently it was Bachelorette night, as they had at least nine brides to be, some blushing furiously and others simply settling in for a long night of drinking. For the first time, I felt a surge of hearty cynicism, reflecting on what I’ve just emerged from, and trying not to think of what these mostly younger women might be walking into.
The unbidden nature of the thought startled me.
Yet alone in the car, as I began to drive, the tears came. Rumbling through me, unstoppable as aftershocks. Hitting harder, and lasting all the way home. I’m not sure entirely what I grieved. Oddly, I don’t really miss my husband. I was all in as long as I could be, then it feels like I’ve been all out since I left. Perhaps I wept for the loss of so many hopes, my onetime desire for children, and a family. The thought of ever putting myself in a position to be hurt that way again, however, makes me physically ill. Living with that fear was terrible, and only now that I am out of it am I starting to really believe that I wasn’t over-reacting.
It wasn’t a bad night, there were moments of fun, but it wasn’t really an easy night either. Yet it’s like the pain of going to a dentist, or washing out a wound. Having gotten through it, I feel a little better.
I’m not going to let what has happened to me define me. I’m not going to let it keep me from experiencing the life that should be out there for me. And I don’t need to be married, or in a relationship, to have the kind of life I want. If kids and family matter to me, I will find out what it takes to adopt.