Posted by: shelliejelly | October 22, 2008


O. seldom goes anywhere without his phone. I speak from experience, as we used to call one another all the time and send text messages filled with heartfelt declarations. I used to love the sound of my phone chirping at me, signaling I had a new message.

It has been awhile since I’ve been on the receiving end of such messages. After O. left, as time went by and he began to unravel the mysteries of his behavior, he’d shoot me a missive now and again, some made sense, others were more random. Recently, we’d been treading toward more common ground, inching our way beyond the dismal anger and despair that gripped me, if not him.

There were frank tear-filled discussions of regret, seemingly sincere apologies for some serious indiscretions and a slow building of hope. “Do you really want to be divorced from me,” he asked. “I don’t see any other alternative,” I answered. But behind the finality of my reply, sitting as patiently as I had for years, was the growing optimism that maybe, someday, when he’d figured himself out a little more and grown up we’d find our way back. His hand on my bent knee, his thumb smoothing over the fabric of my pants, we sat in silence, letting the pain of the situation settle between us.

I would have been happy to let that pain lay, to try, in future years, to cover the cracks in our foundation with a growing understanding of how everyone struggles, of how most everything good has been tarnished at some point, spit-shined with love and renewal until it glistens again.

But then his phone, left on the vanity in my bathroom, chirped. And my battered heart, my tentative hope and secret optimism reached out and saw the only name capable of instantly devastating any peace we may have found. Her name, there, on the screen, rustling up all the pain into a big cloud I still can’t see through.



  1. […] possible. O. often wonders why my temper is so short, why I am so quick to anger. Even with the past, he claims, he doesn’t deserve the words and actions that can only represent dislike, but are […]

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