Spare Him

‘I wouldn’t do it again, if that’s what you mean,’ I said, pulling my MacBook Pro closer to me atop the long work table in the mall.

‘Why not?’ he asked.

I shrugged. ‘It’s just not for me.’ Dropping my eyes to the screen, I tried to avoid making eye contact with him.

Why would he ask me that? Does he regret never marrying? Is he testing my loyalty to my husband?

‘I’m just curious, that’s all.’

I’d never really thought about it before that moment. And at this moment, I can’t stop thinking about it.

If my husband and I split, I’d never remarry.

I never wanted to get married in the first place. I always saw myself like my father’s sisters — I saw my sixties as single, no attachments or ties. Where you’d be sad if a family member died, but it wouldn’t rip out chunks of your soul like the loss of a partner or parent or child does. Then I got pregnant at twenty-one. I don’t know who the father is, really, although I have my suspicions as she’s does the identical things that bothered me so deeply by him.

I don’t regret it, though. If I didn’t have her I never would’ve met him nor been calm enough to appreciate and attract my husband.

He’s her father. He’s the only father I want for my children.

He’s the only man I would’ve ever married.

But, if this doesn’t work, I won’t try again with anyone else.

I don’t see myself committing to anyone but my husband. And even that is difficult.

Because I’m greedy. I’m selfish. I want what I want when I want it, and I hate having to answer to anyone for doing or getting what I want.

Entering a traditional marriage like mine, though, was on the understanding that we’d commit to each other and each other only. I wouldn’t want it any other way, either, but I don’t think we needed to get married.

Outside of the children and owning a home together, I have nothing dire to be married for.

A promise would’ve been just as sufficient.

In the eyes of society I am a mother and a wife. My business is a hobby, my writing is a hobby. Marriage and motherhood define me.

Deep down, I resent it, although the constant challenge motivates me to prove myself. But, it’s exhausting, really. To always feel like you have to be on guard, prepared, and ready for action.

I knew I wasn’t cut out for marriage before we got started, but I thought I could change.

I thought I would change.

I didn’t want to commit to one person for the rest of my life, or even for the rest of my marriage. But this man brought feelings and hopes and dreams and desires I never had before — I never thought I was capable of feeling.

We are a team. At times a weak one, but a team nonetheless.

I like thinking about another person’s wants, dreams, desires and motivations. I like growing with a partner and, no matter what, having a friend by my side through thick and thin.

He is my best friend. He’s a mentor, a rock, a giver of pleasure I only knew was possible through love and passion, through commitment, through him and only him.

But I wouldn’t do it again with someone else. I would reject these feelings in the future.

Maybe it’s because I’m broken. Maybe its because, deep down, I’m not as good of a person as I’ve convinced myself and others that I am.

For now its working. It’d be greedy and selfish to do anything rash to alter that.

It’s working and its beautiful, but I hate it at the same time.

I hate that I’m a mother and a wife and potentially broken beyond repair. I hate that I love so deeply it makes me crazier.

Because feelings, at this point, physically hurt.

Again, it’s selfish — feeling. Feeling and complaining about feeling, what a cow.

Greedy. Selfish. Cow.

But I like it, even though I hate it. I’m glad I did it. I’m hopeful I can and will keep doing it.

And if ever it ends, I hope I spare him unlike all the others I left trailed behind me in a wake of heartbreak.

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