A letter to my ex-husband
I had no photos to tear apart — most of our photos were kept in the digital format. There was no specific fragrance that would remind me of you. You smelled of fresh sheets and your skin was soft even though you never used a touch of moisturizer. I had no furniture to break — in our bad days I’d slam the doors as you’d kick the chair. One day, I threw whiskey on your face and you hold me just on time to not break the glass that belonged to your father.
I had no money to share with you and had no keys left to get back into the house. I had no wedding presents to take with me, but I saved my wedding ring that you bought at the very last minute. I remember you never wanted to get married in the first place. I took nothing from you because I thought no matter what happened between us, you always gave me support and tried your best to make me happy. You were my best friend and I never had the intention to hurt you. No matter how my actions proved me wrong. I just did not know how to deal with our problems and the fact that you never opened yourself to me completely…
This is not an enclosed letter written with anger though. I am here trying to make use of my last best words for you.
After two years, we met again in 2015 at the Family Court. I still cannot believe that it took us all these months to apply for the divorce and only a few minutes to break the sort of weird bond we had. I don’t know how mad this might sound, but after signing the papers I felt a sense of lost close to death.
We will probably never see each other again.
Sadly, we could not have a proper conversation and you only wanted to spit your resentment over me. And while we were standing outside the Family Court, the years passed by in front of me like a film:
The day I left you taking only my clothes with me, the last hug we gave me and your crying face as scary as those crying babies photographed by Diane Arbus; my friends waiting for me in the car. The months later without you: I remember my struggling with money — I didn’t have a proper job and I lived with a family for the first couple of months — that was extremely depressing. Then, I lived with other people and I found a crap job that could fire me in the next morning. I remember not having enough money and sometimes having to borrow from my best friend to buy food…I knew I had to lose everything to be able to value things better. Eventually things started to improve. I found a better job and I made amazing friends…
I can no longer explore the reasons of our break up — they drive me insane. We both knew what was going wrong and we both did not work hard to change ourselves. We wanted to fix the problems when it was too late. I wouldn’t go back to the past and do it differently. First, because I do not usually regret the things I do. I always learn from my mistakes. And this relationship gave me the most precious gift: I am the only person responsible to make myself happy. Does that sound cliche to you? Try to get out of your comfort zone and restart your life from zero. Try to search very deep for your answers. It is painful. Try to figure out which job you like, the place you want to live, the friends you want to have, the mind and body you want to achieve. Simply, try to make yourself happy…This is not an easy task and unfortunately I have to do experience all these things alone.
I know you do not want to see my face again and there is nothing that I can do to convince you, as your feelings do not belong to me anymore. However, as we put an end to our relationship and burn the past, I have decide to give some significance to our story and to someone whom I shared — among other things in life — laugh, sweat and air with.
I realized that even though we move on with our lives and get involved in different relationships, we do not stop loving people who once we cared of so fondly.
I hope this kind of “letter” gives us some liberating power to open our hearts and to start something new. I leave you in this right final sentence with the memory of how things started as I am not able to give a sad end to our story:
We met in Spain. I was only 24 years and I was happy with myself. I had left a job I didn’t like and I was inspired to do something different with my life. I was living in the city I loved, Madrid, in an amazing flat facing the Reina Sofia Museum with a cat and two Spanish actresses.
One night in the end of summer, I took a walk around the old centre and decided to have some tapas before going to the cinema. The bar was full and I had to sit outside. Minutes later a mimic — wearing a black suit and with his face painted in white — came to my table. I gave him a secret smile as I rather enjoy the mystery. He then got an imaginary camera from his pocket and took a picture of me and developed it “shaking the paper” in front of me. He confirmed with his thumbs up that the photo was very good. The mimic was about to move to the next table — but he couldn’t imagine that sitting right there there was an introvert English guy who quickly turned his back to the man and made up some random conversation with me to avoid being the next victim of an artist’s imagination!
He asked me about the menu and although my English at that time was very basic, I could speak the language of spontaneity: I used my hands, draws, and every single syllable was digested slowly in empty stomach. I suggested what to eat pointing at the menu: smoked salmon on toast with olive oil. I tried to explain to him that “bonito” was another kind of “beautiful” fish that he should try, but he didn’t get me.
I liked him straight away. His curvy smile and his genuine eyes that were promising me happiness. We spoke about a few more things. I told him I wasn’t from Spain but from a hot tropical country in South America. I imitated a sort of dance we do in my country and I then blushed as I had not rhythm. We ate our food in different tables, but we were so close to each other that I could feel my back touching his shoulder.
Later, I had to leave to the cinema and we said goodbye.
I knew he was the kind of shy guy who wouldn’t ask for my number. What I didn’t know was that I was the type of girl who would run back in my purple tight shoes and ask him — after practicing a couple of times in the corner of the street holding a cigarette in my shaky hands:
“Do you have friends here?”
“Not many. I have just been working here for a couple of months”, he replied.
“If you want to have a friend, call me…” I gave him the piece of paper where I had written down my number. And I made sure I vanished from his sight. I walked so fast and I was so embarrassed that I wished I could have disintegrated by magic.
Three days later he texted me.
Five days later after meeting in another tapas place, we kissed.
We spent the first two months exploring Madrid.
He would say how much he loved the way I told him stories. I used to laugh at him trying to speak Spanish and making a funny fish face.
Six months later he met my family in South America.
A year later we moved to England…
And then were six years…
That’s how I wanted to end this letter with some history of us. We can now move on with our lives in peace and find a new place to nest our heart. And we can now do our best to accommodate our future lovers in brand new stories. As a famous Brazilian poet once said: To love is to move the soul to a new home.