In my more quiet moments, I sometimes reflect on my journey and what it all meant. There has to be a reason as to why the Universe put me on that impossibly difficult path.
Yes, there were countless challenges that had been thrown down like gauntlets in my way, so many roadblocks. Some of them had been really quite frightening; I hoped that maybe my children wouldn’t remember all of it.
In the days, weeks, and months after returning to the States and ultimately to Mount Pleasant, my psyche has gone through things that many people would not survive, but on some days, my sense of well being leap-frogs over the wrinkle in time, and I feel as though I am fine.
Immediately upon returning to Mount Pleasant, the kids and I move into a townhome that actually belongs to Holly for when she would one day make her own Great Escape from her own marriage. When I pull my (rented) minivan into the parking spot directly in front of the entry to my new American home, Holly is waiting, and I nearly fall out of my seat in my desperate rush to embrace my friend. As we catch each other, I think I will never be able to stop crying. She has tied a large bundle of happy and festive balloons to the railing, and when I spot them, I turn to mom and say, "Everything is going to be alright, mom." She cries now, right long with me.
The townhome of course, is bare. Friends stop by, alerted by Holly, and leave bags of bedding, some pots and pans, a coffee maker, some pillows.
I enroll my kids in school, albeit a bit late and shop for the bare necessities, as the gears of life slowly begin to turn again, though they creak and stop and start many times over the next many months. The internal pain that I feel and the anger and betrayal I harbor against Landon slowly begins to wane, as the following year winds down. Holly’s and my friendship becomes diminished and eventually dies—because the truth is, how can I ever forgive Holly for knowing of Landon’s affair for three full weeks without telling me? The damage to our relationship is beyond repair.
Still, and despite all the terrific pain and the endless bouts of denial, anger, and depression, I feel somewhere deep inside of me a new sense of freedom. The easiest to endure is that my marriage is over, which is a curious thing to all who know us. That is the part that nobody—Holly included—can understand. We had put on such brave faces, and moving to Costa had fooled everyone, including Landon and I. We had vehemently struggled and failed to save our union, but in the end, we just couldn’t make it happen. It had been unsalvageable for years, we had both known.
I know I will be okay, because of my children. Despite the Great Recession that is yet to come, despite the troubles that are also yet to come, we three will thrive.
Soon after our ceremonious arrival back to Mount Pleasant, I get a tattoo inked on the back of my neck. The picture is of the most colorful, fantastical butterfly, at each tip of her gossamer wings perches a star, one each for both my beautiful babies.
After all, I muse, butterflies are free to fly.
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