Sometimes major life events have a way of sneaking up in an everyday, mundane task.
There I was standing in the kitchen, whipping up a batch of quick-mix red velvet cupcakes. My daughter needed them for school the next day. I’m not sure now what the event was, but the requirement of last minute baked goods is a common request from kids.
The house was cold. It was early November and I was still wearing my outside jacket. My husband and I were having another disagreement about money—something that happened often. This wasn’t an “oh you are spending too much money on shoes” argument. This was about bare-bones necessities, like groceries.
I tried to stand my ground, but I was emotionally and physically exhausted. Pouring the batter into each gully of the muffin tin, I voiced the thought that had been echoing through my mind for the last year (or more).
“I don’t want to be married to you anymore.”
I opened the oven, slipped the muffin tin onto the rack and shut the door.
I can’t pinpoint when it happened, but somewhere between the day I first walked down the aisle to that life-changing scene in the kitchen, I had lost my fairytale ideology of love. It wasn’t a sudden realization or big “a-ha!” moment, but rather a gradual erosion of belief. I found myself getting cynical.
When people I knew would get engaged and then married, I would think “How long is this going to last?” Romance movies appeared sappy and fake and I absolutely detested greeting cards with long poems and inspirational sayings. More and more I pushed away anything touching or emotional by calling it stupid and rolling my eyes.
I didn’t want to feel—didn’t want to believe that anyone had love. To believe this would be too painful.
So I stood there next to the oven and let the tears flow openly. No more crying behind a locked bathroom door. It was time to not only feel the ache that had been growing, but to allow it to surface. Soon, the sweet aroma of baking cake filled the air, masking the pungent trace of mildew from our dark, wet basement.
My declaration had been met with silence and the words still hung in the air and couldn’t be taken back. Unable to move from that spot, I stood by the warming oven until my pinky toes became numb and the ding from the timer went off.
I pulled the cupcakes out. In just 30 minutes my whole life had changed and I knew everything was going to soon be different. My heart, the one I had carefully protected and hid from even myself, had been broken open.
I wiggled my toes until the feeling came back and breathed deeply. I picked up the pieces of my jaded heart and wondered how I would ever put it back together again.
No more standing still—time to move.
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Photo credit: Pixoto
Ed: Catherine Monkman