Reality Sets In
Outside it is sunny. In the room it is cool and dark. Two kids are asleep, the other two are out and walking barefoot to the edge of the motel's sidewalk. The freshly mowed grass sticks to their little toes as they continue on around the side of the motel. Behind the building there is a quiet place. Trees, green grass and flowers in bloom. It is not a fancy motel, in fact it is kind of dumpy. But these kids don't notice. They have found a mulberry tree and are happily eating the juicy black berries. I pick some too. My heart is so heavy. My mind is in a fog. I do not even think how they must be feeling. They're just kids. They seem to be okay and happy. My world is coming to an end. They are laughing and eating berries. Thank God for these kids! I try not to cry. The other two come out. We all eat berries.
A couple years ago we had this same corner room. At that time my wife was here to care for her dad who had been in a bad car accident. I was so proud of myself! I cared for the kids and did everything myself for two weeks. I had no idea that a few short years later, we would be back in the same room and I would be caring for them myself from then on.
No, she did not die. Sometimes I think that would have been easier. The kids stayed in the room. We came out and sat on the edge of the sidewalk. She told me. She wanted me to promise not to cry infront of the kids. How could I promise that? We were never going to be a family again. No sunday morning breakfasts. No church. No family days. No meals together as a family. No more anything all together. Only me and the kids and her and the kids. No more family. And I am not supposed to cry?
The room was really quite nice for a dumpy motel. It was shaped like an L with one part for the big bed and another part with a couch that faced away from the bed and towards the TV. There was a little refridgerator and lots of drawers and a desk. The couch turned into a bed. The room was way off in the far corner of the parking lot. The room was in the corner of the building too. The kids could roller blade in our little corner of the world. They wrote with colorful chalk on the sidewalk and parking lot. They found the berries around the back of the place.
She came to visit a couple times. Our last meal together was apples and cheese. It was a nice little snack. She cut the apples and sliced the cheddar cheese and we all ate it happily. Of course I was holding back the tears. To this day, I cannot hear the crack of an apple being cut or the sounds of apples being bitten into without that sad memory.
I had brought money enough with me to buy the kids all new bicycles. We had been living in the city, and the bikes they had were left behind when she moved here, 800 miles away. I wanted to do something nice for the kids and that was the nicest thing I could think of. I used to love riding bikes when I was their age! And now, with her out in the country, away from city life, it would be perfect for them to be able to ride around anyplace and not have to worry too much.
But she would not let me stay in her place. Not even on the floor or in the boy's room. She actually said she did not want to give me any hope. Hope of a reconciliation. And it would send that same message to her new guy. If I stayed, then there was hope. If I was not allowed to stay, she was his. Oh this sucked so bad. I paid for the motel with the money I had saved for bikes.