It's Charlie's birthday. Rarechild and I are going through the hardest trials we have ever faced. Nothing has gone to plan this last year and there have been many, many irrevocable changes in all our lives.
So much has happened, I don't know where to begin.
I'll start with the separation.
I have become a jealous guy. It's ruled my days since the realization that I no longer won by default in Rarechild's eyes. That was the game changer. It has also been somewhat of a blessing. More on that in a bit. So I got jealous. A lot. It came on unexpectedly, inexplicably and regularly. It ebbed and flowed but continuously remained, making fear the driving force in our home. She could not share her life with me because I would not accept it. I would fall inward, focusing on the greatness of her new love and the dissipation of our intimacy. Just writing that nearly brings me to tears. So I had to move out. First for two weeks. Then back for a short time and out again near the end of July. I stayed with some lovely friends with a house a few blocks away from ours. It felt like staying in a hotel. Or maybe a halfway house. Lovely, but not much privacy. There were also a slew of guests, mostly traveling musicians, coming and going the entire two months I was there. Which was great, but again... privacy.
In August, Rarechild went to see Charlie every week. Usually from Saturday through the following Wednesday. Coming back to work three days then return to Charlie's. He had a job where she could make some decent money and she was saving up for a place of her own. When she showed me her calendar to tell me of this plan, I was nearly unable to respond. But I knew it was going to happen and I would have to find a way to get through it. And I did. At the end of the month I went down with her for a special event Charlie was featured in and I got to see a little of their world. It was hard, but beautiful. The next day, after the three of us slept on the floor in his small apartment, they woke up before dawn to leave for Charlie's brother's wedding. Also a hard one for me, but I got through it. While driving home, I had some wonderful moments of clear love for the two of them together.
September was relatively easy. Charlie came to visit a couple times and I had out of town gigs every weekend. The last weekend, we all went to a wonderful music festival held in Northern Michigan. It's my favorite event of the year. Magical, that place. Again, I got through it, but found very little in the way respite from jealousy. Upon returning home, I began to sink a bit.
I moved in with another friend a couple weeks ago. When I arrived here, in this dank, seventies, finished basement, it really sunk in that we were separated because I couldn't handle her relationship with Charlie. That we had become unhealthy for each other. That the two of them have had more moments of fully being in love together in the last year than she and I have. It hit me hard that my marriage would never, ever be the same again, and that I was really angry about that. Angry about a great many things, really, but this was where my sword was pointed.
I told her I needed a break. Which seems redundant, given the physical separation, but I needed some time away from seeing her to get my head straight without the distraction of paralyzing jealousy at the mere sight of a blanket thrown over a chair. We went a good week seeing each other only once, briefly. In that time I began to imagine my life without her in a real way. I had imagined it before, but it never seemed so close or possible. I took my wedding ring off for a few days. Every time I went to fidget with it and it wasn't there I felt a strange mixture of deep sadness and relief. I was walking alone for the first time in seven years. Without the constant reminder that the woman I had dedicated my entire life to was passionately in love with another man, one who is an incredible person and whom I have relentlessly compared myself to with disastrous results. But I was also walking without the great love of my life. The person I admire and cherish for every fiber of her soul more than any other person I have ever known. The woman I intend to build a family with. My best friend.
We had reached the same melting point that gave birth to this poly way of living; genuinely reevaluating our compatibility given all the changes in our lives. Separating our life into two beautiful thirds.
That brings us to the present. They hadn't seen each other for some time and it's Charlie's birthday. When Rarechild told me that they would be seeing each other this weekend I sank into the fear for a while and steadily watched it fall away. I've had some moments of genuine dispare and some moments of surprising joy while she's been gone. I have spent some great time with friends over the last few days, eating well, playing cards, making music, seeing movies, talking late into the night... it's been a good experience for me to live so fully in her absence. There have been twinges of panic, but I have chased them off with diligent work and clever distraction. There was a moment last night, as I drove away from a recording session with a phenomenal group of musicians and friends, where I felt such love and happiness for the two of them. I was so proud of myself for not only getting to this point a year later, still in love and willing to work, but also for being a down-right awesome husband. One who values his partner's happiness so much that he is willing to go to hell and back for it. I have found that the going to hell part is supremely easy. It's the coming back that's takes such a toll.
I miss my wife very much.
I still want this to work.
Something tells me we're half way there.
Concern yourself less with love and more with loving.