To the woman who showed me there's something better

Subject: To the woman who showed me there's something better
From: Dean Ardwen
Date: 31 Aug 2019

So, to recap:

You and I met at your work. My friend and I had been drinking at a party, and we just really felt like eating at subway. (that, and it was the closest place to where the goings-on were. I was wearing an admittedly too-thin white T-shirt, and I caught you stealing glances at my nipples. When I called you out, that was the first time I heard you laugh, and it still is one of my favorite sounds.

Fast forward a few months, and semi-flirtatious exchanges over the counter turn into a tangible friendship. I'd come in and work on my writing, and if you were on your lunch break you'd come and sit with me. Occasionally our eyes would meet and we'd laugh to ourselves.

To anyone who reads this, you can probably tell that this person and mine's exchanges weren't superficial, even if that's all they were interpreted as at the time. Would I that they had only been, because I am now in one of the darkest places of my adult life.

We avoided something obvious; the engagement ring you wore. One day you asked me about my family life, and for no particular reason, I confided in you some of the deepest and most troubling aspects of my life. I told you of my daughter, showed you pictures. I told you of my impending divorce with my wife, and onto you I offloaded all of my angst, my pain, my confusion.

Throughout all of this I remained detached and cold, as I usually do. But where most of the people in my life would dismiss me and treat me in kind, you genuinely cared for me. And that more than anything is likely why I'm so messed up right now. Anyways, I digress. We eventually got to the subject of your husband, and you expressed your disquiet about being essentially a single wife.

You were alone, I was alone, I leaped. I gave you my number, we kissed in your car, and over the course of two months I became a happier man than I can ever remember being. You were so different than anything I was used to.

You see, my biggest problem with my soon-to-be ex wife is that she has no depth. When she talks to me, it's either A: to complain, B: to poke fun, or C: to pass word about something. We can't have conversations. She can't even say a sentence without cursing. She is one of the most one-dimensional people I've ever met, like a poorly written character. The more she says, the more distance I want to put between her and I.

Not so with you. You are a real person. Someone with dreams, aspirations, a complex personality filled with beautiful song, dark alleys, and everything in between. When you talk, I listen. Your every word has me holding my breath and biting my lip. You aren't passive. You go for what you want, you take risks. You don't placate people, you and your comfort are more important than anything else. You can tell me to screw off, and I don't mind doing it. If you don't want me to do something, you tell me. You aren't support, you're someone I could contend with. Someone who challenged me to be better.

I feel like we understand each other far better than most people in this world do. Many of our goals are polar opposites, but our ways of going about existence are nearly identical. The way you think resonates within my mind like a distantly familiar song. You know how people talk about being on the phone for hours without saying anything and loving every second? I had that with you. We had that. My favorite memory of us was sitting on your kitchen counter listening to the Lumineers. You were so in the moment, so happy and serene. I've never before experienced someone so real. Ophelia is now one of my favorite songs.

We had to break it off, however, as I was leaving, and it seemed unlikely I would ever see you again. Even then, i couldn't resist the temptation that was you. though any physical union was out of the question, my feelings didn't abate. I craved your words, I wanted to hear about your day, I wanted to keep experiencing you. And so things got weird there a week ago. Not a day goes by that I am not tempted to re-initiate with you. I don't want it to be over, even though my good sense tells me that it needs to be. I want you to be happy, but a not small part of me is tempted to nuke both of our lives and take you for myself, be damned the consequences. I know that we both still want each other. I know that I'm better for you than your current partner.

God that sounds selfish. Well, I never claimed not to be. But I can't live for anyone else, nor can you. When the sun sets on our lives, all that's left is our experiences, and I want you to be the core of mine. When we started this, it was meant to be a simple fling, something that we could look back on through the years and smile at. But you knew. You knew it wouldn't be that simple. And it wasn't. Here I am, using the only medium I know how to tell you everything I wish I could say in person.

That's the summary. So here's the tea I have to spill.

I'm free. She's still living in the house, but we've reached an agreement. We have separate bedrooms, bathrooms, everything.
We've agreed on 50/50 custody, and we'll be settling out of court. All in all, it's been an extremely peaceful divorce. No animosity, no passive aggression. It's about as good a breakup as one could ever hope for, and I'm grateful for it. The conflict was the main reason I held off for so long. But she has known for years that I didn't want to stay, and that's likely what has made it so easy.

There won't be any alimony. No child support for either side. I'm coming away clean. Of course I'm still going to help with day-care, babysitters, food, et cetera. I'm not going to simply ditch my child. But my point is that in general, I don't have much to ask for in this situation. Maybe I won't be a silver fox for a few more years than we thought.

As for what I suspected, I think I was right. It's one of my friends, who has been fairly distant since I got back. But he has an eighty-day snapchat streak with her, and I didn't even know they were friends. She also talks about him frequently, and when he hangs out at the house, it's her he sits and associates with, not anyone else. I could just be reading too much into nothing. I could be seeing what I want to see. Regardless, good for her, and good for him. At least someone gets to be happy in this house. She's expressed some desire to take him instead of me to the event that happens for us in early November. (If you think about it, you'll know what I'm talking about, because you and him have one to go to as well). Which is fine, if she wants to take someone else she can. I don't know exactly what I'll do, but I could extend an invitation to a few people, you included, if that were on the table.

My daughter has some behavioral problems that went unaddressed for too long it seems, but we're working on that. We're also about to start potty training her, which is exciting. She isn't all that warm to me, but that makes sense. I've been gone for most of her life. I kind of want to get a video of her saying hi to you, but I don't know if you'd want to see it now. Trust me, she'll know you love her when she gets old enough!

As for my education, that's hit a brick wall. I won't be able to do it until after I return to home for good, due to time constraints. I've looked at taking faster, less prestigious courses, but that kind of defeats the purpose. I might as well just wait and get my bachelors out the gate. (low key disappointed in you for giving up on yours by the way)

Depression is back. And it hit like a truck this time. In a day, everything lost its color. Not a single thing in this world held any color, had purpose, or captured my interest. The only thing I can do right now of my own volition is my job. Today is better, and writing helps. But I don't want to go back in the whole. I don't have to explain the feeling to you. You know.

That about does it for current events.

Lastly, a shameless plea. I've already embarrassed and emasculated myself, might as well go all-in, right?

I know you feel like you're set on your path, that what you have is good enough. But there's more for you out there. There's better. If you recall, before I haphazardly re-initiated for that day or so, I asked you to make some observations, when he got home. I said, Don't compare him to me, but I want you to really think about it. Does he make you happy? Is he all you want in this world? Would you be satisfied with the path you've set out on, knowing what you do now? When you can have it with me? What are you really losing in that event?

Or something like that.

And I'm serious. I don't know if he's home yet, and I don't know if you've started out on what you spoke about. If you have, don't tell me. As messed up in the head as I am right now, I doubt I could take it. The thought of it sickens me, It's like I'm Mr. Brightside.

Okay, full send. No holding back, I'll just say what I mean. that's what this is for, I guess.

Leave him. You may not have a bad thing going, but I think you know as well as i do that we had a much more intense fire, and for me, at the very least, it burns bright.

There isn't much time, and I kick myself for not doing this sooner, but I'm yours. All you have to do is choose me. Choose me.