Letters I never sent [04]

Over the summer, we will be sharing with you several letters, the letters never sent.  Some to total strangers, some to practitioners and some to friends and family.  Some we will post anonymously and others will link to the author’s blog.

This letter is anonymous, for obvious reasons.  As I read this, I knew that this was something I have heard many many times and I am sure there will be many of you who will relate to this.


To my dear husband,

Can I tell you about the happiest day of my life?

It wasn’t the day we first kissed, on a palm-fringed, white sand beach under a smiling tropical moon.

It wasn’t the day you asked me to marry you, over marshmallows toasted on an active volcano.

It wasn’t the day we did marry, in my family church, with the reception my parents thought was too extravagant. You in your kilt and me in a dress too tight to eat any of the wedding breakfast.

No, the happiest day of my life wasn’t any of these. It was the day we sat on the steps of a Phnom Penh villa, a week before you flew home, after a dinner with friends old and new, and one too many beers, and you told me that you’d changed your mind. That you thought a long distance relationship could work.

And it did. Even though this was the days before smartphones and Skype, it did work. I waited anxiously for your weekly phone call, trying to remember the curve of your lips as you talked over the static and through the two-second delay. Repeating what you’d said in my head until the next time. You wrote me letters. I sent you cheap presents from the places I’d been.

Even though your trips out to visit were marred with disasters, it did work. You didn’t seem put off by my blundering accidents and illnesses. You brought me ice cream, jewellery, and mix tapes. We found new movies together, and new bands. From a me, and a you, we built an us. You carried me when I fell, and I was happy to let you.

Letter I never sent to my husbandAnd now?

There is no us. There’s only me, you, the children and the chores. There’s no music, no movies, there are definitely no mix tapes. You learn what I’m up to from Facebook. I learn when you’ll be home from WhatsApp.

I feel bogged down, unimportant, desperate to impress you with how busy I am. Scared to let myself fall and embarrassed to let you carry me. You seem lost, uncertain, as if I’m hiding things from you.

We still share a bed … but more often than not there is a small person (sometimes two) between us. I stretch out to touch your foot. You flinch: just another wriggling body under the scrunched-up duvet.

We still talk … about the DIY, about which appointments you’ll come to and which would be a waste of your time, and endlessly, endlessly, about which of us will take the children on the weekend so the other can get something useful done.

We still have a social life … but we move in different social circles. Your life, your friends, your hobbies are in the city where you work. My friends are our neighbours, the school mums, the church congregation. Never the twain shall meet.

We still share the chores … but we have different worries. You worry about getting to work on time, doing the hours, earning the money and, in your spare time, having fun, with us or without us. I worry about feeds and medications, appointments and classes, remembering where everybody needs to be, getting them there on time, with the right gear and the right clothes on, and a snack and a drink. In my spare time, I work, trying to remember who I once was. Trying to work out who I want to be.

I never expected you to be my soul mate. Ours isn’t the kind of relationship where you know what I’m thinking before I’ve even said it. Most of the time you still don’t know what I’m thinking even after I’ve said it. But we’re getting to a place where I don’t bother to even say it any more and that scares me. It’s like we’re flatmates, except it’s okay if you walk in on me in the shower.

When the space between us was filled with thousands of miles of land and sea, it didn’t seem so big. Now it’s just a space, and I have no idea how to fill it. I want you back but it’s no longer as simple as picking up the phone or hopping on a plane. Sometimes I think you hate me, or at least resent me. I ache for you but there’s no painkiller I can pop. And so I trudge on, every day keeping up appearances. Every day drifting a little further away from you. I miss sharing everything with you. I miss sharing a joke with you. I miss setting the world the rights with you. I miss holding you. I miss you. Tell me again that a long distance relationship can work?

With love always, your wife


If you have a letter you would like to share, one you never sent, then please email it to debs@bringingustogether.org.uk and let us know if you wish it to remain anonymous or to link back to your own site.

 

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Debs is one of the co-founders and Directors of Bringing Us Together. She is mum to three child with a variety of SEND and has a great husband.

BuT Site Admin

Debs is one of the co-founders and Directors of Bringing Us Together. She is mum to three child with a variety of SEND and has a great husband.

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