I was searching for ways to become invincible. When you’ve been cut to the bone and miraculously survive the incident, you learn to put on some armour.
I discovered that deceit could manufacture a type of happiness as intoxicating as those built on the truth, and my definition of toxic began to shift further and further away from reality. In some ways the parts I’d lost to him were never recovered, and I was both better and worse for it.
He looked right through me once, down on his knees begging for forgiveness. I looked into his eyes and saw only pity, and I wondered if I had imagined everything else. What is it about love that leaves us yearning for more, like the moth to a flame? What is it about lust that can destroy it? No amount of children, vows, papers or joint accounts can hold it together once it crumbles, not even for a second. Even as he sits across from you in the same living room, you can see his mind is worlds apart, and the smile that once made your world spin now felt cruel and sadistic.
Is this it? Is this how it ends? Ten years of my life wasted on a criminal and a thief, with nothing to show for it except this big empty apartment full of relics, a shrine dedicated to his unfaithfulness. I was supposed to be grateful, I was expected to consider myself the winner, for shedding myself from an unhappy marriage and retaining the house and steady alimony, as if that was a choice I had made, as if in some ways, I preferred for him to fall in love with someone else. This was supposed to be my salvation, a second chance at being happy on my own, built on more solid ground.
My lawyer was a pragmatic woman. Not unsympathetic, but she did not believe in wasting billable hours on mending my broken heart. She was a firm believer that time would heal my wounds, and access to his bank account would be of significant assistance.