Today we’re asked to write about play. See the prompt here. This year, I’m noticing I’m consumed by the theme of the decimation of my marriage, and so this is the first thing that came to me as I read the prompt.
There wasn’t enough of it in our relationship.
If there had been, we might have stood a chance.
But things got so serious, especially after we became parents.
The sad part is, we really had all we needed,
and the kids showed us every day how to be natural,
lighthearted, taking pleasure in simple things,
finding the joy in every little thing.
We could’ve let them be our teachers,
but we were too busy trying to be adults.
After a time the little boy in you began to tantrum;
he was tired of being ignored.
And you hadn’t done the work of deep listening,
so the feeling of discontent was taken as evidence
of my failings and our inherent incompatibility…
and that’s the story you told.
We’re just not right for each other.
We’ll never be able to make this work…
or so you said. Yes, you weren’t willing to change.
That responsibility fell on me.
So the little girl in me said, “OH HELL NO!”
I had done the work of deep listening,
and I took time to honor the voices within.
Out of love for you and because
I was committed to our marriage,
I increased the time spent sorting myself out,
because I knew I’d be a better wife,
lover, mother, friend, and creatrix
if I could understand the currents at work
But all those things scared the little boy in you.
He called me selfish. He said I wasn’t a partner.
And after eight years and two beautiful children,
the tantruming little boy said, “ENOUGH!”
So you got out and you played.
First with some friends,
eventually with another woman’s body.
I try to see the innocence,
you entering her
the way you would a playground,
you picking her up
the way you would pick up flowers
and sticks and bugs,
you riding her
the way you would a swing…
But it wasn’t as innocent as all that,
and you lied when I discovered your games,
tried to make me think I was crazy,
tried to make me doubt myself, my intuition.
Now you’ve found a more expensive toy,
a BMW. Is the little boy happy now?
Maybe one day you’ll see that all you really wanted
was to be seen, and heard and held,
to laugh, to run, to be free…
all you wanted was a little play.
I could’ve given you that,
but you thought you needed new toys.
Farewell, little boy.
This little girl has done her homework.
After the dust settles,
you’ll need to go back to school
and work hard to relearn some basic skills—
respect, honor, dignity,
commitment, understanding, empathy.
Meanwhile my little girl
will be having the time of her life.
She’ll be outside running in the open air,
shouting, whooping, dancing, spinning,
playing with friends and new toys of her own.