(this is the 'leaving' i was referring to in 'after leaving')

it took everything i had in me. i mustered up my strength, and sighed it on an exhale, 'i want my own place. i'm moving out.'

he stood dumbfounded. 'what? is that supposed to be funny?' he glared at me, with fear and disdain in his eyes.

i started to cry, and he immediately knew that it wasn't joke. in fact, it wasn't funny at all.

i'd thought about it alot since december. we'd talked about it a lot since december. but never felt that he really ingested it. i knew that this was my fate, delayed for the sake of rationalizing away gut feelings, and growing anxiety. i knew what i wanted now. and i was going to stop at nothing, making impossible decisions along the way, to take the reigns and get it.

we'd promised to try to work it out. we'd made an honest go of it, we talked more than we had in the last nine years we'd known each other, after the honeymoon phase of dating had worn us thin, before we were even married.

i repeated myself, tired. i'd told him almost everything. that i wasn't happy. that this wasn't a marriage. that it was a business partnership, that i needed more. that i wasn't feeling loved. that i was only feeling wanted in the most animalistic sense. they way that your body becomes comprised of parts, with only the purpose of satisfying a primal need.

i needed to be loved. i needed to be kissed and courted, as he had when we first started dating, before he charmed his way into my pants. and it had been years since i'd been satisfied, in bed. we'd worked on that, too. but you can't start a fire without a flame, and the passion had long since been dead.

we'd tried. both of us, mostly equally.

but we'd failed.

the life that we'd known together would never be the same now. it seemed so sad, the difference that eight words could make. he was crushed. absolutely.

i never thought i'd be one to say 'my first marriage failed.' nothing could have prepared me for the road that led to this point in time, late at night, exhausted from nit-picking. the thermostat. the dishes. the laundry. the dog. the condition of the office. spending money we didn't have on unnecessary things that go up in smoke. the way he didn't take care of something we spent more money on that we could even afford. there were financial problems. he'd been sleeping on the couch for months.

we were passing ships. in a violent storm, becoming lost at sea.

i'd tried to work on it on my own. i read voraciously, hoping that there would be a line in a book that said that everything would be okay. that this was just a passing phase. that it was possible to rekindle, and fall back in love again.

but there wasn't a book that told me that. instead, reading perpetuated my fears. books warned that our style of partnership was doomed without valiant effort. and our efforts were great, but didn't make the grade.

we'd fallen victim to our differences. i never really believed that opposites attract. and when we first started our path together, i'd felt that we had so much in common. but over the years, i stayed the same, and he changed slowly. then i changed slowly, he changed me to be more like him. until one day i woke up, and realized that i was still the same person, just buried below layers and layers of hardening. a little death of the person that used to be me.

and once it dawned on me, i was never the same. yes, i'd tried. but i'd also not been able to fully concentrate on our problems. because in the back of my mind, i knew that it wasn't going to work. there wasn't enough of a bright ember core to rekindle and relight the fire. the coals had burned out long ago.

everything would set me off. anything would set me off. and when he finally caught a break in his work, i was genuinely happy for him. i was happy for me. because it would serve to soften the blow. if he at least had that going for him, it wouldn't make losing me so bad.

plus, in all fairness, i was relatively certain he was sick of my bullshit. my shenanigans. my attitude. my eyes when they were staring back blankly at him, when his were full of hurt and love for me. he called me a bitch often enough to make me aware of it. and rightfully so. i'd become mean, hardened, bitter towards him. and he hadn't really done anything that was bad, or wrong. nothing deserving of what i was dishing out to him.

when he drank, i used to call him an asshole. all the time. to the point that, when he was in a room full of people, he said he'd turn to anyone who said the word asshole, thinking that they were addressing him.

he'd changed. for a time. and i liked to fix broken things. and he was very, very broken. had been for his whole life. and i came along, and i brightened his life, i minimized his problems. i understood completely why he was so content to be with me. i was good for him. i picked him up and dusted him off. when he would backslide, i would encourage him. i helped to heal him.

but he hurt me. he made my life dimmer, and it wasn't entirely his fault. depression is a bitch. he gave me problems, whether it was worrying about him drinking or resorting to drugs, making it home alive, making it to me without crashing or getting pulled over, worrying about him being faithful when his mind was cloudy.

when we first started, we were tumultuous. and it worked for me, because i'm volatile. and i enjoy a good argument, and an even more powerful makeup. but after years of discension, i was tired of making up. i didn't want to fight anymore. i didn't want to fight it anymore.

i just wanted to live. live my life, and be HAPPY. and it was something i could no longer do with him. he couldn't be included anymore. he became so desperate to be around me, that he followed me everywhere. and all i wanted was space. from him.

and then, i decided. everything will be ok. i'm leaving.

i had begun mentally divvying things up, which had been the biggest obstacle so far. he got the dog. i loved her immensely, but thought he'd die without her. i was more of a cat person anyways. they're more independent, like me, and can be left alone to ward off mice and take care of themselves when i travel. which i intended to do, in an effort to make up for lost time. he couldn't travel. panic attacks kept him from flying, and i wanted to go places that we couldn't drive to. i wanted to go overseas. out of the states. see the world.

i would get the car, because i could make the payment, and needed it for work. he rarely left the house. that was easy. but the house. this had posed a problem. we needed to get it out of my name and into his. i needed to pay my parents back, they'd spent so much time and money on our house, only to have us split up just after the one year mark. we were so rightside up in it, that selling it to him wasn't really an option. that would come with time. as long as he made the mortgage payments, i just wanted a tiny apartment. until i decided to buy a house on my own, someday. i really hate renting. it is such a waste of money. but for now, it was a necessary step.

i'd get a new computer. he could keep the old one, he used it for work, he needed it. i'd claim the wii, a present from my parents. it's all so insignificant, things to quibble over.

i'd leave the bed, even though he rarely slept in it. beds in apartments don't always fit up staircases. so an ikea special foldaway was right up my alley.

i'd leave him almost all of the furniture. only a couple things meant something to me, everything else just belonged in that house. everything except for me.

those were the big things. i hated the amount of money we spent on fancy appliances, because now they'd be his, and he rarely used them. i want a contract. in the case that he ever sold the house. i'd get half. or more. but at least half. he'd been the one to put all the elbow grease into it. but i'd financed it and paid for it all. i don't know how that piece will work out.

i mean, what else is there? custody of the pup. the house. the car. i can fit what is mine specifically into the car. i don't have a lot. it's mostly things for him.

all my books. all my old journals. keepsakes, pictures, memories, cds. that's all obvious.

writing it all out, our life is really just his life. we don't have anything other than things for his work. how unfortunate for me, upon my leaving. but this was to be a new beginning. better to have to buy new things and start fresh than to bring things with negative associations attached to them. this was key to my new life. owning things for LIVING. not for working. buying things for a home, not a home office.

what a mess.

financially, i should have an idea of what i'm giving up to leave, i guess. it hardly seems fair to have paid for more than half of everything, and to have nothing to show for it. but like i said, i guess that payoff would come with selling the house. i couldn't ever really picture that happening. unless it became too hard for him to be in it if i wasn't.

it was just a matter of him having a roommate or two, i think. there are 4 rooms in the house, plus a basement. it could definitely be arranged, especially if i wasn't in the house anymore. people practically live at our house anyways.

so that is it. it was settled. the divvying commensed. i'd already found my new apartment. a tiny little thing. with a nice stove, which was important to me. and a small space for the dining room table. room for my bookshelf. room for a new bed. room for the old table and new tv. room for a futon. not much else. closet space for my clothes. which there was too much of.

it was perfect. it was exactly what i needed. i was leaving. yet, somehow i was arriving.

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