When Cautionary Husband and I still lived together, I had to find a way to hide my broken heart from him. Since my heart was broken by another man, I didn’t feel that the pain of this was something CH should have to see. It was something I would have to go through completely alone. It was something that would have to go on completely inside of me.
For several months, the only thing I wanted was to be able to cry. In private. As loudly and tragically and pathetically as I wanted to. To sob sometimes. To sometimes sit silently and let the tears flow out of my eyes and stream down my face. But in a house with no locks and a very needy husband, this was impossible.
So I took to crying in the shower. It wasn’t any more private than anywhere else, since CH would sometimes peek his head in, or come in to the bathroom to talk to me while I showered. He hated being alone, even for fifteen minutes. But the hot water on my face could mask the hot water coming from eyes. My makeup already streaming, my face already flushed. He’d have to look closely to see my red, swollen eyes, and he never looked closely.
By the time the shower was over, I could pull myself together. I could end with some cold water to splash on my face. To heal my aching eyes. To cool my hot skin. I could dress calmly and go join my husband on the couch, my breath still catching in my throat every few seconds. But imperceptibly.
Now that I live alone, I can cry anytime I want to. But I’m still forcing myself to hold it together. Sometimes I sit in the bathtub at night and think of the immense pain of all of this and try to squeeze some tears out, but they won’t come. I take this to mean that I wasn’t holding it together for CH, but rather for myself.
Or, possibly, my heart has finally begun to heal.