I want to scream, I want to publish everything that’s been going on in capital letters so that they all know. I can’t, they’d think I was mad, that I was making it up, because the truth is so much stranger than fiction. So I hide the tears, I put on a brave face and only tell them what they want to hear. I don’t mention my family, I don’t explain why we never see them; I make excuses for them, for you, for everything that is missing in our lives.
We are such a contradiction: we love each other deeply, I see it in your eyes, feel it in your touch, hear it in your voice. There is no one else for me; I pray you are safe, that you will make it home to us every day. Our love has stood the test of years apart, of challenges no one should have to endure, yet it hasn’t stopped you cheating, even now, after six years together, even after our son was born, even after our wedding, you still keep on cheating. You know that I know, that it kills me and you are sorry when I find out; yet off you go and do it again, hoping that I won’t find out next time. If I told your family, they would think that I must be wrong, that you wouldn’t do such a thing. Actually, I doubt that your family want to know. They only call to make more trouble, inventing problems, nit-picking, no matter how hard we try to do the right thing by them. They don’t seem to care about what is going on in our lives, only that they need something from us. Then they wonder why we don’t ring, why we live so far away… To be fair, I’m sure they have no idea what we are coping with, they couldn’t begin to guess, and I know you will never tell them.
My family hates you, but I can’t tell anyone why and they wouldn’t believe my anyway. I will never see them again and there is an ache in my heart that will never end. Ironically they never cared about me as a child, yet since I chose to be with you, they have declared me dead, a non-person to them. I understand their anger at you, I know that you do too, yet I know they are wrong to hold onto the hate and to not forgive. They are bullies and I recognise it now. I understand as an adult the harm they have done to me and I know I am better off without them, yet I long for a real family. I hate that we are so alone. It’s so hard to see other extended families together and know that we will never share in that, that our children will never experience that.
Though I might smile for the camera, lurking just under the surface, the tears are welling. I sit on the train and struggle to pull myself together so I don’t arrive at work red-eyed. I can’t tell anyone, I just have to go on, to place one foot in front of the other, broken, shattered, wondering what I did in some former life that every skerrick of happiness must be tainted with so much pain. I know you feel it as well, I know you walk the tightrope and fight your own demons too. I know they are all watching, looking for the cracks, waiting for us to fail, so they can shout ‘I told you so’. I can only hope we are made of stronger stuff, that we have already weathered the worst of the storms, that our love for each other is enough to get us through.