It’s been a few days since Cyrus and I had our fight and he decided to stay with his sister in Willow Creek. Thankfully the children didn’t have a clue about what’s happened between us. As far as they are concerned, Daddy’s been having one long sleepover with Aunty Blair and Uncle Josh. He came over the following morning to pack a few things. I nearly died when I saw him pull out the large suitcase from our closet and then let out a breath when I realised he only pulled it out so he could get access to the small overnight bag that was behind it. If he had chosen that large suitcase then that would mean he wasn’t planning on coming home soon.
I wake up the same way every morning since he left, with my eyes puffy and red from crying myself to sleep the night before.
I wanted to call him but I decided against it. He needed space so I gave it to him.
He would pick the kids up from school and then spend time with them by taking them to the park or an ice cream shop and then drop them off at Johanna’s house close to when I would finish work. That was the arrangement we agreed on via text. It hurts me so much to know that this is where we are now, texting each other only to discuss who gets the kids and when.
And when the weekend came and he still didn’t come home. Instead, he asked if Lyra and Kaleb could spend the weekend with him at Blair’s house.
They were thrilled to get to spend the night somewhere new and as I watched them walk up to the porch of the two story house in Willow Creek I realised that this might very well become a routine for us. Our kids might end up having to split their time between two households.
I didn’t want that but what else could I do? Cyrus said he wanted space and I’ve been trying to be patient but I’m beginning to wonder if he even wants to save our marriage. If saving our marriage was what he wanted then we would be in couple’s therapy or something trying to fix our problems instead of him avoiding me like I was the plague.
It’s the one thing I dislike about him. He always runs away when things get tough. Sure he’s always come back but what if he doesn’t this time?
Why would he even want to?
Based on the things he said that night it would seem like I haven’t been giving him any good incentives to stay in this marriage.
And I’ve been thinking about that night a lot, going over everything in my head and honestly, I wouldn’t want to be married to me either.
I was so busy with work and all of my projects that I left no time for him. I couldn’t remember the last time we went on a date far less for being intimate and now I realise that’s my fault. Lately, I’ve been coming home and going straight to my lab where I would work until 2 in the morning. I didn’t need to work so late every night. I only did it because I just wanted to remain on top of things but it wasn’t absolutely necessary.
He didn’t tell me that his mother was sick or that she died because he didn’t think I was interested. When my own mother died, he was there for me. That was the reason why we started PM-ing each other in the first place because he could relate to my pain. He was also there for me when Dad died. Now it was my turn to return the favour and he didn’t think I could be counted on to support him through his grief.
And then he talked about how he gave up his career for me and the kids. His last gig was when Lyra was a newborn and not because he wasn’t getting any calls but because he knew he couldn’t be up all night playing in a club and then have the energy to take care of a baby and elementary schooler. And then I think back to that time after Kaleb was born when he got that offer from that woman, Jade was her name I think.
It was a great offer and had he taken it, he might have become a world renowned DJ. But he didn’t take it because of me. Because he had a wife and a child who needed him.
Maybe Abbie was right. I did trap him.
If I hadn’t gotten pregnant with Kaleb we might have broken up after that fight when he learned who my Mum was. His mother would have certainly made sure of that since there would be nothing to tie him to me. He would have been a single man when he would have gotten that offer and then maybe he’d feel more accomplished than he does now. He would have had a successful career and maybe he would have met a woman who could have appreciated him more than I did.
He made so many sacrifices for me and I did nothing but overlook them. He broke his celibacy vow because of me. He fought with his mother because of me. He gave up so many great DJing opportunities just so I wouldn’t have to sacrifice my career.
Crap! I’ve been such a plumhead! An ungrateful plumhead who accused him for the umpteenth time of cheating when he was simply grieving his dead mother!
No wonder he left me.
I wouldn’t blame him at all for wanting to make this separation permanent.
To make things worse, Lyra fell sick.
It started with a fever, nothing alarming. I gave her some flu medicine and sent her to bed early that night but then when she woke up the next morning her whole body was covered in a rash. I panicked! I had never seen anything like that before and didn’t know what was wrong with my child. My first instinct was to rush her to the hospital so that’s what I did. Thankfully it was nothing serious, just a mild case of Starry Eyes. The doctor prescribed some medicine and lots of fluids and rest and said she would be fine within a couple of days.
I was so relieved to know she was going to be alright. After receiving the first dose of her medicine she started feeling better right away.
I took time off from work so I could stay home and take care of her. I must say, spending the entire day with Lyra even though she was sick was one of the best days I had in a long time. I loved playing dolls with her and reading her stories. Things I rarely ever did with her because I was always so busy working.
It just served to remind me of how much quality time with my kids I’ve missed out on because of my career. She even told me how happy she was that she got sick because she got to stay home with me.
It was so sweet but it made me feel like such a crappy parent.
Cyrus was right! I had been neglecting our family. It was in that moment as my daughter looked up at me with those bright brown eyes of hers that I realised I had to do better. I had to stop putting my family in second place.
I mean Cyrus was able to forget about our fight and come home when he found out Lyra was sick because he always puts them first, even above his own feelings.
He showed up that afternoon unexpectedly. I was so happy to see him but I don’t think he was happy to see me. He wasn’t angry, he just looked uncomfortable. I guess he wasn’t ready to deal with me as yet.
“How is she feeling?” He asked.
“Her fever is gone but she still has the rash. I’ve been putting aloe lotion on her skin. The doctor recommended it for the itchiness.”
“What about you?”
I was surprised by his question. I didn’t think he’d care to know about me. “Um…okay I guess. I was so worried about her this morning. I was freaking out a lot.”
He nodded and then said, “I’m gonna go check on her.”
I finished doing the dishes in the kitchen before I followed him upstairs to Lyra’s room.
Both kids were talking his ear off about cartoons and video games. I missed seeing this, the way they would flock to him with such excitement like he was the most important person to them.
Lyra was positively beaming the whole time he was there so it was no surprise when she begged him not to go back to Aunt Blair’s house. I thought he would gently let her down but he actually agreed. Lyra and Kaleb were happy and so was I. Even if he wasn’t staying back for me, I would settle for just being under the same roof as him.
I left him alone with the kids while I went downstairs to fix up the downstairs guest bedroom for him because I didn’t think he’d want to sleep in the same room as me.
When I was finished I went into the living room looking for any sign of something that would need cleaning or reorganising just so I could keep myself busy. Cleaning is the one thing that keeps me sane whenever I feel like my world is in a tailspin. I was so lost in thought that I didn’t notice when Cyrus entered the room.
“We need to talk.” He said.
“The last few days haven’t been easy for me and I’m sure it wasn’t easy for you either but I’ve been thinking about this a lot and I…”
“Don’t say it please!” I cried.
“I just…I know what you’re going to say and I will try to accept your decision but I …I’m not ready to hear the words yet. I love you so much Cy, but I realise I haven’t been a good wife so I understand why you want to leave me just don’t use the ‘D’ word as yet. I’m not ready for that.” I was shaking and doing my best not to cry in front of him.
He sighed. “You always jump to the wrong conclusions, don’t you? I don’t want a divorce!”
“You don’t?” I managed to let out. “But I thought…”
“What I was going to say was…I haven’t been fair to you. Our problems are as much my fault as it is yours. I should have said something. I should have spoken up, or forced you to sit down and take a break and listen to me. I didn’t try hard enough to prevent us from getting to this place either. It was wrong of me to pin the blame on you when it was the both of us and I’m sorry for that.”
I didn’t expect to hear this. I thought for sure he was gonna say it was over.
“I only wanted to feel appreciated,” he continued, “but instead of saying that to you and giving you a chance to show me I just kept quiet and started to resent you. I’ll be honest, when I left this house I really wanted it to be over. I had my mind made up about it. But when the kids spent the weekend with me, all I kept thinking about was what you were doing and if you ate lunch. I know how sometimes you forget to eat properly while you’re working in the lab. The pillow cases in my bed don’t have the smell of your shampoo on it and every time I see some damn bread crumbs on the counter I rush to wipe them off before you come into the room and throw a fit…but then you don’t. Because you’re not there. Because you were here in this house all by yourself and…I missed you Ivy. I missed you so much!”
“If you missed me so much then why didn’t you call? I spent the last few days beating myself up thinking it was over.”
“You always do this Cyrus. You always leave me in suspense wondering what’s going on while you’re figuring out things on your own and that’s not right. I want to work things out but I can’t deal with you disappearing every time we have a big issue. We’re supposed to be partners. If you want me to be there for you then you have to be there for me. We need to communicate better, the both of us!”
“You’re right. You’re absolutely right. We have to learn to communicate better because I don’t wanna give up on us. You’re my best friend, you’ve always been my best friend. Remember back in the day when we would tell each other everything?”
“I miss those days.”
“We’ll get them back. I’m sorry Ivy.”
“I’m sorry too.”
We silently stared at each other for minutes before I finally opened my mouth to say something when I was cut short by him swiftly pulling me close and then kissing me so passionately I felt weak in the knees.
A kiss wouldn’t fix anything but it was a good place to start. It served as a reminder of the spark that existed between us, one that we could no longer ignore and could not allow to burn out. For the first time in a long time, I felt hopeful that we could get back to that good place where we used to be.
And that night, he didn’t need the guest room after all.