The Knight and me were getting distant not only emotionally but also spatially. In those first weeks in our new house, he often took our daughter and drove off to his mother’s place, sometimes staying for the night or even longer. Before we had moved out he had said things like: “I can’t wait to be out of here” and “I will be happy wherever you are”, but now he missed the house he grew up in, as well as his mother, despite their frequent quarrels during the time we were still living there. And I couldn’t blame him. I missed her too. I missed it that there was always someone at home to chat or just sit on the couch with and watch some nonsense on TV.* She is a nice lady and I never would have left, had she not chosen cigarettes over the company of her family. I still want to believe that addiction gave her no other choice. I miss her and I think I should tell her some day, the sooner the better, as long as I’ve still got the chance.
Back then, the summer of 2015 was slowly leaning towards fall and I often came home to empty rooms and have a quick dinner alone. Afterwards I would pick up my scythe, saw and axe and spend time in the gardens, working until sunlight faded. Back there among the trees and wild shrubbery I found something close to relieve for a few hours, hacking and slashing my way through the long neglected plants. My neighbors had advised me to just call a gardener, because I would never be able to manage it on my own. Little did they know that I could not even afford the gas in my car to drive off and visit my husband and daughter at grandma’s house. How on earth should I afford a gardener? The task seemed overwhelming indeed, but they didn’t know me yet. I like to think of how one day they looked out of the window and for the first time in years saw the sunset again. I was not with them to experience it, but I was the one to fell the tree that blocked it, and the red light touching their windows was satisfying enough.
After dark I went inside and called the Witcher. Old houses at night can be rather creepy, even to a sceptic like me, plus I cannot be alone for long before I get sad and miserable – even in the best of times, and those weren’t. We would then meet online and play some games on steam and later I would call him again when I was already in bed and we would talk until I fell asleep. It felt a bit like being 16 again.**
“Is it my fault that your husband left?”, he asked me one day.
I was surprised at the question and immediately reassured him that it had nothing to do with him. I would never have thought of the Witcher coming to this conclusion, and appreciated his honest worry that he might be the problem. I am sure, had I said yes, he would have left my life immediately. Because he knew that, although I enjoyed spending time with him and will cherish the memory of these evenings forever, I was overwhelmingly sad about not having my family close to me.
Every day, when I arrived at home, I saw the swing on the chestnut tree in the front garden and wished my daughter could be sitting on it. I had to do my best not to cry when I imagined it remaining empty because my family wouldn’t come home to me.
* The Knight and I don’t have a TV and are not planning to get one, but sometimes it can be refreshing.
** An effect underlined by being reunited with my beloved huge oaken desk and black leather executive chair in my new office – for the first time since leaving my parent’s house, when I was 17.