For seven years, I worked on that canvas. It was the most beautiful painting I’d ever stroked my colors with. The blend of blues and reds paired perfectly. Destiny. Like the co-mingling was always meant to be.
And it was for a time, but that time now, only my memory can see. What’s in front of me is emptiness. A once beautiful painting, no longer here. It truly was what I feared. My marriage was falling apart. In my heart, I knew we were done.
No more fun. No more travel. No more exploring the world and hash tagging #theadventuresofjonandjax. No moving to Portland or San Diego to build a family. No travel-the-world with our kids and homeschool them while teaching them about life in its purest form. No...
None of it. Nothing. The script was done. The pages, blank. Nothing left to write. Not even a fight. Just emptiness. Heartbreak and emptiness. It was like having to watch what I loved most turn to dust in front of me as Thanos snapped his fingers goodbye. Gone. Never to be brought back again.
But that wasn’t even the worst part. That was just the grand finale. Removing the arrows from my chest and dagger from my back was what caused the most cringe. Why? Because death was slow and yet to arrive. Suffering was still alive. A seemingly endless tunnel of defeat. Wondering. Questioning. Breaking. Those blows. Those emotions. Those shadows. Not the final blow where my head was removed from my neck. At least, in the end, the cut was so clean that I had no need to be mean. I could simply die and move on from the pain. Nothing left to hope for. Nothing left to hold on to.
The gash from our relationship ripping apart splattered crimson cries across the canvas. My marriage was fucked. Yet still I had faith. I loved our painting. I believed so strongly in what we were co-creating. I thought I could just take the same colors and paint over the suffering. Add another layer of acrylic and call it a day. I didn’t mind that I had to trudge through the trenches of emotional turmoil throughout the pandemic, I had faith we’d see brighter days.
We just needed to weather the storm, but I guess that was the problem. I kept thinking in terms of we, yet it had already been months since she’d left me. No clear reason why she never came back after quarantining at her mom’s. Minimal communication. Minimal effort. Minimal love. Just a quiet outro into the cloud of covid where no one knew what the fuck was going on.
For months, I had no idea what was happening to my marriage. I’d lie to everyone to save face, but even to me, it was unclear. That’s not why I’m here, however. Let me pause and break stride. I’m not here to ask for your pity or slander my ex-wife’s name. I’m not here to talk about every arrow I had to pull out and bring her shame. In fact, Jax, if you’re reading this, I truly do hope you’re okay. If not already at peace, I hope that healing’s on the way.
So back to that canvas that I kept trying to save. Yeah, well, after months of being the only one trying to save it, I figured, “fuck it, if she don’t want it, then why the fuck do I keep trying?”
That’s when the talk of divorce came in. That’s when we finally pulled the trigger. I still didn’t know what happened to us, but I was tired of holding on to something that didn’t exist and pretending like it did. It didn’t make sense. I didn’t know where we went wrong.
The we… it always came back to the we. I couldn’t keep talking about we, however, if there was no we. It was her and it was me. She’d left. Was doing her own thing. So at some point, I had to let go.
But I didn’t know.
I didn’t know that she had been having an affair. To be honest, I think the only reason she came clean was because she had to.
She was pregnant.
The cloak of covid could no longer conceal the deceit. The fucked up thing — I guess there’s a lot at this point — but the fucked up thing was I didn’t even find out until after we filed.
It was all a lie. The fabricated reasons why we decided to go our separate ways was a fucking lie. A lie that I helped build in an attempt to make sense of what just happened to our fairy tale story and its unorthodox ending.
The news of her pregnancy was the final snap. That was it. Any remnants of hope, destroyed. Disintegrated. Done. In an instant, the canvas fell to the floor. The painting of Jon and Jax, no more.
For days, I just sat there. What was I supposed to do next? I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with that woman. I thought we were going to create a family and live a life filled with love, adventure, and travel. Instead, our wedding knot unraveled.
I was dumbfounded. Shocked. Lost. A part of me still couldn’t believe it. But it was real. It was happening. It happened. My wife had a baby with another man.
Where the fuck do you go from there?!
Where do you start when you have to begin again?
Again, the emptiness returned. This time, however, it had a different face. A different pace. The old canvas, replaced. A blank one now sat in its place.
The emptiness stared me in the face.
I didn’t know. That wasn’t a part of “the plan.”
The inner dialogue was debilitating. I needed to stop worrying about what the final painting would be, and for right now, just get back to me. I was free. Free to be or do whatever the hell I wanted.
I wasn’t sure.
There were definitely a few colors I wanted to play with, but the final view: no clue.
I wasn’t sure what was happening to my life or what the hell I was doing with it, but when I lived there last, I felt the most me. Most aligned. Most free.
Life is strange, and we don’t always get to choose what stays. I’m not too sure what comes next in my story, but I know that it starts in SD.
November 16, 2021