narrated by: Ethan
We’ve been walking on this fine line as of late, I’m nearly sixty and should know that nothing can teeter forever, especially relationships. I ignored Meredith’s new hobby, nagging. She’s never been a cheerful type, generally a loner, who does her own thing, while I do my own. I never pushed for her to be more of anything, just to be herself, and I had thought it was a mutual agreement for us.
Turns out, she’s been unhappy with everything about me, and apparently, for quite a long time. I’m not sure if it really has been as long as she’s been shouting at me lately, nonetheless, she isn’t happy now.
Everything is my fault, the bankruptcy six years ago is all on me. I don’t understand how, she’s the one who has insisted on living downtown South Port in expensive townhouses. There are plenty of affordable homes, even for sale in the city, but she’s turned her nose up on all of them.
Without a doubt, she absolutely despises my schedule, and lack of work ethics. I try to figure out what she hates about me most, but it seems I’m pretty horrible all the way around in her eyes.
I’ve been playing my role-playing game online for years, I always do it at night while everyone is asleep. I haven’t had a job in years, and sort of picked this up by accident. She used to like that I had a hobby, especially one that kept me at home.
Now though it’s the constant complaining that I sleep during the day. I don’t see how it matters since she’s working at the Public Library, and the kids are in school. I used to be quite proud of how this scheduling worked out, thinking it balanced family life quite well. I sleep until 2:30, and am up right before the kids are dropped off by the bus.
When there isn’t school, I will devote several hours to playing video games with the kids. While her quality time with them is zilch. I used to never be as involved back when Colin and Luca were little, but I learned from them that I needed to step it up. I can’t handle to have another son hate me as Colin does.
I’ve learned that everything goes in phases, when an area in life is difficult, it’s usually doesn’t last long. So I decided to leave Meredith be, let her take her long bubble baths in the evening, while hoping desperately that she’d pick up a second shift at the library.
But it didn’t just pass over as I had expected.
Instead, she ambushed me at the diner. I had thought we had dropped the kids off at Cara’s house so we could have some time alone. She had arranged for them to spend the night, and I had plans of finally enjoying ourselves a little.
Quite the opposite though, unbeknown to me, it turned out to be a meeting with my cousin, big shot lawyer and now city Mayor.
She’s way too happy as she explains that my cousin is here because she asked him to pull up divorce papers for us. I could tell he didn’t know that I was in the dark on all of this, and Meredith did her mirthless laugh when I was geniunely surprised. I felt as if she’d punched me in the groin, and then sat there laughing about it.
Cole pushed a note pad and paper across the table and asked me if I would write down any requests I had. He mentioned end tables, curtains, photo albums, anything at all that I may want to keep. I couldn’t even begin to care about rugs, or bed sheets. I wanted the house, I wanted the kids. He laughed a little, and gave a look to Meredith as if I were a naive child.
“It will be split custody, with you both in town, you can divide the time equally.” He explained, maybe he wasn’t, but it felt like he was talking down to me. I don’t know why he should side with Meredith, the wicked little witch that she is, but he seemed to be.
“I want the townhouse. I want the kids. She can keep the linens and table cloths, I couldn’t care less for that material junk.” I pushed the notepad back towards him.
I wouldn’t win they insisted. Cole took a moment to put on a family face, and told me that it was best for the kids if this was done peacefully. He knew we didn’t have the finances for a long drawn out court case, and this way was best. Split custody, he said was optimal, and the house went to Meredith by default because she had a job. I had no means to pay for the home, and it was important the kids were allowed to keep their place of comfort.
I pictured my princess, Caitlyn, and didn’t want to take away her bedroom, or Aidan’s for that matter.
He was right on the front of the finances too, and I didn’t have a job to pay for the rent. My throat tightened when I thought of where I was going to live, in the end, two hours later, we came to some preliminary agreements. He was going to draw up the papers, and we both had to let him know if we had any changes.
We agreed we wouldn’t tell the kids yet, I was eager to the idea because I hoped she had second thoughts. I’m not positive of her motive behind it. There isn’t much worse in the world than knowing a horrible secret, and how it will hurt someone you care for, and keeping it from them.
Every morning, Meredith went out of her way to be motherly, sucking up I imagine. She bought the kids their favorite, tiny-boxed, sugar cereal for breakfast, and even went out of her way to serve them.
A few days after the meeting, I just snapped. Watching her manipulate the kids, with them not knowing that it was her that was throwing our marriage away. I asked her onto the back porch to talk, hopefully calmly about telling the kids. They had a right to know I insisted.
She blew up. She started at the top of her list of complaints and worked her way down, it was old, and she looked ugly and contorted as she shouted at me.
After she was finished, she told me she wanted me out immediately, and that Cole could find me to get me the papers when they were done.
I started my task of finding a place to live, I couldn’t even get my own studio apartment because of my lack of employment. I tried my sisters, Delaney and Kenzie, neither had space. Delaney is still angry about Meredith saying that having another baby in their fifties was a mistake. I suppose since I married Meredith, I’m guilty by default. Delaney said that Lizzie takes up all their extra space, and had to go.
All that was left was my oldest sons. Colin despises me, we haven’t spoken with him since he moved out three years ago, thankfully Luca answered. He said I could crash on their couch, but it needed to be temporary.
By the time I come back in the house, Caitlyn is in tears, and Aidan isn’t far behind her. I give them a hug, and assure them that I will pick them up to go to the park this weekend.
Colin is beyond livid that Luca said I could stay with them. He starts his yelling as soon as he comes home, I tell him that he’s right though. I was a horrible father for all these years, and he doesn’t know what to say once I admit that, and just storms out of the apartment.
The boys have parties and young people over regularly, the computer doesn’t run my role-playing game well at all, and Colin usually wants to get on there to do what young men do.
On the weekend, I arrange to take Caitlyn and Aidan to their Junior High Open House. Meredith had to be at the library, so it worked out easily. I hadn’t thought about my step-daughter, Cara being there with Rachael.
She didn’t want to know any details, and told me that I could just ignore her and her family from here on out. It stung that’s for sure, considering I am the one who would take a bus out to Millwood to spend time with her and the grandchildren.
During lunch hour she sat with some other Millwood people, and wouldn’t even look in our direction. I could tell that it hurt Caitlyn’s feelings.
Aidan only cared that the food was awful. He had heard rumors that the food here was supposed to be better since it’s a newer school.
Principal Grimsley gave a tour of the school to all the kids, joking that this was going to be a big class next year.
I only have heard her speech, I just can’t get over the fact that my little girl is going to be eleven in December. It’s not as far off as I’d like to think it is, and soon it will be boys, and no more unicorns.
Afterwards we went to Hamilton Park out in Millwood, it’s the kids’ favorite park and I couldn’t say no. I see how single parents are over indulgent, it’s only been a week and I’m already straight on that course.
Cara lives right across the street from the park, and we weren’t over for long until Rachael had seen us and came over to play.
The repercussions of a divorce will stretch far from our own children, to the grandchildren. And one day Aidan and Caitlyn will be married, and their children will never have known us as a couple.
Aidan told me that they have a nanny now, and he misses having me at home to play video games with. Living with Colin and Luca is less than ideal, I miss being at home with the kids too, and I miss having my own space and computer.
On the way back to the house, Caitlyn told me that she wants me to get a job and my own place so she can live with me. I wonder how Meredith would feel if I got on my feet, lived in an affordable home, and both the kids decided they wanted to live there instead.
I finally do Ethan’s POV, and it’s while Meredith pulls the rug out under his feet. In the end, she’s a loner, she should have been born to a rich family so she could live alone, and have the nice things she wants. I’ve been waiting years for Ethan to roll the want for a job, hasn’t happened. Waiting for him to just be alive, and do something, anything!
I required him to roll the job want, because he’s such a lazy son-of-a-gun, and loves, loves, loves his computer game. It’s fulfilled, it rolls back. He’s a loner too, so I thought they were good. But they just live along side each other, no real wants, and the ones that Meredith get are generic. Plus she’s mean, so she’s not likely to sit around being unhappy. She was just constantly nagging this round, if Ethan could roll the want, “Meredith goes to work.” I’m sure he would have.
He’s living with Colin and Luca for now, I’ll play by his wants what he does or doesn’t do with a job and his own place.
I can.not wait to age up this big group of kids!! Starting this winter the age ups begin!
Thanks for reading!