As reality began to take shape, guilt rising like a curtain, trying to close off the parts of her that were splintering, she began to notice something else. Relief. It was small at first, like a breeze coming through a cracked window.

There were little glimpses of what it might be like to be on her own. A quiet house. The kids absorbed in their activities, not keeping an active eye on her, worried about what she might say next. Less stuff around her. A blue/green candle the color of the ocean. A fireplace.

She had so many worries. She worried she might be depressed, that she might lose custody of the girls or that they might not feel safe going back and forth, that they might interpret her move as a punishment of some sort. She feared she might not eat another home-cooked meal for a long time, that she might not be able to take another vacation, that she might not be able to afford their life and hers. Mostly, she worried that Jake would hate her, that he would retaliate, that he might never be able to be her friend. She worried that his perception of the separation would overcome all its possibilities.

But it was also dawning on her that this thing she kept calling self destruction, this burning down the barn to see the moon, was also a realignment, a recognition of who she really was and what she’d done to herself, something so benign on the surface that it had taken this many years to recognize. She had always been afraid. Now she tried to see how this separation might actually be a positive thing for Jake and the girls, how this space she was growing into might give them all another chance to experience real joy, not the carefully cultivated happiness none of them really understood.

She was coming alive underneath, like a green layer beneath a scabbed over brown one, buried but wick.

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