Tension mounted as the marriage collapsed. My life revolved around denying he did nothing while I took care of our children and the responsibility of patients and residency. He wouldn’t leave his cushy situation and I was as scared of leaving him as I was of staying. He left for his evening sports game and I executed my plan:
I grabbed toys that were nearby and looked at the door, expecting it to burst open. I’d almost forgotten the boy’s stuffed animals, so I made another run upstairs so they wouldn’t be without them that first night. The toe of my shoe caught the top step, and I tumbled onto the oak floor.
Back in the family room, I stopped to gulp for air. “Cody, Darren, let’s get your jackets, we’re going for a ride.”
I drove the several miles of curves at dusk, watching leaves flutter off trees like fairies on the wind. My temples throbbed. I looked at the boy’s unconcerned faces and my nervousness eased. Until then, I had not told anyone about my plans.
We pulled into the apartment parking lot to ample spaces. I turned off the ignition. I had made it, away from my husband. I got out with the boys and stepped away from the car. The relief I felt to leave him felt as if I had grown an eight-foot wingspan and a thermal updraft soared my spirit over a crisp Alaskan glacier. Spinning around, I gleefully waved my arms and broke the silence.
“I’m free. I’m free,” I shouted. “Freeeee.”